Known for their background in fighting games like DiveKick and Killer Instinct Season 2 & 3, as well as the numerous PC and console ports they've worked on for other studios, Iron Galaxy is a bit of a jack-of-all-trades studio. And now, they're striking out into the character-action sub-genre with Extinction, an action-adventure game that's a bit of twist on the David and Goliath trope--except in this case, David is well-armed and is able to jump and glide across rooftops with ease. During E3, we had the opportunity to check out a pre-alpha build of the game with a walkthrough from the developers at Iron Galaxy.
Taking on the role of Avil, a sentinel trained in the ancient ways of combat, you're tasked with protecting one of the remaining kingdoms from the Ravenii--giant, hulking orcs that aim to topple over the last of the human settlements. Using your magical sword and whip, along with some high-flying parkour skills picked up from your sentinel training, You will have to take down countless Ravenii minions before moving up to the big targets themselves. By scaling the various buildings, you can then climb onto the large creatures themselves, he'll have to target their weak points open themselves up for the killing blow. But as he takes out more Ravenii, more seem to find their way to him, and he'll have to refine his skills as a sentinel to overcome the odds.
Just to get this out of the way, yes, there are many similarities with Extinction and the insanely popular Attack on Titan anime series--which in itself has seen numerous video game adaptations. While the giant-vs-human dynamic with emphasis on melee combat is by far the biggest parallel, the similarities pretty much end there. Extinction focuses much more on solo play, as Avil is largely on his own for much of his encounters. In the story mode, players will go through the campaign, learning more about the world and how Avil and the ancient order of Sentinels fit into it. It's an interesting premise, and I'm curious to see how much it will differentiate itself from AoT.
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You will have to use you skills and gear to maneuver around the large, open environment while single-handedly saving citizens from minions and raging Ravenii looking for their next meal. While traversing, Avil will climb and leap across the rooftops around the kingdom in order to catch up to or evade the Ravenii. The giants come in many forms, and they'll charge through buildings and other obstacles--in fully-destructible detail--to take you down. In order to take out the giants, you'll have to charge up Avil's focus by whittling away at the giant's limbs and pieces of armor. By immobilizing the Ravenii, either going for their legs or arms, you will be able to climb your way up to the top of the giant and charge up an attack to deliver the killing blow, severing the giant's head. But you'll have to be quick, as your window of opportunity closes due to the giants' regenerative abilities, giving them their limbs back in moments.
While the objectives mostly boil down to killing a certain number of giants and minions, Extinction opens up more as you progress through the story and various settings. Eventually, the giants will come in more elite variants, such as the gold armor giants who can summon flying minions to distract you as you try to hack off armor pieces in order to get to the meat. Though combat with the giants looks fun, I was disappointed with how bland swordplay with minions looks. Given Iron Galaxy's experience on combat games, I do hope they'll be able to spice it up more. With that said, I really dug the focus on mobility and verticality. Avil has a whip that can grapple onto points scattered through the environment, which makes him come off more of a high-flying acrobat than a knight, but the game works these two play-styles together surprisingly well.
Extinction is looking to be quite the departure for Iron Galaxy. With a full story campaign and additional modes, like the titular Extinction mode--which is their take on horde mode--along with other other diversions in the campaign, I'm very much intrigued by what they've got in store. Though the build we got to see in person was very much in its early phase, I do think Extinction might have something going for it come release around Q1 2018. I look forward to trying out Iron Galaxy's new IP and seeing how far they can push it.