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Dead Space: Extraction Review

Can EA's sci-fi horror deliver the scares on the Wii?

Believe it or not, we bloomin' adore videogames. After all, that's why we're here. So, while our first love will always be Nintendo, we do occasionally dabble in other formats to help feed our insatiable appetites. Although it didn't appear on the Wii, there's considerable love for the original Dead Space at ONM Towers, and the arrival of this prequel was greeted with a fair few pints of communal anticipatory slobber.

For those of you too poor (or too loyal) to indulge in multiformat gaming, let us bring you up to speed. Released last year, the original game was a third person survival horror adventure in the Resident Evil 4 vein set in deep space on the mining vessel USG Ishimura. You played as Isaac Clarke, one member of a small salvage team responding to a distress signal from the ship. You arrive to find the entire crew slaughtered and the ship populated by disgruntled, peckish creatures known, enticingly, as necromorphs. It was an absolutely cracking game, boasting near-unbearable tension, brilliant sound design and some thrilling set pieces.

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Off The Beaten Track

Plotwise, Extraction is a prequel, exploring the events leading up to the arrival of Isaac. The environments, weapons and enemies will all be familiar to fans of the original but the gameplay takes a very different tact. Rather than a full third person adventure, Extraction is being billed as a 'guided experience'. Yes, we groaned when we first heard that too. Surely that's nothing more than a cynical way of dressing up a quick on-rails knock-off? Well, as it turns out, the tag is actually rather apt.

While Extraction's core gameplay is basically that of an on-rails shooter, this is a long way from the throwaway arcade action of House Of The Dead. It plays more like an interactive movie, with you spending just as much time passively following the plot as you do feverishly dismembering necromorphs. And this is no bad thing. The series' narrative is engaging, well written and very creepy, even if it is essentially a fairly shameless assimilation of Alien and Event Horizon. This is actually one of very few games with a plot worth immersing yourself in. Extraction is a prequel, so no prior knowledge of the original is necessary. However, as fans of the series, we absolutely relished the chance to get stuck into the backstory.

Space For Improvement?

We'll get straight to the point. We really, really enjoyed what Extraction has to offer. When the action comes, it's fast, furious and very exciting. Not only that, but it successfully manages to throw off the shackles of the point and shoot genre and add some real meat to the gameplay. There's a good variety of weapons to collect, all with unique strengths and weakness. They each have different firing modes and can be upgraded, adding a nice strategic element to the carnage. You can temporarily slow down time with your stasis unit, while pressing A activates your tractor beam, allowing you to suck up power-ups or pick up debris to launch at enemies. You'll frequently find yourself alone in the dark, at which point a shake of the Remote ignites a glow stick to temporarily light your way, nicely ramping up the chills. There's branching paths to choose from, some epic boss fights, cooperative play and a fun challenge mode which sees you take on wave after wave of enemies in a frantic score chase.

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Sure, its very nature dictates it's a dumbed down take on a sophisticated shooter but it's a classy, atmospheric and very exciting action title nonetheless, pipping Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles and House Of The Dead to the Wii's best blaster crown. However, despite their admirable effort to produce an on-rails game with real depth, we've still got to haul EA up for their lack of ambition. The Wii can clearly handle a full third person adventure so why take the shortcut? Give us a proper Dead Space game and we'll give you a gold award.

Comments

21 comments so far...
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  1. Gavin Rozee Thursday 24th Sep 2009 at 06:25

    I'll stick to the incredible, proper first Dead Space on PS3.

  2. Jedi Metroid Thursday 24th Sep 2009 at 06:26

    Aww man, you had to go and say it had a great story, didn't you? Now I just wanna get it even more...

    I really need to convince my bro.

  3. Super Xero Thursday 24th Sep 2009 at 06:58

    Aww man, you had to go and say it had a great story, didn't you? Now I just wanna get it even more...

    I really need to convince my bro.

    Don't tell him it's on the rails then.

  4. PsychoPikmin Thursday 24th Sep 2009 at 07:16

    Well thank God. I was afraid that this would flop.

  5. Heroofhyrule Thursday 24th Sep 2009 at 16:10

    "For those of you too poor (or too loyal) to indulge in multiformat gaming." Or just don't want the other two current gen consoles because the lack of games that interest me on them. I've owned a Nintendo 64, a dreamcast, a playstation 1, playstation 2, gamecube and now a wii, and the PS3 and Xbox360 are my least favoirte consoles so far in terms of games.

  6. P L-R Thursday 24th Sep 2009 at 16:33

    "Or just don't want the other two current gen consoles because the lack of games that interest me on them"
    i have to agree fully with this.
    Also im glad it lived up to what i thought it would get. Im definitely getting this.

  7. nintendo_munki Thursday 24th Sep 2009 at 17:44

    did you just say this is better than overkill?
    you're joking, right?

