Extinction PC Review

Extinction is an undercooked, mind-numbingly repetitive action game that fails to do anything interesting past its first few missions.

By Woozie, Posted 10 Apr 2018

Extinction faces you with an end-of-the-world scenario where hordes of Ravenii – giant ogre-like monsters – are rampaging through towns, in an attempt to destroy humanity. Avil, the last Sentinel, is the only one who stands up to them and, while killing the first few Ravenii feels as good as taking down any giant monster, it quickly becomes evident that Extinction uses all its tricks in its first few hours, leaving you with little to look forward to afterwards.

Extinction, Screenshot, PC, Review

Extinction’s levels revolve around a rather small pool of repeating objectives which involve killing Ravenii or their smaller allies, rescuing civilians, or protecting fragile towers. They’re used and re-used to exhaustion and, despite the levels’ relatively short length, come off as poor attempts at an arcade experience that simply do not have enough meat on their bones to keep players engaged past the first couple of chapters. Outside of the campaign, the game features three modes which, while adding elements like a seed number you can share with friends to compare score and an endless mode, do nothing to provide a different experience. They’re basically the campaign all over again just without dialogue. Completing missions and secondary objectives grant skill points which help Avil gain different passive abilities, like jumping higher or having more health. These would be the main incentive to complete secondary objectives, as rescued civilians and dead foes reward skill points, but I ended up having more than enough without actively going for secondary objectives. While some of these abilities do end up impacting Avil’s capabilities, they don’t do enough to elevate the repetitive gameplay in a significant manner.

Using his sword, Avil can perform swift combo attacks by left clicking and pausing or dodging at various intervals, or trigger the slower Rune Strike by right clicking. Rune Strike is the only way to decapitate and defeat a Ravenii, once its meter is filled. This is done by saving civilians, defeating smaller enemies or damaging Ravenii armor and limbs. It is also an effective tool against regular enemies, as it slows down time and allows for carefully targeting attacks. It actually often felt like there was little reason to use Avil’s swift combos, aside from the style points they come with. While it’s true that some combos can juggle enemies in the air, or hit in a radius around Avil, Rune Strike can one-shot the more weaker enemies and allow for easier dodging of the stronger ones’ attacks. It’s less stylish but just as, if not more, effective. It’s very much a case where the game’s systems end up at odds with each other, and I breezed through a good part of the game, using just Rune Strike. The four enemy types share unimpressive designs that lack variety and a small number of predictable attacks, while providing no real satisfaction when dispatched. They’re really only a danger to civilians and once you unlock the proper upgrade, civilians can be rescued before enemies have a chance to kill them, without even engaging in fights.

Extinction, PC, Review, Screenshot

The “full” destructibility of Extinction’s environments is made irrelevant due to the way its levels are built.  The title relies heavily on procedural generation, with a good number of campaign missions even having random objectives and terrain choices. Not only does this come off as low effort, it also makes every level feel the same, as if buildings were randomly thrown onto an open area, with little thought behind it. Even when they add deadly thorns, or use a different color template, levels feel identical and surprisingly lifeless. This approach to level design also limits the use of Avil’s traversal capabilities. Although he can bounce off of rooftops or trees and use a grapple to propel himself upwards, and glide through the air, there were plenty of times when I found myself having to simply walk across empty land, or even through cities, because the game had decided not to spawn points to grapple onto or trees to bounce off of. Every building can be destroyed by the Ravenii – and having too many destroyed results in failing the mission – but when levels feel like empty copy/pastes of each other, it’s hard to find tragedy in a half ruined city, regardless of how much the characters complain.

The Ravenii – the game’s giant antagonists – are woefully underwhelming. Battles against them revolve around a couple of repetitive motions from start to finish. In order to take a Ravenii down, Avil must decapitate it, which can only be done once his Rune Strike meter is filled. As the monsters wreak havoc through the town, their limbs can be cut off to stall them. Armor will often protect their limbs ranging from easily breakable to outright indestructible, but regardless of what type of Ravenii you’re facing, everything ultimately boils down to a series of right clicks. The Ravenii do deal tons of damage, being able to one shot buildings and even Avil but, as rendering them helpless is one slashed leg away, they rarely represent that much of a threat. Their attacks are slow and often poorly telegraphed, except for when Avil is on their necks, which can lead to unavoidable, unfair deaths. Dying, however just spawns you further away from them, which is either inconsequential or a nuisance, due to lengthy backtracking in some of the missions. The Ravenii don’t really react to being climbed on, except for when Avil gets close to their head. That scenario either triggers an easily avoidable attempt to squash Avil with their arm, or one where the Ravenii tries to shake the Sentinel off and which can be countered by a technique as advanced as just sitting there.

Extinction, Screenshot, PC, Review

The camera does occasionally spaz out of control, especially when particularly close to a Ravenii’s front side and sometimes, even while targeting the neck for a Rune Strike. Scaling the front of a limbless Ravenii also tends to result in Avil just bumping against the monster’s pectorals in an awkward fashion.  The most egregious thing, however, is how a lot of the encounters resulted in Ravenii sitting on their butts, staring towards the buildings they’d have liked to destroy but couldn’t because I had chopped off their legs. These levels were basically reduced to a series of right clicks, farming limbs as they grew back up, filling up the Rune Strike meter and decapitating helpless Ravenii over and over again. Going after secondary objectives, like saving a set amount of citizens was possible, yet never felt necessary as it would have given the Ravenii a chance to wreak more havoc through the town. It’s true that Extinction does address these situations with more Ravenii spawns in later campaign levels, some even having advanced armor that is either indestructible or requires them to attack before it can be broken off. But what that manages to do is make you focus on a different, but just as repetitive, activity for a short while. Despite their size, the brevity of the fights makes it so that there’s nothing imposing or dangerous about the Ravenii. Their slow attacks, the ease with which they fall and the lack of variety when it comes to fighting them makes Extinction’s supposed star encounters, extremely forgettable.

Extinction’s plot is told through text that pops up on the left side of the screen, accompanied by dialogue. The backstory is established at the end of each chapter through cutscenes done in a style reminiscent of older cartoons. In completely separating what goes on in the story from what goes on in the actual missions, the game makes it very difficult to care for its characters and their personal tragedies. The competent voice acting is the sole redeeming thing about the characters. While most situations are handled with gravitas appropriate to the end-of-the-world scenario that’s unfolding, there are these occasional attempts at relief that mix poorly with everything else. Despite there being 34 missions, large developments happen brusquely and characters change their minds about important topics after a couple of lines of conversation. At the end of the day, Extinction could do away with its dialogue and few things would change.

Extinction, PC, Screenshot, Review

In a best case scenario, Extinction would have you employing Avil’s traversal capabilities to swiftly damage Ravenii, then give enough reasons to move back and deal with smaller foes while saving civilians and filling your execution bar in the progress, thus making use of all of the game’s elements. In practice, it utterly fails to value them properly, and doesn’t flesh them out enough to make engaging with them past the first few missions worthwhile. It’s functional, runs smoothly and has competent voice acting. Past that, when it comes to gameplay it fails to keep things interesting, resulting in far too much tedium and little, if any, fun. Extinction is ultimately an undercooked, mind-numbingly repetitive action game that managed to turn battling giant enemies into one of the drabbest experiences I’ve played through.

Bogdan Robert, NoobFeed
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General Information

Extinction

45/100

Platform(s): Xbox One, PS4, PC
Publisher(s): Modus Games
Developer(s): Iron Galaxy
Genres: Action
Themes: Fantasy
Release Date: 2018-04-10

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