Dead Space Extraction Updated Impressions
Dead Space Extraction is a fresh take on last year's premier sci-fi survival horror offering, as we found out in EA's first demo.
Though Dead Space didn't do as well as publisher EA might have hoped, the amount of investment in comics, DVDs, and merchandise meant that it was always planned as an ongoing series. In fact, so assured of the nascent franchise's potential was developer EA Redwood Shores, that it started work on a Wii game halfway through development of the original game. We got to speak to the team that broke off to work on Nintendo's console and hear how they're turning the survival horror hit into an on-rails shooter.
The first thing to note about Extraction is just how good it looks. The game can certainly claim to be one of the best-looking Wii games to date, and perhaps even more impressively, it actually compares favourably to the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 original. The human characters have all been face- and motion-captured from actors, while the necromorph enemies look and move just like they did in the original. We're also promised dynamic shadows in the finished build, while the BAFTA-winning sound team has been brought over to bring the same expertise to the Wii version.
The game may be an on-rails shooter, but it retains the distinct Dead Space style, thanks to the puzzles, strategic dismemberment, and distinct visual style that are all carried over. All of the same weapons are included, such as the flamethrower, the plasma cutter, and the disc ripper, and we're promised more engineering tools to play with as well. The same applies for the zero-gravity sections that were so haunting in the original game, although we didn't get to see those in action.
The level that we were shown took place aboard the USG Ishimura, the same ship from the original Dead Space. It's chapter four, so a good way into the game, and you've reached the ship after escaping Aegis VII, the planet that it was supposed to be mining. We watched a developer from EA Redwood Shores play the game and saw how the Wii Remote and Nunchuk were used to navigate. A cursor on the screen shows where you're aiming with the remote, but if the enemies get too close, you can shake them off by waggling the remote. Time it right, and the regular necromorphs won't be able to hurt you, and you can also use your telekenesis powers to slow them down or pull other weapons towards you.
There are lots of other motion-sensitive controls in Extraction. You can shake the nunchuk to use a glowstick--allowing you to see enemies in the game's many pitch-black sections. There's also an active reload system, and if you time things right, you can reload faster than you would by default. We also got to see one of the puzzles--a basic line-drawing exercise where you have to draw a path between two points without hitting the obstacles and causing a short circuit. It's not particularly taxing, and in fact the puzzle was supposedly a placeholder, but it looked fairly tense in the demo. You also use the remote to physically open doors, which is another nice touch.
So what else is there to say about the game at this stage? There will be two-player drop-in co-operative play, meaning that someone else can grab a Wii Remote and Nunchuk and play. There are also branching paths through each level, so there will be some replayability to the game once you've completed it. The development team also promises that the game will play heavily into the Dead Space mythology, rewarding those who have absorbed the games, comics, and films, while it will also boast one big secret that promises to shock fans. We were impressed with what we saw of the game at this early stage, so keep an eye on GameSpot for more information as we get it.
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