Second Extinction sounds great on paper. Dinosaurs, explosions, weapons, a planet overrun… It has pretty much everything one would want from a game featuring prehistoric creatures right? This game has a tonne of potential and we’re hoping to see it succeed when it officially releases.
Developed and published by Systemic Reaction, Second Extinction is currently in Early Access on Steam right now. There’s plenty of in-game content to enjoy right now though and the game is really well priced. Players can currently pick from 1 of 4 different heroes and drop from orbit onto planet Earth. Earth however has been overrun by mutated dinosaurs and it’s up to you, the Extinction Unit to stop them.
In its current state, there are 6 different missions to complete in Second Extinction. Players will drop onto the “Tundra Campaign” map which is split into a number of different regions. Each region has an assigned threat level which corresponds to the number and types of dinosaurs you will face off against. Low threat level regions will obviously feature less dangerous dinos while a high threat level region will probably have you running for your life from dinosaur hordes.
Second Extinction can be played solo or with two other friends (or randoms if you use the matchmaking feature). If you opt to play the game solo, be prepared for quite a hardcore challenge. Missions are definitely a lot easier and far more enjoyable if you play with friends. Why Systemic Reaction opted for 3 players as the maximum though is a strange design choice given that there’s currently 4 different heroes to play as. Maybe this will change in a future patch.
Loading into a mission, players will choose a location and drop from orbit. Landing in a frozen wasteland region of your choice is pretty great since you’ll be able to plan a safe route to your main objective. Once on Earth, players will find camps and outposts which have been abandoned by humanity. You will be able to use these locations to resupply in-game should you need to as you trek towards your objective.
Gameplay in Second Extinction is pretty straightforward. This is a survival shooter game with fairly standard gameplay mechanics. Players will explore, shoot and interact with the environment in first-person. Movement is quite fast with players being able to sprint indefinitely without getting tired. Depending on your loadout, you will have access to a primary weapon and a secondary weapon. Playing as Amir, players will have a grenade launcher and a pistol in their loadout until they level up and unlock new weapons. Shooting in Second Extinction is satisfying, especially when you blow up a dinosaur that’s about to jump directly at you.
In addition to the varying primary and secondary weapons, each hero has a different skill set. Amir for example can use a radar ping to mark dinosaurs on-screen with a red tinge making them far more visible. Ortega can jump dash and Rosy can put up electric pylons that shock dinosaurs. These skills are great when combined with each other and teamplay mechanics definitely come in handy in the game. Additionally, players will also be able to heal themselves using a health stimpack and will be able to use grenades. Lastly, players will be able to call in supply drops that can either contain equipment packs or ammo packs. This last ability is an absolute lifesaver in Second Extinction since you will run out of ammo and equipment quite often in the game.
The world map is rather large but since you are able to sprint indefinitely, getting from different locations doesn’t take too long. There is a slight struggle with traversing some of the terrain though since the Tundra region is quite mountainous and you may have to take a short detour around a hill or mountain to get to where you want to go.
Second Extinction’s missions are rather simplistic. Most involve blowing things up or defending a certain point or extracting something back to orbit using supply pods and carriers. This isn’t exactly a negative but some more variation in the game’s main missions would be extremely welcome. Side missions are also very similar to the main missions with some being quite tedious to get through solo. For example there’s a side mission where you need to use gas canisters to gas dinosaurs out of a cave and then defeat them all. Not just once though… Eight times. This side mission was pretty difficult to complete with two players so it might be next to impossible to complete solo.
The Dinosaur A.I also needs some work. There were plenty of times when dinosaurs would just stop attacking or back off for no reason and run around without doing anything. Other times the A.I would mercilessly swarm you and you’d be dead in no time flat. There’s a lot of difficulty balancing that needs to be done to make the game enjoyable for both single and multiplayer gamers out there.
Quite strangely, the game also requires all players to be present to progress mission events. If you are playing with a random person via matchmaking, the lack of in-game text chat means that the other person could be off doing their own thing and you’ll never be able to progress further. This needs to be addressed otherwise it will significantly affect the game’s matchmaking multiplayer prospects.
Upon completing a mission, players will gain experience points and can level up. Levelling up unlocks new weapons that you can equip and upgrade. In the actual campaign missions, when fighting off dinos you may be able to break off parts of their bodies and pick them up. These parts are then later used when upgrading your weapons. The upgrade system does however need some work since it’s very resource intensive and there isn’t much indication as to where to get specific dinosaur parts required for upgrades.
Graphically, Second Extinction looks great. Dinosaurs look amazing and there’s a tonne of gratuitous violence in the game. If you aren’t a fan of blood and gore, you may want to avoid playing this game since dinosaurs will explode into tiny bits or get dismembered quite often by bullets and grenades. The developers may want to consider having a lower gore toggle in the graphics settings.
Other than that, the environment looks great and there’s enough variation between the regions currently on offer in Second Extinction. We’re hoping future campaign maps will be just as visually pleasing as the Tundra Map. The soundtrack used in Second Extinction isn’t exactly mindblowing. The main theme is memorable but that’s about it. The voice acting however needs a bit of a special mention. One particular character has a rather happy way of speaking and it’s quite a stark contrast to the serious nature of the game which is either going to be quite annoying to some players or received rather favourably. Another character repeats the same voice line constantly after reloading her minigun and this is definitely a problem because it becomes extremely repetitive and annoying after a while.
Overall, Second Extinction gets a thumbs up. There’s plenty of great ideas here and gameplay that is fun. It just needs some more polish and far more campaign content and it will definitely be quite a successful first person shooter. Systemic Reaction, if you’re reading this, keep up the good work and turn Second Extinction into a truly remarkable title.
Get your copy of Second Extinction here for £19.49.
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