Dead Space Extraction is a prequel to last year’s Xbox 360, PS3, and PC game (and the animated film Dead Space: Downfall) that has taken the form of an on-rails shooter for the Wii, and earlier this week I got a demo from Steve Papoutsis, the game’s executive producer. The game will cover the events on the USS Ishimura immediately after the Marker was extracted from the planet, which awakened the hive mind. The player will be part of a group of colonists, attempting to escape the Ishimura. Nicole Brennan, Isaac’s love interest from Dead Space, will also be in the game as she was on the Ishimura during the initial disaster.
So what does “on-rails” really mean? Well, it’s a guided experience. It plays out like a light-gun game with the character moving for you, stopping when enemies appear. Aiming is done, obviously, with the Wii Remote. Extraction will let you choose between branching pathways at certain points to allow for a bit of a different experience, but you’ll mostly be going where the game wants you to go. It also means the developers know exactly where the player is looking. This helps immensely with setting up the scares, which EA promises will be plentiful. This is still a sci-fi horror game, after all.
Keep reading for the rest of the preview.
You’ll recognize all your favorite weapons from Dead Space and they work in the same limb-dismembering way. Expect new weapons to augment your arsenal. EA Redwood Shores is removing the inventory system, however, electing for a streamlined experience that keeps the player in the action. The only time you’ll do any item management is when you pick up a fifth weapon and be asked to swap one out for your new toy. Ammo will be picked up from the environment using the Kinesis module and reloading will utilize a Gears of War-style active reload minigame to reward players with a quick reload.
Benches are removed and upgrades take the form of power-ups, scattered around the game like ammo. If you swap out an upgraded Line Gun, its upgrades will persist and be waiting for you when you pick the weapon up again. You just have to find one first. As mentioned, you’ll be able to hold four weapons at a time, but the first will always be the new Rivet Gun, which has unlimited ammo, but is fairly weak. The three other weapon slots are yours to manage.
You’ll get to use stasis to float enemies up into the air for an easy kill and a quick flick of the Wii Remote will execute a new melee attack that can be used to keep enemies at bay if they get too close. You’ll definitely need both as enemies seem to move faster than their original counterparts. In additional to the familiar, deformed faces, Extraction will also feature new enemies, but EA isn’t revealing them at this time.
Graphically, the game looks promising for a Wii title. The lighting engine is one of the best I’ve seen on Nintendo’s platform and EA is definitely taking advantage of this. There was one sequence where the lights were completely shut off and the only sources of light is the fire from your weapon and the green glow of a phosphorescent tube (rave time!). As the enemies come at you, the light in the tube (affectionally called the “glow worm”) will dim. Players can shake the Wii Remote to reilluminate the worm, but remain unable to shoot while doing so. It’s a nice trade-off, but makes me think of Doom 3. Are no space stations equipped to allow stranded humans light their way and shoot at the same time? Thankfully, once fully illuminated, the player can shoot while it brightens their day.
If all of that isn’t enough, the game will feature co-op and allow two players to dismember Necromorphs until the horrifically mutated cows come home. The game is already looking extremely promising and I was dissapointed that I didn’t get to actually play it. Dead Space Extraction is set for release this Fall exclusively on the Wii.