Extinction Review: Only Nice on Paper
I genuinely want every game to be a good game. I also recognize that no game is perfect and that every game is going to have good and bad qualities, regardless of if they’re objective or subjective. Unfortunately, sometimes the bad outweighs the good.
Extinction is a game about fighting giant ogres called Ravenii as Avil, one of the world’s last remaining Sentinels. After generations of humanity warring with itself, the Ravenii have returned with their hoards of Jackals to destroy humankind. It sounds pretty epic on paper, but in reality it’s less than impressive.
There are worse games than Extinction, but it comes across as less than average in quality. Before I even get into this review, I need to state that the game crashed on me twice within half an hour of starting it, giving me a D3D device lost error. I fixed this by underclocking my GPU, but the game was still beating it to bits and while my computer did then run it without any issues, it ran it loud. The developers have also admitted to a persistent flashing green screen while running at fullscreen on some Nvidia cards. This is not exclusive to the game and can be fixed by changing the game to windowed or windowed fullscreen, or following other verified fixes.
Now, first things first, I want to talk about what I liked. In addition to the main campaign mode, Extinction also has a daily challenge mode, an extinction mode, and a skirmish mode in case the campaign gets frustrating. It also installed and booted quickly on my system (running an AMD Raedon RX480 and 16GB of RAM) and, aside from the crashes, ran with no stuttering and short load times. I also, personally, very, very much enjoyed the art style, and found the voice acting to be tolerable. The characters, as far as I got to know them, are a bit cliché, but not in a bad way; just because something is used a lot doesn’t mean it can’t be effective.
Sadly, that’s about all the positive things I have to say. Gameplay is responsive, but samey, and it took me a while to get used to how quickly you move around the map (which is necessary, considering the nature of the maps). There are campaign progression based skill unlocks, but the skill pool is very limited, and skills are expensive, forcing you to grind previous levels if you’re determined to get the max level in all of them. While I will say that some missions have randomly generated maps and bonus objective, there doesn’t seem to be many individual assets, and all the maps end up looking more or less the same, which is fitting considering that the missions only have about three different objectives; save civilians, kill Ravenii and kill Ravenii while making sure they don’t do too much damage. I started out having a decently enjoyable time, but about one chapter in I started getting bored and frustrated. It’s probably a good thing that death doesn’t have any consequences other than to pop you back to your initial spawn point on the map or I would have rage quit.
I think the premise is interesting enough, if, again, cliché. Humans have been fighting each other forever and them some larger threat comes along that makes them all unite and stand together or face annihilation. It could have been done well, but unfortunately it fell flat. Very flat. I’m genuinely upset that this game flopped as much as it did, and it seems to be a shared opinion as well. A quick browse on the Steam forums to see if there was a fix for the crash I was having revealed that the game is wildly overpriced at the standard AAA price of $60 and also incredibly short. One user posted that he watched a Twitch streamer finish the game in 6 hours. The conversion also punishes people in other countries, rather than adjusting the price to be an even translation across the board. If you really want to play this game, I would recommend waiting for a Steam sale. As I said, the art is nice, and the story cutscenes in-between chapters are traditional animation, rather like watching a (gory) cartoon. Sadly, there’s just too much bad to make it worth it, for me. I painfully give Extinction a 2/5.