Dead Space: Extraction (Hands-On) (Wii) Preview

By James Temperton 26.08.2009 7

Review for Dead Space: Extraction (Hands-On) on Wii

Developed from the ground up exclusively for the Wii, Dead Space: Extraction is yet another sign that EA are throwing their full weight behind Nintendo's money-printing system. But this isn't a cash cow, this is a proper gamer's game packed full of features and with all the shine and polish of a full-on AAA title.

I was lucky enough to be one of the first to play the co-operative element of the game which allows you and a friend to enjoy the adventure together. EA had prepared Chapter Seven, entitled 'Life or Death' for demo. The level starts off with a cut-scene in which we discover that you, as the new female protagonist Dr. Howell, are trying to escape from the Necromorphs and attempt to find any other survivors on the colony. The cut-scene itself consists of Howell recording a video log of what is going on, she explains she has left the hydroponics bay and is now looking for survivors. Surprisingly enough, she doesn't get to walk around untroubled as a Necromorph flings itself at your face after about twenty seconds.

The production values are certainly high and graphically for a Wii title everything is very impressive with great lighting effects and environments that ooze atmosphere. Rich Briggs, a producer on the title explained that all the cut-scenes were done using motion capture and that the idea is to make you feel part of the adventure, to be truly involved in the story. For a story-based game this is certainly key to keeping the player interested. Whilst the cut-scenes roll you can pick up items and generally mess around so you're not locked in a movie but rather experiencing another part of the on-rails experience.

Screenshot for Dead Space: Extraction (Hands-On) on Wii

The on-rails aspect is at the very core of this title. Extraction tries to scare and trick you at every possible moment by use of 'dementia moments' such as flashing lights, creepy background noises and bizarre visions and hallucinations. By not being in control of the character you are at the whim of the game as it creeps you around the seemingly deserted surroundings before throwing a Necromorph at your back for you to fight off. I'm not normally one to jump and scream like a little girl, but some of the moments are genuinely scary and surprising.

From what I played, the game is both a point and shoot like crazy-a-thon, but also a bit of a puzzle game. Necromorphs can't simply be shot in the head, they have to be decapitated and destroyed in all sorts of clever ways otherwise they simply keep on trying to kill you. As you may well know, death is unpleasant and normally means 'Game Over', so you have to use all the weapons at your disposal to stop the little blighters. You can saw off limbs to slow them down, blow them up, rip bits of them off and generally maim them. All of this produces a rather satisfying and effluent amount of gore. All things considered, it is certainly clear why this title is rated 18 here in the UK.

Screenshot for Dead Space: Extraction (Hands-On) on Wii

The game seems to be divided up into a number of rooms, each one containing a certain number of evil beasties. In playing through Chapter 7 on co-operative it became clear that the developer has thought about the implications of having another player present in the level. Whilst it offers drop-in co-op gameplay, meaning a friend can join you at any point, the whole game can be enjoyed either by yourself or with a friend. This flexibility and pick-up-and-play is key to the playability of a Wii title. In co-op you are able to work together to solve puzzles and kill evils. Each player has three stasis charges which let you freeze enemies if they get too close to you, once frozen you can begin hacking them to pieces. These stasis charges are crucial and should be used sparingly as they take quite some time to charge back up. Intelligent and innovative use of weaponry is also important. You get upgrades and new weapons regularly and have to work out how best to use them.

The most interesting part of the level comes when you have to work together to fight off a boss. You can tell it's a boss because it makes lots of horrible noises and tries to eat your face.. and it's big, really big. First up, one of you freezes the brute as it charges at you, then the camera pans round to the side allowing you to attack its weak spot (highlighted in yellow), rinse and repeat a few times over and eventually it gets a little more angry and starts throwing rather nasty 'venom sacks' at you...which hurt. Thankfully you can use your grabber (a tool which lets you pick up ammo and health and anything else you can 'grab' in the game) to hold it in mid-air and fire it back at the now slightly ill looking enemy. Eventually it gives up trying to sack you and keels over and dies. This set-piece battle is excellently realised and brings together the on-rails aspect along with a real sense of cinema and fast-paced action. What's more, it really is a blast to play through and requires some rather skilled co-op play.

