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Michael Kontoudis
05 Oct, 2009

Dead Space Extraction Review

Wii Review | In space, no one can hear you review.
Visceral Games (formerly EA Redwood Shores) surprised many last year by unleashing Dead Space upon the gaming public on Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and PC. An almost instant-classic, Dead Space arguably remains the best survival-horror experience of the current generation, successfully blending third-person exploration and shooting with a heady mix of gore and science fiction trappings. We loved it, as did many of you, but Wii gamers might have felt excluded in the process. Fortunately, Visceral Games, with the help of industry stalwart Eurocom, had no intention of leaving Nintendo’s console in the dark and has delivered Dead Space Extraction to bloodthirsty Wii-owners.

Eschewing the third-person mechanics of the original, Extraction takes gamers on a guided first-person experience, which, while sounding like marketing-speak, sums up the title with aplomb. To be blunt, Extraction is an ‘on-rails’ shooter or ‘light gun’ game in the vein of House of the Dead: Overkill and Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles, but with a notable emphasis on story, characters and atmosphere. Set before the events of the original Dead Space, Extraction begins with the excavation of the mysterious ‘Marker’ from the depths of the planet Aegis VII as it is mined by the ‘planet cracker’ star ship, the USG Ishimura. Soon enough, the planet-side colony of miners and scientists is plagued by violent bouts of madness and an alien organism reanimates the corpses of the dead. Desperate to escape from the increasingly grim scenario, a group consisting of a cop, surveyor, soldier and businessman flee the colony and find themselves aboard the Ishimura in a last ditch effort to outrun the maelstrom of infection and death. Along the way, players assume the roles of a number of different characters, experiencing the pulse-pounding escape from varying perspectives.

We're not going to make a Kevin Federline gag.

We're not going to make a Kevin Federline gag.
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Despite its ‘on-rails’ trappings, Extraction places full an enormous emphasis on story; while the game’s plot can be reduced to ‘a group of survivors flee an alien-infested star ship’, the experience is expertly paced and the characters are provided ample opportunity to argue, chat and generally interact. Indeed, Visceral Games and Eurocom succeed where no other ‘on-rails’ shooter has done before and make you genuinely care for the characters in question; rest assured, then, that not all of them survive until game’s end. The journey takes players through a variety of locations across Aegis VII and the Ishimura, including a large number of locations which will be intimately familiar to veterans of the original. By and large, Extraction makes stellar use of the Dead Space universe, and one of the title’s strengths is the way in which it ties into the overall storyline established by the multimedia franchise. While Extraction is more than fan service, devout fans will find its take on the necromorph-invasion especially compelling.

In terms of its position in the Wii’s steadily-expanding pantheon of ‘on-rails’ shooters, Extraction fares favourably. Controlling the reticule with the Wii remote is fairly smooth and hassle-free (in spite of the cinematic bobbing and shaking of the camera) and the title’s clever incorporation of the original’s core elements certainly help distinguish Extraction from the crowd. For example, the power of kinesis and stasis are present and accounted for here, with the former being crucial to the collection of health, ammunition and text or audio logs, and the latter proving essential in reducing enemies and environmental hazards to a crawl. Along for the ride are several sections in which players will find themselves drifting through zero gravity environments and more significantly, the ‘strategic dismemberment’ concept which was the cornerstone of the original title’s mechanics is translated perfectly, with the added precision of the Wii remote allowing players to dissect their foes limb-from-limb in an effort to finally lay them to rest.

We're not going to make a Michael Atkinson gag.

