|System: Wii||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Visceral Games||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Electronic Arts||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Sep. 29, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Mature||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Adam Brown
April 27, 2009 - Since its release, the Wii has seen its fair share of ports, often sharing software with both the PS2 and PSP. Most of the games being released on the Xbox 360 and PS3 never seem to make their way to Nintendo's new console in a similar form, either due to the differences in control schemes or the system's comparative lack of processing power. Even if the Wii does manage to get a version of one of these "next generation" games, they rarely maintain the same level of graphical quality found in the other systems' releases. Perhaps this trend may be coming to an end considering what we had a chance to see at a recent event held by EA.
At this event we were given a brief demonstration of Dead Space Extraction, the all-new Wii game based on last year's stunningly beautiful and atmospheric Dead Space. First things first: it is hard to believe just how closely this title resembles the previous one visually. The level we witnessed took place inside the now familiar USS Ishimura, which was great because it looked exactly like we remembered. The ship's rooms and hallways were littered with benches, boxes, broken railings, smashed doors, and debris, making everything appear lived in, while some great lighting effects were utilized to add an impressive sense of realism and spookiness to the surroundings.
Also filling the screen were hordes of pesky Necromorphs trying to eviscerate you at every turn. Just as in the original, Extraction will have these formidable foes popping out the ceilings, floors, and vents when you least expect it. These creatures also look as though they were taken directly out of the original title; complete with their very fluid and believable animations. The look of these hideous creatures is all the more impressive and grotesque considering you'll need to continue relying on strategic dismemberment (limb-lopping) in order to dispatch with them. This results in Necromorphs reacting to their remaining number of limbs realistically by adapting; for example, crawling on the ground instead of walking when both of their legs have been removed.
Even the human characters in Extraction are visually impressive, which is a real accomplishment for a Wii game. While you will not be able to see your character due the game's first-person perspective, you will come across other folks in the same situation as yourself. At least a few times during the course of the demo, we witnessed some in-game scenes that had characters talking amongst themselves and to your character as well. Besides looking incredibly realistic, these characters' faces were also perfectly animated, using motion capture for accurate and convincing facial and mouth movement at all times.
Of course, while Extraction looks to be a technical achievement for the Wii visually, the impressive graphics do seem to come at a cost. Rather than being a free-roaming third-person shooter like the original Dead Space, Extraction is instead classified as a guided first-person experience. Essentially this means that the player will have no/very little direct control over their character's movement through the game's environments and chapters. While it would be easy to dismiss this title as just another Wii on-rails shooter, there is actually more to it than just shooting whatever pops onto the screen.
One of the major differences between Extraction and a typical on-rails shooter game is in just how well the controls are implemented. Instead of just functioning as a pointing and shooting device, the Wii-mote, Nunchuk, and their motions have clearly been well thought out and utilized. Players will find themselves shaking the Nunchuk to melee Necromorphs who happen to get too close, shaking both controllers to dislodge attacking foes, and even shaking the Wii-mote to gain better visibility with the glow worm. The glow worm is essentially a glow stick that needs shaken to provide better illumination, presenting players with some interesting situations where they'll need to decide whether it's more important to be able to see well or immediately shoot at the screen. Keeping with the tradition of Dead Space, weapons will continue to have an alternate fire mode. Luckily, utilizing this function is as simple as turning the Wii-mote on its side, making switching between these two modes quick and painless.
Extraction also contains some interactive elements that one wouldn't typically associate with an on-rails shooter. Because of your ability to use powers such as stasis and telekinesis from the original game, you are more equipped to handle difficult battles. Stasis can be used to slow your enemies while telekinesis will allow you to pick up objects in the world such as boxes and hurl them at your foes. Telekinesis can also be cleverly employed to pick up weapons, ammo, audio logs, and other various useful items from the environment as you pass through it. There will even be portions of the game where you will be given control over the camera with the analog stick so that you can better investigate your surroundings for useful items and information. All of these things come off as really slick and make the game feel less like a straightforward on-rails shooter and more like, dare I say it, a guided first-person experience.
While we'll have to wait to see how the finished product turns out, what we've already seen has gotten us pretty excited about this upcoming prequel to the fantastic Dead Space. Extraction's great-looking visuals combined with the interesting ideas that have found their way into the title seem like they will create a very atmospheric and enjoyable experience. Add in the ability to play with a buddy on the same screen and branching paths that provide variety for multiple trips through and Extraction could be another must have title for fans starved for M rated games on the Wii.
CCC Staff Contributor