Fresh on the heels of Attack on Titan 2, you would be forgiven for believing that this game draws some inspiration from that material. That, however, couldn’t be further from the truth if it tried. Extinction is far from perfect, but its unique and compelling story deserves a spotlight entirely of its own. The Ravenii, a horde of gigantic ogre-like creatures have arrived on Earth and are leaving nothing but destruction behind each mammoth sized stride that they take. The game sees you taking on the role of Avil, a slave turned soldier that’s now a fully trained sentinel, capable of fighting back against the devastating forces of the Ravenii. It falls to Avil and his trusty female sidekick to stand their ground and utilize a variety of mechanics throughout the course of the adventure, one that largely remains engaging and intriguing throughout, I might add.
That being said the story can indeed be predictable at times, but it still manages to hit all the right marks from start to finish. Albeit, there are beats to the story that come across quite “tried and tested”, it’s still a worthwhile journey nevertheless. This is told to you through some truly gorgeous animated cut-scenes and dialogue. Extinction begins by immediately acquainting you with its fluid control system, feeding you the basics of play without outstaying its welcome. The core formula tends to remain the same throughout, regardless as to the shifting overall goal. This typically amounts to killing the monstrous Ravenii, which usually consists of jumping, rolling and attacking them whenever an opening makes itself apparent. There isn’t a large portion of depth as far as the gameplay is concerned, which sadly only emphasizes the repetitive nature of the game.
Taking down a Ravenii isn’t going to be a walk in the park. First you must build up an energy meter, which is largely filled by rescuing nearby survivors and beating smaller ground forces beforehand. Once full, you’re able to utilize a powerful attack to dismember limbs and eventually finish off these gigantic beasts. Ravenii can only be killed by decapitation, but you first need to get there. The Ravenii stand at a staggering 150ft and gradually climb in complexity and difficulty as you journey deeper in. This usually means more Ravenii appearing at the same time, whilst being kitted out in thick plates of armor. While indeed this variation does help to keep the game feeling fresh, it does hinder the experience as well. Armor, regardless as to what material it is, needs to knocked off in the same fashion. Wooden armor can be smashed to pieces with a well timed blow, whereas metal and gold armor simply requires knocking off its latches.
The Ravenii do house more interesting armor pieces, such as flaming armor that needs to be extinguished before it’s hit, or reinforced armor that requires a blow from the Ravenii, but for the most part, it’s quite a straightforward affair. The problem here is that much of your time with the game will simply consist of taking down the Ravenii, which is fine on its own, but these added armor mechanics only draw out the already repetitive loop. Extinction would have benefited from more of these interesting armor sets, but as it stands, there’s only a handful that players need to worry about. This isn’t really much of an issue during the initial stages of the game, but it does become a chore in the long run when you sit back and realize that this is really the only thing you’ll be doing throughout. The fifteen hour campaign never truly evolves once its shown the proverbial ace up its sleeve.
In fact once you’re done, you’ll sit back and realize that you spent the best part of your week saving civilians, killing the same Ravenii over and over, as well as protecting the occasional watch tower. Don’t get me wrong, Extinction isn’t a bad game, but its wonderful world and lush visuals are hardly upheld well by its gameplay structure. That to the side Extinction does offer up some very tense moments, which can be both a blessing and a curse. When you’re facing up against a band of Ravenii, all of whom are kitted out in different armor, the game plays at its finest. There’s a tactical edge during moments like this where you have to carefully consider your options and weigh up which order you should attack in, and it’s here when Extinction plays at its finest. On the flip-side, the game doesn’t always register a control command in the way that it was designed to, leading to several instances where you’ll get stuck on Ravenii or fail to scale it completely.
At the end of each level you will be rewarded with SP points that can be spent on upgrading Avil’s powers. This includes quicker recovery, slowing down time for longer periods and so on and so forth. Players can also earn stars from each mission for additional SP, as well as replaying missions to gather more points, again, a pretty straightforward affair. Extinction lacks the finesse and fluidity that Attack on Titan 2 recently showcased magnificently well. There’ll be times in which your attacks just don’t connect for reasons unknown, especially as far as the ground grunts are concerned. It’s not due to lack of polish, on the contrary the game handles well when it wants to, but there’s no denying that its combat could have been better refined. Still, with its repetition and stale mission structure to the side, Extinction does manage to stand tall enough to recommend a purchase. It’s just a shame that its systems were not properly built upon to relay gameplay that’s as compelling as its theme.
Outside of the campaign, there’s three other modes that players can dive on. The first of which is a daily skirmish mode, where you’ll have just one attempt to complete a random scenario in a set amount of time. The second mode is a skirmish mode where you can create different battlegrounds with differing scenarios, which can be shared with the world via a seed system. Finally, that leads us to the third mode, Extinction. This is a wave based mode set on a random map. Here, you’ll be tasked with killing hordes and hordes of minions and Ravenii in rapid succession. There’s no shortage of content within, that much has to be said. Moving back to the visuals, Extinction certainly shines brightly. There’s a comic-esque like feel to the game thanks to its wide use of color. The game is well detailed and stunning from the get-go, treating its fans to some remarkable design choices throughout. This is bolstered by some stellar audio too, which further strengthens the journey at hand to some degree.
Extinction lacks refinement and complexity, that much goes without saying. However, for those that seek a non-stop action-packed hack-and-slash adventure, there’s a lot to look forward to within. It may be repetitive in the long run, but there’s no denying that Extinction offers a decent story, empowering gameplay and enough content to merit a recommendation.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox One. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version.