We're not going to make a Michael Atkinson gag.
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Every fraught, overwhelming onslaught feels difficult enough to keep you on your toes, but in reality the game is more concerned with immersion than true challenge. Extraction offers up a slew of weapons with which to wreak havoc, running the gamut from the familiar plasma cutter to the newer P-Sec pistol and Arc Welder (the latter resembling one of the nastier weapons in Killzone 2), and of course, each is fully upgradeable. However, in one of the game’s few missteps, you are seldom given the opportunity to switch out your weapons and organize your load-out throughout the course of the game’s ten missions, meaning that you are often left facing an enormous boss monster with the most inappropriate of weaponry at hand. On the subject of boss encounters, it is disappointing to report that the game only offers up a few, none of which are unique, distinctive, or come close to matching the best in the genre. In fact, due to poor sign-posting and repetitive patterns, the boss encounters in Extraction are by far its lowest points. What matters most is that despite the transition from exploration to blasting, Extraction remains tense and engaging throughout, if never quite reaching the terrifying heights of the original Dead Space.

Also surviving the transition to the Wii are the atmospheric art, visual prowess and expert sound design which wowed gamers last year. Of course, the inherent limitations of the hardware render Extraction with less detail, fidelity and frills, but by and large this is one of the best-looking Wii titles on the market. The smoky, dimly-lit Gothic interiors of the USG Ishimura are recreated splendidly, the necromorph enemies scuttle about as unnervingly as ever, and the characters are rendered as convincingly as any yet seen on the Wii, with the title’s facial animation and lip-synching being eerily convincing throughout. In conjunction with solid (albeit corny) voice acting which is delivered with conviction and an unrelenting, suspenseful score (evoking James Horner’s masterful work in James Cameron’s Aliens), Extraction offers up a treat for the senses for all those who are able to look past its sub-HD resolution. Make no mistake, this is no sloppy ‘rush job’ made to capitalize on the market share of the Wii.

We're not going to make a Victoria Beckham gag.

We're not going to make a Victoria Beckham gag.
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Where Extraction comes undone is in the amount of content it has to offer; while we do not subscribe to the notion that length is more important than quality, the title ultimately feels truncated and slight. With only ten chapters, each of around half an hour’s duration, most gamers will dismember their way to the end credits in an afternoon or two, and more than a few will be left hungry for more. Additional difficulties, bonus animated comics and the fact that the game rates your performance throughout do little to compensate for the fact that Extraction is more of a fling than a long-lasting love. Further aggravating the issue is the fact that the title’s heavy emphasis on narrative (and the lengthy story-related sequences which result) make replaying the game an experience not suited for everyone. A tacked-on ‘Challenge Mode’ allows players to fight it out in a number of arenas facing waves upon waves of necromorphs, but ironically, the lack of context renders this mode a mildly entertaining diversion at best. Extraction is akin to a roller-coaster in this regard; the first time is truly the charm.

Dead Space Extraction is a taut, compelling, well-presented shooter which reconstitutes the core elements of its predecessor into a distinctive (yet utterly faithful) game which most Wii owners should enjoy. The story mode is slight, the extras are largely unexciting, and it is ultimately a lesser game than the original on account of its less-sophisticated generic foundation, but for fans of the franchise this is a worthy companion piece which should not be dismissed.
The Score
Dead Space Extraction is a tense, gorgeous rail-shooter which stays true to its predecessor while advancing its genre of choice. A slender package of notable quality. 8
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

Related Dead Space Extraction Content

Pre-E3 2009: Dead Space Extraction E3 trailer
01 Jun, 2009 Are you brave enough to turn the lights off?
Dead Space Extraction dated
29 May, 2009 Time to dim the lights and grab a spare pair of undies, Wii owners.
Dead Space Extraction screens
28 Apr, 2009 Does it leave the competition for dead?
16 Comments
4 years ago
Great review!!!!!!....I want this game.

I have Dead Space and love it, but havn't really played alot if it. So would it be a good idea to play the Wii version first?
4 years ago
My firm belief is that you should play Dead Space first; the reasons are manifold.

For one, the Dead Space 'universe' is best experienced knowing nothing, like Isaac Clarke at the game's beginning. The way the story unfolds in Dead Space is clever and quite detailed.

In Extraction, many of the references and events will be lost on you if you never played the original. If you have played the original, you will appreciate the narrative even more.

