So, what’s wrong then?
After all that gushing you have to be wondering what’s holding this back from a 9 or 10. Well, flourishes aside, this is still a rails shooter, and as such depends on interesting enemies and two-player support for repeated use. The actual shooting is shaky at first (as the enemies are just deranged people), then becomes gory and intense once the multi-limbed necromorphs arrive.
Above: F*CKING KILL IT
A few more missions in and you’ll find the gunplay hasn’t evolved at all. Oh you have several weapon choices, each with alternate firing capabilities, but the same dismemberment strategy from the 360/PS3 title works on every single monster you face. After shooting 100 or so, it becomes tedious, even with all the usual Dead Space tricks like telekinesis and the baddie-freezing stasis blast. Honestly, toward the end, we viewed the shooting as a hassle and just wanted to watch the rest of the story.
Above: There are a few branching paths, but they’re slight
As for two-player, it’s certainly functional, but Extraction has the interesting distinction of being the only light gun-style game we don’t want to play with friends. It’s too personal, too “you and your team against the odds” to have someone else sitting beside you. Stranger still is the fact you’re both behind the eyes of one character with two targets on the screen, so in the story context it’s like you’re dual wielding two massive guns, not playing as two people.
There are also several instances where you and the crew and are slowly creeping through ducts and vents. It makes sense to take these weirdly obscure paths when the ship is packed with brain-eating monsters, but from a gameplay perspective it gets old fast. The first couple of times are fine, but after the fourth, fifth, even sixth time we really, really wanted out of the ducts, and not in a cool “channeling the in-game emotions” kind of way. It’s restrictive and drawn out, which leads us to the next point…
It’s not big on replayability
A rail shooter at its core, Extraction should be near-infinitely replayable. But as we mentioned above, two-player is awkward and ruins the mood, and the mission length (about 20 minutes a pop or more) doesn’t make for fast, arcade-style fun. It’s too intense, too long and too movie-like to play through more than once, as then you’ll know the twists and turns, and most of the enjoyment comes from the propensity of “oh shit!” moments.
Above: Oh shit!
If you’re an obsessive collector, there are plenty of text and audio logs to snag out of the environment with your telekinesis beam, each one explaining a bit more of what went down before the marker was dug up. However, due to the constant flinging and shaking camera, some of these pickups (which include ammo and weapon upgrades) are damn near impossible to nab the first time through. True, you could go back through and get them all, but if you miss it again, say nine minutes into the level, do you really want to restart and try again?