  8. ShadowofPain Thursday 24th Sep 2009 at 18:50

    So let me get this straight you took away 16% because it was "on rails"? So was HOTD:Overkill and quite a few shooters on Wii yet you never complained because they were on rails. Apart from that great review ONM :)

  9. 13th Nightmare Thursday 24th Sep 2009 at 22:03

    Kind of love how it being "on rails" is a bad thing for the game. HOTD: Overkill is "on rails" and that has done pretty well on the Wii

  10. Oiram 07 Thursday 24th Sep 2009 at 22:51

    84% for an on-rail shooter is a good score, but it would have been higher if the game was either first person or third person :/

    Oh well, i'll pick this up eventually. :D

  11. kylemassey Thursday 24th Sep 2009 at 23:18

    It's on rails!


    >On Rails Shooter
    >Implying Its Genre Is A Bad Point

    What's the matter? Too linear for you?

  12. FrederickONM Friday 25th Sep 2009 at 08:53

    So let me get this straight you took away 16% because it was "on rails"? So was HOTD:Overkill and quite a few shooters on Wii yet you never complained because they were on rails. Apart from that great review ONM :)

    I think you're missing my point slightly. House Of The Dead has always been an on-rails game. Dead Space however, started out as a full third person adventure. While on-rails games are certainly a lot of fun, i'm sure the vast majority of gamers would agree that they'd rather have had a 'proper' Dead Space game - especially when they see what a great job EA have done with Extraction's visuals and atmosphere in general. It's just a shame that EA took a short cut (albeit a very entertaining one) and put the game on-rails.

  13. Enigmatic Man Friday 25th Sep 2009 at 09:19

    Give us a proper Dead Space game and we'll give you a gold award.

    EA took a short cut

    They didn't really take a short cut. On rails games are easy to make for a quick return.Not to mention the Wii works as on on-rails console(one of the only things other consoles don't have)

    Besides how can you blame them, the Wii is unpredictable at best when it comes down to hardcore games. There is little need to plough money into making a flagship deadspace Wii game.

    Look at it this way, if your looking for a 3rd person deadspace pick up the 360/PS3 version; better graphics, more enemies on screen, better lighting for the atmosphere, DLC... and achievements. Is it really worth losing all of that for motion controls?

    No,it's not.

  14. seancuk23 Friday 25th Sep 2009 at 10:03

    Aww man, you had to go and say it had a great story, didn't you? Now I just wanna get it even more...

    I really need to convince my bro.

    Don't tell him it's on the rails then.

    It looks really cool and I may just buy this and if I do it will be the first on rails game I ever bought.

  15. xs3mx Saturday 26th Sep 2009 at 14:42

    I Love Rail Shooters

    This Is Bang On My Xmas List

    If Though You Said ONm It Is Better That HOTH Overkill & Umbrella Chronicles Then Why Did It Not Get A Gold Award As Overkill Did & UC Got 88% So Why Did This Get 84%

  16. Broken_Angel Saturday 26th Sep 2009 at 18:30


    360/PS3 version; better graphics, more enemies on screen, better lighting for the atmosphere, DLC

    i own the original Daed Space for PC (running at max spec) and have played the 360 version. after having played Dead Space Extraction, i can tell you that everything youve said here is complete bull.
    go back under youre bridge and stop bothering the people who actually like the wii

  17. chino40k Sunday 27th Sep 2009 at 19:56

    Dead Space: Extraction in three words 'Solid and Entertaining'.

    I'm not sold on all of the weapons, but I can appreciate they fit the game.

  18. Broken_Angel Monday 28th Sep 2009 at 08:34

    pretty much how i felt about the original. the mining tools were cool and useful, but i always found myself using the pulse rifle on bosses. should have had less military tech and more improvising weapons from mining equipment

  19. ibarnaby64 Monday 28th Sep 2009 at 22:00

    Give us a proper Dead Space game and we'll give you a gold award.

    EA took a short cut

    They didn't really take a short cut. On rails games are easy to make for a quick return.Not to mention the Wii works as on on-rails console(one of the only things other consoles don't have)

    Besides how can you blame them, the Wii is unpredictable at best when it comes down to hardcore games. There is little need to plough money into making a flagship deadspace Wii game.

    Look at it this way, if your looking for a 3rd person deadspace pick up the 360/PS3 version; better graphics, more enemies on screen, better lighting for the atmosphere, DLC... and achievements. Is it really worth losing all of that for motion controls?

    No,it's not.

    *facepalm*

  20. cainzgamez Saturday 16th Jan 2010 at 13:12

    the fact its an on the rails shooters a good thing the only thing that stoped me buying it was that it was an 18 so when i got it for my 15 birthday i was as happy as a ..um bug in a rug

    its the best game i have and i havent got any isshues with on the rails its as good as if not better that dead space for the ps3

  21. jaco_p Saturday 3rd Apr 2010 at 20:17

    great game, but totally different from 360/ps3 version which is also excellent. i liked watching the animated storybook thing, that was great - this game really fleshs out the dead space universe with great storyline, atmosphere collectables, re-playability

    like a lot of people are saying, i enjoyed it for what it was, and if i want a different experience i will play the 3rd person version

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