At its heart Extinction is a game built on a simple premise, save the civilians, kill the ogres and stop the town getting crushed and it doesn’t really get much more complicated than this. If this doesn’t appeal to you then you’d be best looking elsewhere for a summer throwaway, if it does then read on because the same may apply.
You play Avil, one of the last Sentinels who is blessed with the combat and agility to take down the Ravenii, huge building sized ogres that bear more than a passing resemblance to The Incredible Hulk. Dropped into a unique almost cel-shaded land you are quickly faced with the task of killing smaller ogres and saving civilians in an effort to power up enough to take on the larger Ravenii. For the rest of the game, ctrl-c then ctrl-v. While the Ravenii get harder and wear more armour, the core gameplay doesn’t change, for once, however, this isn’t a bad thing because if anything this game is built for time attack and leaderboards.
This is really as far as you can go with the game, you just upgrade your technique and power to make taking them down easier and make dealing with the smaller grunts called Jackals easier. There is nothing else going on with this game which is a severe pity. The NPC characters are simply there to be rescued and offer nothing towards defending themselves or you, they simply stand there and let the jackals attack them until they die and the only purpose of rescuing them is to build up your killing strike for taking down the Ravenii. Sometimes rescuing civilians is a fail-state but if they had included some rudimentary AI for them it would have made the whole siege mentality feel better because there is a lot to like in this game and engine.
The graphics despite looking strange in stills are actually very fluid in motion and also less cartoonish than they appear, slicing through the body parts of the Ravenii would be harrowing if they didn’t re-grow. The killing blow each time is straight from Attack On Titan, with a vicious strike to the back of the neck. Herein lies the little variation there is in the game. The Ravenii have varying degrees of armour. From simple wooden armour that can be removed with one focus strike to iron, padlocked iron and spiked armour. Depending on how aggressive the particular Ravenii is the later armours can ruin your chance of a quick level clear time bonus, especially if it is a padlocked helmet you are trying to remove.
This involves building up your killing strike as mentioned before, chopping a leg of the Ravenii or trying to scale his massive back then having to jump off, turn in mid-air and slow time with your focus strike to hit the padlock before doing it again as padlocks take a few strikes. Easy this is not, the finger dexterity required is off-putting at an early level of the game. Get past this and you start to look at the game as a badly paved missed opportunity.
If you had AI controlled armies fighting with you it could lead to epic confrontations. Think a Dynasty Warriors type scenario with your hero being pulled to different corners of the map wherever the crisis pulls them. It still happens in this game as Ravenii attack different ends of the villages but as you rush between them the environment is completely sparse save for a few jackals on higher difficulties. If only the feeling of war or a desperate fight for survival was going on as you run between the biggest threats then this game with destructible scenery and well-animated behemoths to takedown could have been an amazing spectacle. Instead, you are left with an empty feeling as you take down the Ravenii with the only urgency given by the stats on the screen showing the percentage of the city left. Couple this with no real punishment for death and near instant respawns and you lurch between insultingly easy levels and frustrating ones. The only thing they have in common is their shortness. You should complete most in fewer than 10 minutes and there is only around 25 in total. After this you can have procedurally generated ‘challenge’ levels and daily challenges but after you have taken down a couple of Ravenii you have seen all the game has to offer.
This is a real shame as the game had bags of potential, unfortunately, there is nothing to make you come back to it unless you really enjoy the killing mechanics. Without a story or variety, I can’t recommend this for purchase especially with God Of War and Farcry 5 available.