Dead Space: Extraction Reader Review
It's hard to start this review of this superb game without an impassioned plea asking you to buy it immediately. Games of the quality and technical prowess of Dead Space Extraction are an absolute rarity on Nintendo's console.
How relevant this is to you of course depends on whether you 1) still have your wii in advance of Project Cafe and 2) aren't too busy playing the excellent Dead Space 2.
Dead Space Extraction is a rare, surprising and contradictory beast. It's an on rails shooter with gameplay that is actually hugely immersive. It's a franchise spin-off that holds its own against a fantastic original. Most importantly however, it's a simple premise with one of the best game narratives in recent history.
The perfect prequel in so many ways, DSE is a chaotic and intense depiction of the fall of Aegis VII and the Ishimura mining vessel that so terrified 360/PS3 players two years ago.
To fans of the franchise, the nods, winks and locations give a familiar warm (or is that cold?) feeling down the spine, but the Ridley Scott influenced setting will be more than enough to engage newcomers.
Although certainly released from the shackles of an out and out horror game, DSE is arguably even darker, if that were even possible.
Focussing on gunplay and action over survival horror staples, DSE follows several antagonists on a pre-defined first-person path, using all manner of weaponry and sci-fi gadgetry to blast undead aliens, literally to pieces.
Crucially, the Wii-remote takes Dead Space's core `dismemberment' mechanic (where precision cutting of enemies limbs is more effective than aimless head and body shots) and perfects it with pixel perfect infra-red pointing controls.
Even better than this, the game takes the original's sparring use of Telekinesis (pick-up-and-throw) and Kinesis (slow-down moving objects) and turns combat into a genuinely gratifying three-pronged attack scheme - each level a puzzle of explosive possibilities.
Visceral games even manage to shoe-horn in some Metroid aping mini games for controls, barricade fixing, circuit wiring, and more.
It may be hard to believe, but the ever entertaining combat, is superseded (often for minutes at a time) by real-time cut scenes, dialogue and acting.
Given that Edge magazine described it as `The Citizen Kane of rail-shooters' it is perhaps not surprising that DSE has a real narrative quality to it. Obviously, we're still talking about videogames here, but the overall quality of the tale it tells is up there with a good Friday night sci-fi film, with top notch atmospherics, sound, and graphics that push the console to its limits. It's very hard not to play through in one go.
Add to this a fairly memorable `endless' challenge mode and bonus comic materials as rewards for completion-ists, along with high scores and co-op support, it's hard to see a third party game (apart from Monster Hunter) beating team Visceral's efforts to really push the Wii's capabilities.
Overall, the best complement I can pay to this game, - apart from the fact that it is a note-perfect fan spin-off - is that it's not just the best rail-shooter I've ever played, its one of the best games I've played this generation full-stop.