The lights are on
Last Halloween, we fast-forwarded 500 years into the future, where interstellar mining was alive and well. The Concordance Extraction Company, or C.E.C., was charged with tasking mining ships with this mammoth deed. Just when things appeared to be running smoothly, a distress call was received by the C.E.C. from the USG Ishimura. Isaac Clarke, an engineer employed by the C.E.C., along with some squadmates, were sent to evaluate the situation. Upon arriving on the Ishimura, Clarke and his squadmates discovered that what appeared to be a simple malfunction had gone terribly awry. A terrifyingly hostile race of beings known as Necromorphs had overrun the ship and jeopardized the survival of Isaac and his party. The three were separated, and Isaac was left to fend for himself out in the deepest, darkest reaches of space, left only with the Necromorphs and every bit of his wit that he would need to use to survive. With that, we were thrust into Dead Space, one of EA’s most enjoyable new IPs of last year. Presented in a format reminiscent of Gears of War or Resident Evil 4, gamers were tasked with keeping the space engineer Isaac Clarke alive until he could get to safety or to the bottom of the Necromorph invasion.
With such an engaging entry into the action/survival horror genre, EA knew they had to deliver more of the same while fans eagerly anticipated the release of the previously-announced sequel. Taking an unorthodox approach was apparently warranted, as Dead Space Extraction was released via Visceral Studios on the Nintendo Wii. At first, gamers (including myself) were taken aback — how could we possibly be expected to embark on the same kind of adventure we previously devoured with a rail-shooter based on the Wii? The answer soon presented itself: with shaky hands, dim lights, and a whole lot of spare underwear on hand. Dead Space Extraction delivers.
The action has shifted to follow that of the miners of the planet Aegis VII. After excavating a mysterious artifact (the familiar marker from Dead Space), they soon find out that it may not have been such a good idea to meddle in the affairs of beings they knowlittle about. The marker’s influence drives several crew members to madness, slaughtering each other and devolving into the most grotesque, primeval of beasts. It’s up to an elite crew to get to the bottom of this mystery and quite possibly stop it before it advances any further — or worse.
In a complete 180-degree turn from the original game, Dead Space Extraction is a rail-shooter rather than a traditional over-the-shoulder endeavor. Instead of navigating the Ishimura, strategically dismembering Necromorphs as they jump out of the darkest of corners at you while keeping tabs on camera angles, inventory, and exploring the innermost reaches of the ship, you’re forced to go where the game wants you to go. Like previous franchises that have attempted this such as Resident Evil with Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles, all of the elements that made the original game so good are still available, just in different forms.
The main campaign mode is divided up into several chapters that you’ll play through House of the Dead style. Though you must move along a predetermined path, it’s always certain that a fair amount of tension is exhibited. Necromorphs may lurk in the shadows even where you’re not expecting them to, and a simple headshot just isn’t enough to incapacitate them. You’ll need to raise your Wii remote, point at your targets, and shoot until you can’t shoot any more — that’s Dead Space Extraction in a nutshell, in its simplest terms.
Luckily, you’ve got a ship full of weapons at your disposal as to wipe the floor with the grotesque beasts. Several familiar weapons from the original game reappear in this very unique sequel, and your default weapon, the rivet gun, has unlimited ammo just in case your hands start to shake excessively from the constant onslaught of chills sent shivering down your spine. You can carry three additional weapons at any time, but it’s prudent to make each shot count and to behave as though you won’t find extra ammunition lying around. If not, though the Necromorphs move at a creeping pace (for the most part), you’ll find yourself dead on the ground. It’s important to remember to incapacitate the monsters rather than aiming for simple brutality. Slowing them down works wonders and if you played the original game you’ll know just how to keep safe.
Since there is no exploration to speak of, you should be wary of your surroundings. Items that can be utilized, such as a glow worm to light your way, additional ammo, or health boosts may be found for fleeting moments before the camera pans way to your next location. Acquiring these items is as simple as pointing and pressing a button, just like pumping lead into the bizarre creatures that threaten to take your life. Occasionally, you’ll stumble upon audio and text logs that will aid in filling in some of the gray areas of the story — they do add another dimension to the Dead Space universe and I recommend trying to scout out where each one is in order to get the full experience. Sure, you could look them up online, but finding them is all the more fun! It’s important to note that some logs are carried over from the previous game, but it’s likely you won’t remember them anyway, so feel free to let yourself get lost within the lore.
Simple Wii controls that never feel out of place (no excessive waggle or embarrassing poses to hold) allow you to scout out said items, tear through Necromorphs like a knife through butter, or use Stasis and Kinesis to hold the nasties in place or toss them (and items) about like helpless rag dolls. Kinesis may be used at any time and anywhere throughout the game and most certainly comes in handy when you’re attacked en masse by three or more ravenous, mindless Necromorphs.
The action unfolds via well-acted and great-looking cut scenes interspersed between the action — cinematic experiences that rival the original game. Character models are impressively rendered and allow for authentic expressions and attitudes that aren’t typical of most Wii titles. In this, the immersion factor is upped significantly. Voice work is tastefully done, and the same heart-pounding orchestral backing annotates the frenetic action well.
Dead Space Extraction spans only ten missions, but with a cooperative mode, unlockable motion comics, and several different difficulties, there’s plenty more to do upon completion of the main story mode. This Wii expansion is every bit as big and as cinematic as its big brother on the major consoles, which is a refreshing change from the move most franchises make on the Wii. Like Super Mario Galaxy and No More Heroes, Dead Space Extraction should go down as one of the best reasons to own a Wii, especially if you were a fan of the original game. It’s a great way to tide us over until Dead Space 2 is finally released, and a great way to kill a couple evenings. Pick it up, unless you want to be torn from limb to limb by a Necromorph.
Hey good review. However, it was disappointing seeing how the diverse amount of exploration that I have heard about the first didn't make it into this game. Butthis is a still a fairly decent rails shooter.