Ex­tinc­tion

PS4, Xbox One, PC

Games TM - - WHAT LIES BELOW -

On pa­per it sounds thrilling – one man against an army of ogres both small and gar­gan­tuan, com­bin­ing the fast-paced com­bat of, say, a Bay­o­netta with the light puz­zle as­pects of tack­ling gi­ants from, say, Shadow Of The Colos­sus. sadly, Ex­tinc­tion falls way short of its stated goal, in­stead of­fer­ing luke­warm (though still fast-paced) com­bat on the ground and is an ex­er­cise in frus­tra­tion when it comes to bat­tling the big boys.

the world un­der siege in Ex­tinc­tion sets the stage with some back story and (too much) in-game ex­po­si­tion, but re­ally it’s just window dress­ing for a few dozen mis­sions both short in length and with lit­tle to keep your in­ter­est. it ba­si­cally boils down to: kill x ogres, pro­tect x civil­ians/ build­ings, or sur­vive for x amount of time. dur­ing any of these mis­sions you’ll be scut­tling around at a quick pace, tap­ping a sin­gle at­tack but­ton as if chan­nelling your in­ner Dy­nasty War­rior, and even­tu­ally tack­ling a gi­ant ogre in a se­quence far eas­ier than it should be. it’s straight­for­ward to the point of ba­nal­ity – and while rarely out­right bad, Ex­tinc­tion does noth­ing of real note. it’s the same, on re­peat, with the same chal­lenges and the same frus­tra­tions.

strat­egy comes into play at points, with the gi­ant ogres kitted out in dif­fer­ent forms of ar­mour. some are bro­ken with one ‘rune strike’ – your spe­cial, times­low­ing su­per-hit – while oth­ers re­quire care­ful aim­ing at weak points be­fore they can be shat­tered. some can’t be bro­ken at all. this is where the ex­tremely light puz­zle as­pect of things comes into play – how can you get to an ogre’s weak point, its neck, if you can’t ground it? the so­lu­tion usu­ally in­volves jump­ing or us­ing your grap­pling whip to drag your­self up its body. And, re­ally, that’s about it for strat­egy.

it very quickly be­comes ap­par­ent that there isn’t much be­low the sur­face of Ex­tinc­tion; a few dif­fer­ent tim­ings to learn, which but­ton presses ac­ti­vate dif­fer­ent com­bos, and a few new pow­ers can be un­locked and quickly learned a few mis­sions into the seven-chap­ter cam­paign. but there’s noth­ing to keep your at­ten­tion once the ini­tial fun of run­ning up a gi­ant’s back and lop­ping its head off has faded – and re­ally, it fades all too quickly.

Ex­tinc­tion tries to keep play­ers in­volved by of­fer­ing daily chal­lenges, ‘ex­tinc­tion’ (sur­vival against waves of gi­ants), and ran­domly gen­er­ated skir­mishes. it’s a fair ef­fort, but when the more you’re be­ing of­fered is more of the thing that’s al­ready worn in­cred­i­bly thin, it makes lit­tle to no dif­fer­ence. it’s a shame, as Ex­tinc­tion is a good idea – it’s just pulled off with next-to-zero panache, and be­fore the first cou­ple of hours are up you’ll ei­ther be will­ing it to fin­ish, or just turn­ing it off. 4/10 VER­DICT mis­guided, unfair AND bor­ing: A Poor mix

Above: Skills are un­locked us­ing XP earned in mis­sions, and can fol­low what­ever path you choose. Ul­ti­mately, you can un­lock ev­ery­thing – but it’s a gen­uine ques­tion whether or not you’ll even still be play­ing the game.

Above: Civil­ians re­quire res­cu­ing through­out, and of­fer a bonus to your XP should you get them out with the tele­port crys­tals they hud­dle around. When you have to pro­tect a cer­tain amount of civvies, though, Ex­tinc­tion be­comes an ex­er­cise in in­cred­i­ble frus­tra­tion.

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Aot: wings of Free­dom

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