Dead Space: Extraction
Mine your own business.
EA doesn't believe in cushions. If you didn't know this before you turned up for their Spring Showcase event, your bottom would know it after spending the first half of a two-hour presentation perched on a rock-hard plinth. Not even the appearance of Steve Papoutsis, executive producer on Dead Space Extraction, would make you excited enough to forget it.
Papoutsis is excited, though. "A big thing I'm excited about is that we're going to show you guys the game today," he tells the audience. "It's going to be the first time we're showing anybody in Europe the game, and I'm really excited to see what everybody thinks." Everybody thinks it's not really that exciting if you've already shown it to the rest of the world, but never mind.
You'd be reminded of the cushions thing later on, while squatting on a fake ammo crate for 38 minutes while a man told you about his World War II game. It would then come as a relief to enter the Dead Space Extraction booth and see there aren't any unfeasibly uncomfortable pieces of furniture they're going to make you sit on. There's just Papoutsis, a telly, a bloke called Sharif holding a Wii remote and nunchuk, and a huge pile of glowsticks.
Everyone who visits the booth gets a glowstick, and not because Steve and Sharif never got over the early nineties and are determined to spread the Message of Rave throughout the world. It's because your character in Dead Space Extraction has one - except they're called glowworms, and they've got a serious purpose.
Specifically, they're used to illuminate dimly lit areas and make shooting evil alien baddies easier. But the fact you have to shake the Wii remote about to charge up the glowworms can actually make this harder, as Papoutsis explains. "It creates an interesting risk-reward dynamic, as you have to stop shooting to charge it. You can try to shoot without the light, but if you use it you'll get better visibility." Presumably, though, charging up the light alerts more enemies to your presence and attracts them to you? "Er, no," says Papoutsis. "That's a cool idea, though. I like that..."
The glowworm is just one of the new features introduced in Dead Space Extraction. This is no straight port of the PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 game released last October, which scored a respectable 7/10 on Eurogamer. It's a prequel, set weeks before Isaac Clarke boarded the USG Ishimura. This time you're not alone, but a member of a group of space colonists who have realised something's gone very wrong in the Aegis VII mining colony.
What's more, Dead Space Extraction plays out from a first-person perspective. It's an on-rails shooter, in essence, with a control system specially designed for the Wii remote and nunchuk. "We wanted to do a game that made sense for people who have Wiis, and to create something that felt intuitive and fun," says Papoutsis. "We started out with the controls in our hands, thinking, 'Well, what do these things do? What do they do well?' Then we focused on nailing that part of the game."
One of the ideas they came up with was allowing you to switch between alternate fire modes by rotating the Wii remote. It's just a matter of twisting it left or right, which shouldn't interrupt the flow of button-presses. You can also use the Wii remote to pick up things with the power of telekinesis, and to solve puzzles.
All the weapons from the original Dead Space are present and correct, including the flamethrower, and the grapple is back; waggling the remote will shake off any enemies who get hold of you. There's also a melee attack, performed using the nunchuk.