The David v. Goliath dynamic just plain works. It’s the ultimate underdog, little-guy owning the champion, huge guy. It’s relatable, and has worked like gangbusters for Attack on Titan and Shadow of the Colossus and the like. Extinction plays in that wheelhouse to varying degrees of success in both fun and gameplay.
Extinction takes place during a time when an evil force known as the Ravenii decide to invade the kingdom of Dolorum in attempt to make mankind extinct.
You take on the role of an Avii, an elite Sentinel solider who was trained in the bloody ins and outs of taking down the Ravenii. Upon arrival in Dolorum the invasion begins and leaves Avii and his partner Xandra with the task of ultimately saving humanity by dominating the baddies.
The game is divided into a 7-chapter campaign filled with their own subchapters and challenges to meet. Each chapter has Avii, alternating between taking down the lower level ‘Jackal’s’, saving civilians and systematically taking down 150 foot ogres. With each mission Avii is given certain set of challenges to meet that primarily revolves around killing a certain amount of enemies, saving a certain number of civilians, completing time trails, etc.
Let’s talk about the elephant… err I mean ogre in the room. Ogre’s are by far the best part of the game. These hulking monstrosities are huge and each comes with a set of strategic challenges in order to take them down. These usually involve knocking off bits of their armor, slicing off legs and arms and eventually climbing to the base of their neck to decapitate the huge bastards all while avoiding becoming a bloody pancake.
In order to execute a killing blow, Avii has to fill his Rune meter by saving civilians, or by destroying ogre armor. Filling that meter can be a real pain, especially when the city is being destroyed by two or three Ogres and you are trying to serve a killing blow to at least one of em before they destroy the city. In that way, Extinction evolves from a straight hack-and-slash to a hack and slash/strategy hybrid.
Along the way, Avii can earn points in battle that afford him upgrades to assist in making things a little easier. Rune focus, health, acrobatics among other things can be given enhancements that not only lend a hand but also make the game more fun in general. Avii is equipped with a sword to take down baddies and a grapple that allows him to zip around using buildings, trees and ogre armor as latch-on points. Zipping around takes some getting used to, and in early, non-upgraded gameplay can be a bit maddening. Stick with it. The payoff is well-worth the time.
Extinction has a gorgeous color palette reminiscent of a Fornite’s aesthetic. It allows the game, even at its most dire, to maintain polished, colorful and a fun landscape to play around in.
Controls were a bit of a problem for me at first. That is a natural reaction to getting used to controller dynamics and how to correctly string them together successfully. Response time and crunchiness are tight once you find your footing. I found climbing, grappling and dodging easy to pull off once I got learned how to seamlessly chain tactics together. It’s extremely satisfying and earned when you are able to zip around an Ogre, save civilians, knock off an enemy’s vital armor and laydown a successful killing blow all in one swoop.
The chapters are broken up by some eye-popping, Ralph Bakshi-esque inspired animation sequences, that really expand on the world being built throughout Extinction. The old-school style of these were a throwback to a lot of the animation I was raised on, and it was great to see it back in action. Got me thinking that totally wouldn’t mind an animated series based on the world of Extinction.
Downing an ogre is tremendously cool and satisfying. No matter how many times I went about it, there was always a specific strategy that is needed in order to get up to the big guys neck to remove his head. Furthering the enjoyment is the mass amount of dark ogre blood that comes out of these dudes when you take parts of them off. The blood sprays are a call back to old Samurai films and really add to the emersion and enjoyment of the dang thing.
Extinction is thrilling, satisfying gameplay experience. Despite its sometime repetitive nature, the game remains fun by upping the difficulty of each mission. Completionists are in for a treat with all of the varying challenges, timers and rules that are given to them as additional to do’s. Offering daily trials, and a couple of other modes to play on, Extinction offers up a satisfying form of fantasy that has an indie spirit with blockbuster sensibilities.
Extinction is out now on Playstation 4, Xbox One and PC.