Extraction may be a prequel, but it is designed to be played after the original in much the same way the Star Wars prequel trilogy works better (yeah, yeah, I know) if you have already watched the original trilogy first. Watching them in sequential order robs the of poignancy and surprise. To make a long story short, part of the fun of Extraction is watching how the events of Dead Space are set in motion.
4 years ago
I want to get this game, but not at $99.

Anybody want to sell me a 2nd hand copy?
4 years ago
LeonJ wrote
I want to get this game, but not at $99.

Anybody want to sell me a 2nd hand copy?
Just wait 2 months, it'll end up around the $30-40 range because it won't sell all that well (even though it looks awesome and I will definitely pick it up at that price).
4 years ago
LeonJ wrote
I want to get this game, but not at $99.

Anybody want to sell me a 2nd hand copy?
As said, just wait. Word on the street is that it's selling pretty damn average. Expect it to drop quickly.
4 years ago
@el_rezzo, u know even if i disagree fundamentally with this poicy of waiting i understand why its done. Spyborgs is basically retailing for 60$ and thats brand new. Your probably right about DSE too. I still have a fundamental grievance about 3rd party rail shooters though, thats why im resisting.
4 years ago
Well that's BAD because I love Dead Space. If it was $69 bucks I'd probably cave and buy it. Harvey Norman has it for $89, but still, seems like a lot of cash for a short, yet excellent game.

Still, more fuel to the fire that *adult* games don't sell on the Wii.
4 years ago
Anyone played this with the House of the Dead Hand Cannons?
Blasting aliens with those babies would be awesome.
4 years ago
Great review, I've just started playing this myself, and despite being an on-rails shooter, it definately feels like a Dead Space game still.
4 years ago
I love this game, its my favorite 3rd party game so far on the Wii.
4 years ago
For the cheapest price this game is available in physical shops:

- Gametraders $80
- Harvey Norman $80
- Big W $88

Great Review! Love the Dead Space Universe. Hope this opens up the game to a wider audience.
4 years ago
waz79 wrote
@el_rezzo, u know even if i disagree fundamentally with this poicy of waiting i understand why its done. Spyborgs is basically retailing for 60$ and thats brand new. Your probably right about DSE too. I still have a fundamental grievance about 3rd party rail shooters though, thats why im resisting.
If I wasn't a uni student living off less than a hundred bucks a week then yes I would buy a lot more games at full price but when I have the choice of saving up and buying a full price game every few months I tend to look at the AAA titles first. I want this game but I could certainly live without it. I bought the first Dead Space at full price for the PC and loved it but for an on-rails Wii shooter (even though it sounds way better than that) I wouldn't pay the same price. Uncharted 2 and Brutal Legend take priority over this game in the short term.

tbenton wrote
Anyone played this with the House of the Dead Hand Cannons?

Blasting aliens with those babies would be awesome.
Best thing I ever bought for the Wii, instantly awesomes up any game.
4 years ago
CDWOW is selling this game for about $52 only for today.
4 years ago
56$, shit im gonna buy it.
4 years ago
Shadowmoon808 wrote
CDWOW is selling this game for about $52 only for today.
When I checked yesterday it was 7-10 business days from shipping. Screw that, cd-wow are awful even when a game is in stock.
4 years ago
LeonJ wrote
When I checked yesterday it was 7-10 business days from shipping. Screw that, cd-wow are awful even when a game is in stock.
I had a horror first purchase with Fallout 3 last year but ever since then they have been spot on brilliant. Games are really cheap and usually turn up about 7-8 days later unless they are one backorder (like the copy of The Last Remnant I bought for $20). Picked up the amazing Red Faction Guerrilla for $34 on PC, awesome game. Plus they sell vinyl now at a reasonable price which I'm going to love come christmas time.
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  Pre-order or buy:
    PALGN recommends: www.Play-Asia.com

Australian Release Date:
  1/12/2009 (Deleted)
Publisher:
  Electronic Arts
Genre:
  Survival/Horror
Year Made:
  2009

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