Extinction is the newest action game developed by Iron Galaxy, who might be best known for their work on Killer Instinct and Dive Kick. Shifting away from fighting games, Extinction sees you take on the role of a Sentinel, a powerful acrobatic warrior who is the only hope the world has against 150ft tall orcs. Trying to take the 3d acrobatic monopoly away from games like Attack on Titan, Extinction is going to have to pull out all the stops to make sure it doesn’t go extinct itself on game shelves.
Starting off like a rip from an old anime, Extinction sees our protagonists being put to work in slave labour. Their world is harsh and always under attack by Ravenii, 150-foot tall monsters that hunt their race. Thankfully Anvil, our male protagonist keeps his female friend Xandra safe when Ravenii eventually find their way to Anvil’s city. Though, two puny humans stand no chance against these titans, so it is up to a Sentinel to save them properly, dubbed “Old Man”. Whisked away to a building in the mountains our characters are safe.
Skip ahead several years of fluff and backstory, we find Anvil fully trained and ready to leap into action against the Ravenii. Through 34 story missions, you will cut down the titan menace, save civilians through the use of portals alongside thinning out the numbers of Jackals, a smaller monster that help the Ravenii. Extinction doesn’t focus too much on its story, dropping to the background a lot of the time and being placed out of order. It is haphazard and unattached throughout, breaking flow constantly and generally feeling rather poorly planned out.
The main story will last you around 6 hours, with around 4 mission types across the 34 missions. These are split into killing X amount of Ravenii, killing X amount of Jackals, surviving X amount of minutes and saving X amount of civilians. However, Ravenii and survival pretty much become the same mission type, so you can safely only count 3 separate ones. These are repeated over and over, with 1 or 2 missions more focused on quick movement and parkour. Each mission comes with their own challenges, incentivising repeated play.
Surprisingly, I am reminded of yesteryear, with games like inFamous and Prototype hitting the gaming scene when it comes to describing the mechanics of Extinction. Your character has a rather high jump, with a double jump mid-air. Can climb walls for seemingly forever, if you jump every so often. You can glide across the skies and slash through anything on the way with your sword, though it does summon up a spectral line with it, attacking much further away than its reach would normally allow.
Anvil has a simple combo of attacks, with some delays throw in for different attacks, or he can use charged heavy attacks that can kill the majority of Jackals in one hit. The charged heavy is also used to strip armour from Ravenii and deal the final blow to their neck. Utilising a hook you will also be able to swing and pull yourself around the map at faster speeds. This is not Attack on Titan, just a reminder.
Combining all your skills, strength and wits, you will have to move around cities, hamlets, forests and deserts to get a chance at defeating a Ravenii. Once you approach them you will need to climb up their body, to slice at the nape of their neck to kill them. Their limbs can be cut off, to make them fall down or stop their attacks, but these regenerate quickly, so you will need to kill them before that happens. Ravenii’s can only be killed if you have enough charge in your sword, however, which is charged by saving civilians, killing Jackals or stripping armour.
While playing you will gain SP, which you can spend to unlock new skills for Anvil. SP is gained by saving civilians, stripping armour, killing Ravenii and the harder Jackals. Skills mostly give a % bonus to your damage, jump height and health. There are some unlocks for dodge attacks, air recovery and wall-running which add to your movement tech and offensive capabilities. The Wall-run is restricted to post-game though, so don’t expect that any time soon.
The music in Extinction has a very distinct apocalypse sound to it, with heavy trumpets, organs, drums and marching tunes. It keeps a consistent style for a good majority of the game, changing slightly between areas but not going too far from the norm. Sadly this has an inverse effect on the soundtracks impact as the songs blend too well together sometimes, blurring between separate songs and becoming a long 1 track game. Due to this, the music does become almost as tiresome as the game itself.
Extinction, as you may have guessed from my words previously, make no effort in hiding where it gains its inspiration from. The beginning cutscene literally steals 1 or 2 minutes from the Attack on Titan anime and continues to take mechanics and rules from other sources, pouring it into their game. It’s nothing new in gaming that a developer makes something similar to another developer, but Extinction does imitation so badly that it comes off cheap and rushed. The gameplay becomes repetitive after the first 2 hours and missions feel identical to one another. Ravenii are padded with gameplay when you need to hit locks on their armour up to 4 times or have to fight them for up to 9 minutes straight for 1 mission.
If the previous concerns weren’t enough, Extinction also carries a heavy issue with its rag dolling and pushing of Anvil. You are shifted and teleported around Ravenii far too often to instil a sense of size difference, but it is so harshly implemented it looks like a glitch half of the time. One minute you are attacking their arm, the next you are behind their foot. Anvil also gets stuck on terrain and Ravenii all the time while he is climbing, breaking the flow-motion of parkour immensely. You are kept on a track when you climb, making it so hard to climb sideways to get around overhangs on buildings or spikes on a Ravenii.
Overall, Extinction gets a 4/10, it is a good attempt at trying something new in gaming, but sadly that something new is picked from a monopolised genre of titans. Gameplay is chunky, the soundtrack is samey, levels are repetitive alongside the combat with skill progression feeling unrewarding. The story had so much potential but is split up horribly, with some poor script and pacing thrown in for good measure. Glitches and movement also need so much more refinement. It does have its good moments, when you get a good section of jumps, hooks and attacks, making Anvil look stylish, but those are too few and far between due to bad movement or lack of terrain.
If you want to get this game, don’t buy it at the £55 asked, as it is not worth anything near that when Attack on Titan is around the same price and contains somewhat more solid gameplay.