There’s always something enjoyable about running around and killing monsters that at first glance look way too powerful to be felled by a single person. Luckily, the hero of the story always has a way to overcome the difference in power and save the day. Extinction takes this idea and cranks up the action, by throwing multiple giant, 150-foot ogres and swarms of orcs at you all at once, while also expecting you to defend the citizens of a city at the same time. This is all packaged up in an incredibly frantic, fast paced action game that sees you climbing walls and cutting limbs to meet your objective. The game can feel like it gets in its own way at times, but mastering combat can have you feeling unstoppable.
Extinction follows Avil, the world’s last Sentinel, traveling the world in search of a king to join him in his quest to stop the Ravenii, giant space ogres who are destroying everything they come across. Avil has been joined by other kingdoms in the past, but all have fallen from trying to attack the Ravenii head on and failing, leaving Avil desperate and the world barren.
Gameplay consists of the player being dropped into a map, which may or may not be randomized depending on the mission selected. Anything from a horde of orcs, to throngs of Ravenii will be coming at you, and it is your job to stop them as well as complete any additional objectives given for the game. Ravenii can be attacked but cannot be killed until the player has charged up their rune energy. This is done by saving civilians, killing orcs, breaking ogre’s armor and chopping off their limbs. This means that you must play around saving lives and killing the ogres, as you will need to run away and charge up again in-between kills. The enemies will continue their assault, killing civilians and making charging your rune energy more difficult, bringing some situational awareness and strategy into the game.
Extinction has a few different game modes available to play. Story mode follows Avil through his journey and introducing new abilities and enemies throughout. There is also a daily challenge mode, which gives the player a randomized mission that is available to everyone and allows for leaderboards to compete with others online. There is also a survival mode, where Ravenii continue to attack until you have been defeated.
After a bit of a learning curve, the entire game experience is a blast. The player runs around each level at high speeds, rushing to and from objectives with everything feeling polished and the movement itself being a joy. Players will want to try and route around the map efficiently to save civilians and kill orcs as quick as possible, then find ogres and either disable or kill them to prevent total destruction of the map. While the basics alone are not very difficult to understand, the arcade-like speed of the entire game puts the player into a position where snap decisions must be made correctly, or you can lose the round. It almost feels like a Sonic the Hedgehog game at times with focusing on picking up speed and platforming around obstacles. Running to save groups of civilians who are cheering you on and waiting for you, which can then get attacked and need you to save them while getting them out at the same time.
Levels are destructible, though not by the player. Ravenii knock down walls, towers, and buildings during their attack in an effort to completely flatten the city and kill all of the inhabitants. This can lead to some amusing situations where a Ravenii can catch you off guard and walk through a wall to get you while you are focusing on something else or knock down a tower you are climbing to try and attack them. The character can do a bit of gliding to help move after having the ground knocked out from under you and take advantage of height gained from the grappling hook even when there is nothing to land on.
With an emphasis on speed and accuracy, the game’s targeting system is far and away the most difficult and frustrating part. Both in and out of combat, targeting does attempt to do a lot of the work for the player and snaps onto the closest targetable object for you. Out of combat, this allows the player to use their grappling hook to quickly cross gaps or climb armor on a Ravenii. Unfortunately, just because you can see what you know is a target on screen does not mean it is available for you to use.
An on-screen notification will pop up to show you that an item is targeted, but will many times show up and quickly disappear, and leave you unable to perform the action you had intended. In combat, when Avil prepares to unleash a rune strike, the game goes into a bullet time mode where everything slows down to allow you to target easier. You can then target over a weak point or enemy, and they will glow red to let you know you can swing. Sometimes you will completely miss regardless, and others you will be right on top of a weak spot, but the game will not let you lock on, meaning you cannot complete the attack.
Extinction is a great game, though patience can be required at times. Running around and blowing through enemies is fun, and the cartoony, mostly polished gameplay could be an incredible game after a few patches. As it is, it is still a blast to play, interrupted by quick frustrations that come from missed attacks that can completely stop an assault. If you are looking for a hectic hack-n-slash boss fighting game, Extinction is absolutely worth picking up. Those who can be quickly frustrated from bugs, however, may want to wait for a couple of patches.
Note: Our PlayStation 4 copy of Extinction was provided by PR
COMPARE TO: Shadow of the Colossus, Monster Hunter, Attack on Titan
Final Extinction Review Score – 8/10
- Easy to learn, hard to master gameplay
- Lopping limbs off giants is always satisfying
- Daily challenge modes and bonus objectives allow extra replayability
- Trying to target can be a bigger fight against the camera
- Tutorial has a large difficulty spike with few tips to succeed