Sunday, September 7, 2014

VGR Dead Space Extraction

VGR: Dead Space: Extraction 
From Visceral Games/Eurocom/Electronic Arts 
Played on Wii
Also available on PS3

Type Rail shooter 
Year 2009 

Originally exclusively released for the Wii in 2009, Dead Space_ Extraction is a fun spinoff/take on the original survival horror game Dead Space.

This episode was once more developed by EA Redwood Shores, by then the studio had been renamed Visceral Games to distance themselves and give the team a proper unique identity apart from EA. This time the story was written by Wasteland and Daredevil comic book writer Antony Johnston.

The game was much later re-released for the PS3 as well, both included in the Dead Space 2 limited edition in 2011 and as a digital release on PSNetwork.

Dead Space Extraction serves as a prequel to the original Dead Space game. Taking place before the events of the main game, and alongside concurrently with the 2008 animated film Dead Space: Downfall.

It tells the story how the Necromorph infestation took place aboard the "Ishimura", prior to the arrival of Isaac and his team...

Our story takes place in the year 2508.

It all begins in the colony on Aegis VII. A small crew uncovered a very strange "red marker". A strange alien artifact. They extract it... but soon start having some vivid hallucinations!

We witness these events through the eyes of an engineer (like Isaac was), Sam Caldwell.

He turns out to be the one that actually killed all his crewmates, he wasn't facing any real monsters all along. He is intercepted by a squad.

A week pass. The point of view now jumps to Detective Nathan McNeill, the main character for most of the game.

He was investigating the previous accident when new incidents happen all over the colony. The colonists are getting really agitated and dangerous. The outbreak spreads all over the Ishimura. People are acting like psychotic. There's also rumors of some over-religious fanatics of the Church of "Unitology" being the ones behind all this. And once people are dead... their corpses get re-animated by these strange mutations!

The Necromorphs are finally starting to spread through the spaceship!

McNeill gets some help from his old friend Sgt. Gabriel Weller. They meet this girl named Lexine Murdoch, she was the girlfriend of Caldwell.

As the infestation spread, our protagonists meet this dubious executive named Warren Eckhardt.

At first our heroes try to find some safety aboard the ship. But then their objective quickly become to escape that place while trying to contain the outbreak as much as they can.

During the course of the game, the point of view switches from one character to another, giving the player a chance to see the narrative unravel from different protagonists' view on these events. You get to "play" as most of these main characters. 

The story is full of twists and turns. They meet a couple more faces. You also get to play as these other protagonists for a short time.

Our characters get to discovering the truth behind these so-called "Necromorphs".

They try to get to the bridge, passing through a medical bay, the sewage system, etc.

Setting up the stage for the arrival of the original Dead Space...

Unlike the first Dead Space game, since Extraction was actually a spinoff/prequel they took the occasion to provide a different kind of experience this time around.

Sort of like what Capcom's Umbrella/Darkside Chronicles was for Resident Evil franchise, Dead Space Extraction is also a rail shooter take on the series.

At the time since there had been no proper sequel yet, they could still allow themselves to play with the formula around their fictional universe.

Like most games on rails, the game follows a per-determined path and moves the pace along the story as it unfolds on screen. You get to control the aim of your character via the Wii Remote. You only have a limited control over the view on the screen a couple of times (to search for supplies, ammo and whatnot). Turning your controller sideways lets you use a secondary fire mode.

You get to find most of the weapons from the original Dead Space game in one form or another. You can only carry a couple of them, so you can ditch one previous gun for another. Like the original game the originality of the weapons really lie in the fact these are supposed to be mining tools instead of the usual video game weapons.

You're also able to perform a melee attack. Shaking the Wiimote you can, well, shake enemies off you or perform some special actions such as lighting areas.

Once more your character can use "Kinesis" telekinetic abilities. Like slowing down stuff, stopping enemies, throwing or moving objects. Such as grabbing and throwing back projectiles at your foes.

Most of the environments, the enemies and the weapons are directly taken from the first Dead Space game. And it really shows.

From the start, this makes this Dead Space Extraction a very unusual Wii game. With great looking character models, rich and detailed settings. Specially compared to most other titles the system usually gets (despite the Wii being basically as able to render games as an original Xbox). Simply said, the game looks great! Despite the limited resolution, everything looks great and colorful.

The whole dismembering limbs-thing is still a big part of the gameplay. To kill the creatures effectively once more.

There's a couple of very silly waggle-gimmicks. Such as mini-game puzzles to solve in order to "hack" open doors. And the very tiring badly implement turret segment from the original game, only this time it's made a lot easier, simpler to win and a lot more fun actually. The whole rail shooting-execution really helps save this segment.

The game is about 10 chapter-long. Slightly shorter than the original game, but it is just as easily replayable. Great replay value as you try to better your scores or unlock more things.

Extraction also allows a 2-player mode, much like the RE Chronicles games. Only here it is badly implement in the story. You'll simply have two players shoot on-screen as the other characters still consider you one single person. (RE had two characters team up through all the chapters)

Despite the execution, it's pretty fun and makes the whole thing a lot more fun and simpler.

On the other hand, the puzzles do take this into account and are made more fun for 2 players.

There are a few buggy situations, such as checkpoints not allowing you to keep a couple of ammo/weapons obtained in the nearby area. Some annoying boss fights not getting proper checkpoints or forcing you to redo most of the levels. It feels a bit rushed in the corners, like it wasn't much play-tested.

The music composed by Jason Graves is a bit more forgettable than the first game's. It re-uses some cues from the original, but the new stuff feels like throwaway.

The game got really good reviews at the time, most people calling it one of the most gorgeous games on the Wii. Extraction won a lot of praise and several awards.

While it's not your usual fast-paced rail shooter, this one goes for a more atmospheric/tension take on the genre. Setting a great mood. There's a lot of story for a rail shooter, it's just not your usual typical rail shooter kind of experience.

Overall,it's a pretty fun game. A pretty darn' good rail shooter than even detractors of the genre should take a look at.

Well worth a look, truly Recommended!

It has a great unique tone, true to Dead Space.

It's not particularly long or very difficult (minus a couple of segments), but it's highly enjoyable! 

Dead Space Extraction had a later unexpected port to the Playstation 3. Slightly enhanced for the occasion, but mostly the same game. While it has much better models and textures (of course, due to the HD resolution) the gameplay had to be a bit simplified due to loss from the Wii Remote to the PS Move. All things considered, for the most part it stays the same game. But all the bonus material was cut from the original release (such as unlockable comics, etc.)

I give it:
2.5 / 3 Pacmans!

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