Everything great about the first game is here- fans of Dead Space will not be disappointed.
Dead Space: Extraction is a prequel to Dead Space. exclusive to the W console. The first Dead Space was a survival horror, with gameplay similar to resident evil- but with actual scares included. As Extraction was announced to be an on-rails shooter, one could assume that everything good about dead-space would be thrown out at the expense of another fast-paced cheap action on-rails shooter. Not so. It's ironic, that what will amaze you most about Dead Space: Extraction, is that it's actually a Dead Space game- with everything players loved about the first game, but with a new perspective and gameplay that will set the standard higher for an entire genre.
Story: There's no need for a story in an on-rails shooter, but it's imperative for a Dead Space game- story is the first area you'll see where Dead Space Extraction is loyal to its proven strengths.
You play as agents inspecting the curious events that have befallen the USG Ishimura and the space mining colony on the land beneath it. The premise in a nutshell, is a space ship cracks open a big asteroid of valuable resources, but what's inside it starts to cause dementia among the colonist and creating frightening creatures- spreading this condition from person to person for unknown reasons. That's just the premise- the real bulk of the story is between the player and a group of several others as they struggle to survive. The characters communicate often- but with a small group and few signs of life elsewhere in the game, there is still the unique sense of isolation and doom in the story. Characters are voiced very well- and the screams, screeches and grunts you hear from seemingly everywhere are indeed unnerving- even if the game comes up short of delivering as much horror and scares as its predecessor.
There's additional story to be had- so much in fact, it is more than you may even care to digest. There's audio-logs and written logs to be picked up in levels quite often, and not to mention the motion comics complete with voice acting. How much of the backstory you'll delve into is different from player to player- but those looking for a mysterious and enticing story, will not be disappointed.
Graphics: The graphics of Wii games are generally judged by the standards of the console- but somehow, the visuals here are so impressive they transcend such standards. It's easily one of the best looking games on the wii- and one of the most atmospheric. Looking out into space aboard the ship is breathtaking and the dark environments are stygian and foreboding- keeping you pointing your zapper at the screen in constant preparation for a necromorph lunging out at you from seemingly nowhere. The incredible lighting makes such encounters possible.
The visuals are creepy to say the least- but the final piece of immersion in the graphics comes courtesy of excellent character models and camera movements. The characters look believable, and their facial expressions (which are usually frightened ones) and mouth movements are realistic. To add to immersion- the camera movements, though restricted, match perfectly the movements you'd expect when seeing through someone else's eyes- each step shakes the camera slightly- and when running, you'll have the same difficulty aiming as one would when booking it whilst shooting.
Gameplay: Once again, this is a true Dead Space game. You'll have a gun with unlimited ammo as with every other on-rails shooter, but as the game goes on (especially on a harder difficulty) you'll be forced more and more to use guns with limited ammunition- and you'll have to make all your shots count to conserve enough. The on-rails shooting is a blend of Dead-Space's strategic dismemberment and traditional point-and shoot, but what really makes it fun is the use of wii motion controls along with it. When using a plasma cutter to dismember an enemy, you must turn the wii remote vertically or horizontally for the appropriate cut. If you are using the ripper- you control the saw by pointing, and also moving the wii-remote towards or away from the screen to appropriately chop off enemy limbs. Also, if you find yourself to close to a necromorph and without time to reload, melees requires you to point your gun away from the screen, waving your nun-chuck as a melee- you'll find doing this becomes very frantic, because sometimes brawling is essential, but you have to quickly re-position your gun after taking it away from the screen. The most frantic motion control will be when you're grabbed by a monster, appropriately telling you to shake the nun-chuck to get the enemy off you. The way these motion controls are incorporated make the gameplay more immersive and the peril more palpable.
You can still pick up and throw explosives and items with kinesis, and you'll have your trusty stasis module to freeze enemies when the situation becomes extremely dire. Truly, the inclusion of these along with every weapon you've become familiar with from the first game makes this on-rails prequel just as enjoyable. As for replayability- there's a plethora of challenges that you will unlock while completing the game, and undoubtedly you will want to try them all out, at least once. You'll come for the Strategic Dismemberment, but you'll stay for the immersive motion controls that let you do it.
Sound: As previously mentioned, voice acting is spot-on. The chilling sounds of the creatures fill the atmosphere- and the sounds of the gun blasts make the dismemberments that much more brutal and satisfying. Zero gravity sequences boast the famous Dead Space touch- that when you're in space, no one can hear your plasma cutter. In this case, whenever your in an outer-space vacuum, you will hardly hear the vibrations of the sounds around you, as they are dulled out realistically- all while sounds you make inside your helmet are amplified as you'd expect.
In conclusion, fans of Dead Space should not overlook Extraction because of the on-rails gameplay. Everything about the old game is incorporated. The game on its own is excellent, and has only minor flaws with a frame rate stutter every now and then, and some over-used environments such as sewers. Everything else about the game is great- and the campaign is no slouch, clocking in at around 8 hours, with 10 long missions that will take up to about 40 minutes to complete each- this is a lifetime compared to the average 3-4 hour campaign from typical on-rails shooters. This includes co-op for up to two players. The bottom line is if you love Dead Space or on-rails shooters, you'll love Dead Space: Extraction- anyone of either group should not miss this outstanding prequel.