On top of the puzzles and the usual point-and-click to shoot (and swing to melee) gameplay, Dead Space: Extraction
has a number of features which should help put it ahead of the other games in the genre on the Wii.
The main one of these that we heard discussed was the branching paths offered in the game – something which inspired the development team to refer to Dead Space: Extraction
as a ‘guided shooter’ rather than an ‘on-rails shooter’. Unless it’s heavily built into the game at almost every turning then we don’t think it’s really going to warrant the re-naming, but if Virtua Cop 2
taught us anything then it’s that extra routes are a great way to add replayability.
Oh, one other thing we learned from Virtua Cop 2
; the Sega Saturn was nowhere near as good as we thought it was at the time.
Unfortunately, we didn’t actually get a chance to look at some of the most interesting sounding areas of the game though. In the initial presentation for the game the promise of zero-gravity locations was bought up and grand images were conjured of how fun it would be to traverse blown-open sections of the USG Ishimura, but we never managed to get a peek at these areas ourselves.
It isn’t just zero-g that’s making a return from the original game either, by the looks of it. One thing we did get a chance to see was the arsenal of weapons that players could switch through as they needed, with the weaponry again mainly consisting of tools that the colonists would likely have access to rather than non-descript assault rifles. Line rifles and rigged-up flame throwers were among the more powerful weaponry, but there was always the trusty nailgun to fall back on if you ran out of ammo.
Rounding out the selection of weapons were a few extra abilities too, such as being able to pistol-whip foes who got too close or the stasis ability that slows them down for a short period.
Our final impression of Dead Space: Extraction
however was a bit mixed, to say the least. On the one hand we really appreciated how the game honestly seemed to have a well-told and imaginative storyline running through it, which is a bit of a rarity in the genre. Even in the relatively small glimpse of the game that we had the writing seemed to quickly step above the ranks of other on-rails games, though it wasn’t as hilariously self-aware as HotD: Overkill
Counter-balancing this though was the fairly obvious fact that…well, the game just doesn’t look that good. The graphics are quite poor and, while the level designers have obviously tried to compensate by drenching the aliens in moody shadows that attempt falls flat too as the shadows themselves don’t look that good.
Graphics weren’t the only problem either, as the moment-to-moment gameplay seemed to lack any of the necessary flair or excitement that might make us feel involved in the action. Again, we didn’t get a chance to actually go hands-on with the game (which seemed weird, as it isn’t as if we could have deviated from the preset path), but we still thought the action seemed a tad lifeless. Weapons lacked the appropriate punch and lopping off of limbs seemed harder than it should have been.
That said, there’s still plenty of time left for Dead Space: Extraction
to improve as it isn’t scheduled for release until the end of the year. The fact that the game is still being heavily worked on might also explain why we couldn’t get our mitts on the Wii remote too. Adding some more enemies, rebalancing the weapons and actually letting us have a look at some of the features the team was boasting about would be a sure-fire way to improve our expectations. Until then though…m’eh.
Dead Space: Extraction is set for release towards the end of 2009 and will be published exclusively on the Nintendo Wii by Electronic Arts.