Dead Space Extraction Review

By Jake Gaskill - Posted Sep 25, 2009

Dead Space: Extraction manages to deliver the same intense horror experience found in Dead Space, and thanks to the game's brilliant on-rails camera design and smartly implemented Wii controls, Extraction takes you on a heart-pounding ride, and you will love every bloody second of it.

The Pros
  • Instantly engaging
  • Brilliant use of the Wii controls
  • Great visuals and sound design
  • Well-paced and well-structured narrative
The Cons
  • Not enough time to pick up objects/items
  • Co-op hurts immersion

Visceral Games has achieved something truly remarkable with its Wii exclusive prequel, Dead Space: Extraction. The game manages to deliver the same intense horror experience found in Dead Space, and thanks to the game’s brilliant on-rails camera design and smartly implemented Wii controls, Extraction takes you on a heart-pounding ride, and you will love every bloody second of it.

Dead Space: Extraction Review

Once Upon a Time There Was This Marker…

Dead Space: Extraction takes place three weeks before the events of Dead Space, and tells the story of a mining colony on the planet Aegis VII following the discovery of a mysterious artifact known as the Marker. Needless to say, the Marker is responsible for bringing about the horrific consequences seen in Dead Space, causing the outbreak of the mutant beasts called Necromorphs.

There are a number of twists and turns in Extraction, so rather than spoil the game for you, I’ll just say this: Visceral Games has done a fantastic job in the storytelling department. Even when you’re basically just going from point A to point B, each objective serves a plausible purpose that gives the game a great sense of momentum. Plus, the characters are well realized, and you will definitely grow attached to them the further you progress in the game.

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Haven’t I Strategically Dismembered You Somewhere Before?

If you’ve played through Dead Space, your experience with Extraction will be understandably more rewarding, since you’ll be familiar with the game’s universe. Like Dead Space (only in reverse), Extraction is split between the Aegis VII colony and the planet-cracking ship, the USG Ishimura. This means that you’ll visit a number of familiar settings (and plenty of new ones as well), and seeing them in their pre-Dead Space state adds a great sense of history and narrative continuity.

Similarly, Extraction features most of the same enemies found in Dead Space (slashers, leapers, lurkers, exploders, etc.). There is one new enemy, but it only appears in a specific section of the game. The three boss battles are pretty spectacular, one of which ends with what is easily one of the most gruesome and brilliant implementations of the Wii remote to date, and will probably go down as one of the most shocking gaming moments of all time. Believe me, you’ll know it when it happens.

While the combat does basically come down to standing in one spot and shooting at stuff that appears on screen, strategic dismemberment keeps the combat interesting. You can also use stasis and kinesis to slow down enemies or hurl explosive canisters at them, which also adds a lot of variety to the combat. Plus, you’ll have access to a number of weapons including the same flamethrower, Pulse Rifle and Ripper from Dead Space. In place of Issac Clark’s Plasma Cutter, you get unlimited use of a bolt gun, which also comes in handy when welding metal plates over exposed grates to keep out pesky Necromorphs.

Dead Space: Extraction Review

THERE'S NO TIME!

The only real issue control wise is that because of the on-rails design, you only have a limited amount of time to grab objects (ammo, health packs, etc.). And because you have to have your reticle exactly on the right spot in order to pick something up, you'll most likely end up leaving a lot of valuable goodies behind. There are moments when you can look around freely, but again, it's only for a very short time, and trying to direct the camera, open a locker and fish out the contents within that window can be a bit more frustrating that it should be.

Visceral Games has been making it a point to refer to Extraction as a “first-person experience” rather than a first-person shooter, and rightfully so. While the game adheres to an on-rails design, the game feels much more ambitious and well-crafted than typical games in this genre. To achieve this, Visceral Games implemented a number of intelligent mechanics to maximize the Wii’s capabilities.

For instance, shaking the remote at specified times will activate a glow-worm to light your way, and swiping with the nunchaku serves as your melee attack. Even better are the audio diaries that play through the remote's speaker, forcing you to hold the controller to your ear to hear them. All of these touches help create a terrific sense of immersion, and keep you engaged in places where you might be tempted to tune out.

Dismember With a Little Help From My Friend

In addition to the single-player story and the arcade-style challenge mode, the game also includes two-player co-op. Now, while having a helping gun by your side as you make your way through the game is appreciated, it’s a bit strange to see two reticles representing two people when you are clearly supposed to be one specific character. Also, playing alongside someone else kills the game’s carefully constructed sense of immersion, since you are no longer connected with the character you are supposed to be portraying, because now there’s another person sitting right next to you playing as the same character.

Horror + Space = Fun!

Dead Space: Extraction is a perfect example of what can happen when a developer approaches the Wii in the right way and maximizes the console’s capabilities to fit with the game’s style and design. Everything from the “shaky-cam” presentation to the brilliant remote implementation keeps you thoroughly engaged and immersed every second of the game. It’s quite an accomplishment, and one that will grab hold of you and not let go of you until the end credits roll.