Extinction Review – Slaughtering the Fun
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Developer: Iron Galaxy
Publisher: Modus Games
Release: 10th April 2018
Iron Galaxy is mostly known for porting different games and taking over the development of Killing Floor. However, besides those tasks, not many have heard of them, especially not as developers of an own IP. With Extinction, this should’ve changed, marking their first and biggest push together with Modus Games at establishing them as an own respectable studio. Sadly, it sucks …
Extinction is set in a world where humans are threatened by giant ogres called Ravenii. Being near their extinction, the only hope lies on a man able to slay both the giant Ravenii and their hordes of tiny trolls. Is anyone instantly feeling reminded about Attack on Titan? Well, that´s because, even though no one wanted to admit on the developer side, nearly everything is stolen from the popular Japanese franchise. From the grim atmosphere to pessimistic dialogues. Yet, at no point, does the plot even become remotely as great as its idol or captivating at all.
Mostly told through boring in-game dialogues being read out while you´re playing. Considering how clunky they´re written, how uninteresting they are and how generic everything about the characters sounds, I was more than happy to ignore it. Given, at some points, the occasional hand-drawn cinematics can convey a certain feeling of quality but it never goes beyond “hey, that wasn´t absolutely dumb”. Even if someone doesn´t expect much, Extinction will probably disappoint with its story about a generic, forgettable dude, his super flat alleys or giant green guys, who do literally nothing else than being un-iconic, boring house demolishers. Honestly, there never was a single point in the game where I felt invested in anything going on. Yes, we´re just getting started though.
Concentrating on the gameplay isn´t the best choice either, due to it being clustered with repetitive systems. On the one hand, at the beginning of each map, it´s usually required to save civilians by activating crystals and defend them from those little troll enemies. While the activation of said objects takes forever, the true flaw lies in the normal hack´n slash combat. Only consisting of merely one button and one combo, Extinction never asks more from you than mashing this one button, as long as enemies keep spawning. There are no combo upgrades or significant upgrades in general, it all just boils down to the most repetitive system I´ve seen in quite a while. As a result, I soon stopped bothering with any of that after I reduced the activation time through upgrades. I just ran straight to each crystal, activated it and kept going, ignoring every enemy on the way. They don´t grant experience, after all, just more hassle.
With each saved civilian, our main protagonist´s attack bar fills up, once completely full, we´re finally able to unleash devastating slashes against the giant Ravenii. First destroying their armour then cutting off their legs or head seemed like a pretty fun experience at first, to be honest. Unfortunately, everything boils down to slash their legs two times, climb up their giant back (which is a challenge in itself considering the huge collision issues) and chop their head off. It takes 2 minutes, always stays the same and is super easy and by far not a rewarding thing to do. It feels like a buggy, less intuitive Attack on Titan combat. Even then, the one-hit attacks of the Ravenii are probably the worst choice ever made, as each attack can practically kill you in an instant, forcing you to backtrack all the way to the battlefield again, depleting your fun even more.
Last but not least, Iron Galaxy´s design decision to randomly generate every single map in the campaign is yet another reason why everything about Extinction feels so lacklustre, repetitive and unspectacular. Cities look the same, missions are always the same to ensure a smooth generating process, while enemies become boring. Since nothing is made by hand, nothing about the missions feels significant or worthwhile, just like an endless grind.
It doesn´t help that the whole art style isn´t much to talk about either. Extinction looks just like any other fantasy game with big ass enemies, featuring generic ogres designs and towns that could be ripped straight from the asset store. Given, the ability to whip around from building to building demonstrates how fast-paced the whole game can be, almost making up for the lack of great textures or visuals. Yet, when even climbing becomes a chore, due to excessive collision bugs and regular occasions of falling through the map, there´s just nothing even remotely close to average here.
In conclusion, Iron Galaxy´s first own IP isn´t only a glorified copycat but also not a good game on its own. Suffering from a repetitive gameplay grind, suffering from its lack of interesting aspects. For anyone who´s willing to pay 60 dollars for 1-2 hours of initial fun, Extinction may be worth it, otherwise, stay away.
[A Review Code was provided by Modus Games]