Screenshot for Dead Space: Extraction (Hands-On) on Wii

But what about innovation? Well, aside from actually making a proper game for the Wii complete with mature themes, shiny cut-scenes and decent voice acting, Extraction also delivers in terms of using the Wii hardware. As an on-rails shooter it hits the nail on the head. It is never too slow and ponderous and the controlled camera is well directed and really adds to the tension of the title. One of the coolest features is the alternative fire control. By simply turning the Wii-mote on its side you are able to fire a secondary weapon, turn it back to the standard position and you revert to primary fire. It might sound simple, but this is a really clever addition. Sound is also played back through the Wii-mote speaker to bring you closer into the action.

Screenshot for Dead Space: Extraction (Hands-On) on Wii

Final Thoughts

What really shines through is that this is a Wii game through and through that has been built from the ground up. Whilst it might be based on the Dead Space series and follow the same story and the same franchise, this is a whole new game in its own right. I was massively impressed with how well put together it was. Fluid and impressive cut-scenes, excellent sound and voice acting and a game that plays like a proper game for proper gamers. I'm hugely excited, and you should be too.

Developer

Eurocom

Publisher

EA

Genre

Horror

Players

2

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  10/10 (3 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

Sounds fantastic - nice one James. I too love the secondary weapon idea, which is basically just taking the mechanic from the original game where you tapped a shoulder button so that your weapon flicked round.

Y\'know, I\'m torn between getting this just to support a big-name developer putting forth a genuine effort for a mature IP, and not getting it because I simply am not interested in Dead Space and actively dislike Visceral Games. And frankly, The House of the Dead: Overkill is the only rail shooter that genuinely interests me, and that\'s mostly because it\'s funny. Darkside Chronicles and particularly Dead Space, I dunno...

( Edited 27.08.2009 02:29 by gatotsu911 )

E3 demo was very cool, much better than RE DC. Hope it sells well.

gatotsu911, I wouldn't damn all onrail-shooters only because they aren't funny.
I am not keen on the concept, either, but when James puts together a Hands-On that is basically the kind of game we all shout for, then this game is certainly worth checking out. You don't have to buy it right away, but at least you should give it a try at a demo booth or at your local dealer, begging him to test it for a bit. Or rent it.

I am certainly not into Dead Space myself, since I wasn't around to the initial game and tend not to buy shooters on consoles, aside from Metroid Prime and The Conduit, which cured me and made me give a try to console shooters. But Dead Space delivers kind of diversification from the usual shooter habit on 360 (is it out for PS3?) and the Wii version seems to be extremely well done. I tend to add this game to my wish list, supporting Visceral Games and EA. EA pulled off some great games in the past which weren't only sporting games an The Sims and I started to support them. I never bought an EA game in the past and now I will add a new one to Mirror's Edge, which I think is stylish.
And to see that a big publisher squeezes our beloved Wii out for graphics and gameplay is something worth supporting, don't you think? They not only seem to pull of an okay-game here, they seem to pull off an excellent one.

I find your lack of faith disturbing!

Excellent hands-on James, very surprised at how it's turned out. Wasn't too sure based on the previous trailers and how the game was initially descibed but it does sound like EA are putting a lot of effort into this one. Has definitely popped onto me Wii-dar!

Cubed3 Admin/Founder & Designer

Cheers guys. Really surprised me did this one. Wasn't expecting such a well put together game...certainly not one that has been specifically put together for the Wii. Whilst I liked House of the Dead loads this certainly seems to have more depth and variety, which can only be a good thing.

Trying to think of a witty signature after 'Hacker-gate'...

Nice one. From initial disappointment over the camera, this game has grown a lot in my eyes.

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