Review – Extinction
Extinction puts gamers in the boots of Avil, a member – the last member – of an elite warrior squad called the Sentinels. Dedicated to destroying the Ravenii, giant orc-like creatures that are intent on smashing buildings and humans alike, Avil’s life is given purpose once again when his monstrous enemies reappear.
Dropped into the game’s vibrant but largely lifeless maps, Avil must rescue civilians using teleporters – handily civilians will only be found standing next to said teleporters – and hack down smaller monsters called Jackals before the Ravenii arrive. Jackals come in four basic varieties: a light green one that’s faster than most but also dies the easiest, a dark blueish-green one that spits projectiles and can take more damage, a red one that can both take and dish out the most damage, and a flying gargoyle that can also be used as a mobile grappling platform.
Trained as a Sentinel, Avil’s arsenal of attacks is substantial. In addition to light and heavy attacks, there’s also timing-based combo strings that allow you to vary between focused attacks and more area of effect swings. Holding the attack button triggers a launch move, allowing for air juggles or crowd control. On top of all that, there’s the rune strike – a powerful attack that can one-shot green Jackals and gargoyles and is the key to defeating Ravenii. Each rescue or kill raises Avil’s rune energy, the store of power that allows the rune strike to eventually be used to behead the 150-foot beasts with a single blow.
Ravenii, though they’re the most fun to fight enemy in the game, really offer the least diversity of form. There’s a few colours, but all it affects is how aggressive they are toward Avil – will they drop everything to go after him, or do they continue to pound away at the city and leave him be?
What does change up every time the game generates a new Ravenii is the armour they’ll be wearing. At the start they wear nothing, or easy-to-destroy wooden armour that breaks apart with a single hit from your rune strike. Get a few levels into the game and you’ll encounter armour with special requirements to break, ranging from easy things like hitting multiple locks to more difficult fare like having to bait the Ravenii into taking a swing at you so their armour can temporarily be broken. Some armour can’t be broken at all, so Avil must charge his rune energy and then find a way to climb a still-mobile giant to lop its head off.
There’s a story threading its way through the game’s 34 missions, but it’s run of the mill fantasy dreck that does little more than explain why you’re doing one of the game’s four main mission types: kill Ravenii, kill Jackals, save [X] civilians, and protect towers for [X] minutes. The game also allows for random bonus objectives like killing a certain number of dismembered Ravenii or destroying a certain amount of armour, which provides some element of replay value.
While the fighting is enjoyable, the game does suffer some issues with the camera control that can put a severe damper on the fun. It can be insufferably difficult to keep the camera at an angle that works for you, especially when you’re fighting in the middle of buildings – doubly so when it’s a Ravenii you’re up against. It’s almost worth letting them simply smash down the nearby structures to free up the camera…