Here is a game that tries to take snippets from lots of other games and mix them all up to try and create an experience that’s engaging and fun. Unfortunately it has issues along the way that result in a game full of disappointment, a lack of variety but more importantly fails to deliver a fun engaging gaming experience. Set in a fictional world, Extinction sees players take the reigns of Avil, one of the last Sentinels remaining, a warrior that possesses skills to take on any war that is brought on to him. In Extinction that war comes in the shape of 150 feet giant ogres called Ravenii, who are hellbent on destroying everything on their path, wiping out mankind completely. It isn’t just these giant monsters that Avil needs to battle though as there are also hordes of minions on the ground that threaten to destroy villagers and it’s up to Avil to rescue them before they get completely wiped out.
Extinction certainly offers an interesting concept and it is clear to see the influences that the developers have tried to incorporate in to the game. It’s almost like they’ve taken a little bit of Devil May Cry, sprinkled it with a bit of Sunset Overdrive and thrown in a pinch of Shadow Of The Colossus, blended it all together and tried to put a story on to it. Sounds good doesn’t it? It should be but unfortunately the execution of that vision has ended up producing something quite underwhelming. The first problem here is that there really isn’t much of a story, or rather much of a narrative full stop. The only thing we get that offers any kind of plot is some badly voice acted text boxes in between levels that don’t really have much substance other than “stop these monsters from destroying this town, then go to the next and stop them there too” and that goes on for 8 chapters.
While Extinction doesn’t play too bad in general, there is nothing original whatsoever in its gameplay and it suffers from repetitive melee combat with little to no variety at all. Add in to that some very questionable climbing mechanics and an awful camera system and you are left with a rather dull hack & slash platformer that failed to fully engage me in to the experience that seemed so promising. There are skills to purchase and upgrade but I found these to have very little impact overall and while some of the new abilities are useful, I stopped using some of them because I simply didn’t need to use them. An example of this was the grapple system that was fun at first but became too much of a hinderance because it simply doesn’t work properly. Combat is okay, but limited in depth and focus moves that are used to chop limbs off the Ravenii are quite good for the first hour but soon lose their appeal and become a real chore.
Taking down the Ravenii should be the highlight attraction of this game, and fighting these giant monsters is fun, again for the first hour, but just like everything else here, it falls incredibly short in an area that is the supposed to be at the forefront of Extinctions core experience. Trying to destroy the armour of these giant beasts is tedious and becomes a real chore. The key to destroying them is by chopping their heads off but getting there is let down by repetitive gameplay and inconsistent mechanics.The same can be said for the mini monsters on the ground. Each level is occupied by hordes of these monsters threatening to kill the population of the villages and while new species appear as you progress, it all becomes tedious and repetitive. While fighting off these enemies, there are gateways that have to be liberated to rescue the villagers and it all becomes tiresome and dull very quickly. With its lacklustre gameplay and clunky camera work, fighting becomes a chore and rescuing villagers becomes an inconvenience. The opportunity that has been missed here, especially when fighting the Ravenii is astonishing.
Visually Extinction isn’t too bad despite having a unpleasant muddy look to the colour palette, but while it has a sharp cartoon visual style that doesn’t look too bad overall the overall presentation is unfortunately let down by the rather dull level design. Each village looks the same and there isn’t much detail in buildings or foliage. It isn’t a bad looking game, but it suffers with much of what the gameplay suffers with and that’s a lack of variety and something to make it stand out. The audio is underwhelming, with voice acting sounding robotic and lacks any kind of engaging dialogue to suck the player in and the poorly written dialogue isn’t helped by the fact there is very little story to work with. Dying is annoying in this game, which doesn’t have anything to do with the fact that you die but more so because a robotic voice lacking any kind of personality patronisingly says “that must of really hurt” or “wow, I think you deserved that one” and I felt tempted on so many occasions to just mute the sound completely and found myself skipping the dialogue sections completely.
Extinction had so much promise, so much potential but it almost feels like the developers had this great starting block but didn’t know how to add a middle and an end. It’s such an underwhelming repetitive experience that it’s hard to forgive its high price point too, coming in at a ridiculously ambitious £54.99 on the Xbox Store. For a game that lacks any kind of variety and offers nothing more than a glorified hack & slash horde mode, with a non existent narrative spanning 8 chapters is very disappointing indeed. It’s a game that I won’t be going back to at any point which is a shame considering the potential that could of been realised if more thought had of gone in to its production. There are so many more games that are much more fun, much more engaging and for a much cheaper price that offer a far more enjoyable experience than this. If you are adamant that you want to play this game then I would advise that you wait for it to come down considerably in price.