When it was announced that Dead Space would be coming out for the Wii, gamers were surprised. Some thought that it would be a direct port with Wii Remote aiming. Some thought it would be a direct sequel. Some scratched their heads, wondering why EA would bring a Dead Space game to the Wii. When it was announced that Dead Space: Extraction was going to be a rail shooter, some expressed disappointment. However, anyone that has played House of the Dead 2 & 3 Return, House of the Dead Overkill, or Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles can attest that the Wii is the best way to play gun games in the home short of owning your own arcade cabinet. Knowing this made me more interested in Dead Space: Extraction.
Extraction is a prequel to the original Dead Space, set at the time of the anime Downfall. It follows several members of the Aegis VII colony, giving you a perspective of the Necromorph infection from multiple perspectives. Most of the time you follow Nicole, the girlfriend of Issac, the main character in Dead Space, even if you aren’t seeing the events from her perspective directly. She is the glue that ties the entire story together. While this might not sound like it’s that innovative, the developers have used this to throw in a few twists and turns into the story. Minor spoiler alert — When the first level is over, you find out that instead of shooting at the newly infected Necromorphs, you were the one actually infected and killing uninfected crew members before succumbing to the damage taken from the crew to stop you.
The original Dead Space was definitely an M-rated title, and Extraction is no different. While the language doesn’t reach the level of House of the Dead: Overkill, there are enough expletives in the game that you won’t mistake it for Super Mario Galaxy or Cooking Mama. The voice acting is done well enough, although sometimes the sense of urgency isn’t as strong as it could be presented. Other sound effects like the rattling and squeaks of the ship help with the atmosphere and conveys that something is going terribly wrong and you don’t know when that next enemy might be popping up.
Graphically Extraction looks impressive for a Wii title. While the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions benefited from the higher resolution and better textures, the Dead Space universe is accurately recreated on the Wii. Some areas are immediately recognizable to someone who has played the original, Extraction features several new areas as well. While you don’t control your character directly, you get the feeling that you are covering a lot of territory, whether travelling across large expanses on bridges or running through the hallways and punching out whatever Necromorph goo is blocking your way.
One of the crucial features of Dead Space was the strategic dismemberment. Taking down the enemies’ limbs until they couldn’t move was crucial because they would attack with any limb still attached. That same feature is featured prominently in Extraction. While your ammo isn’t as limited in Extraction, you still need to conserve it as much as you can. Hitting their limbs accurately and quickly is the key to getting through Extraction.
That doesn’t mean that you will only be using the Wii Remote to shoot at Necromorphs. Quite frankly, Extraction is one of the best use of controls for the Wii currently available for the system. When you find audio logs, you need to put the Remote up to your ear to hear the log. In some dark areas a glow worm is required to navigate through the area. By shaking the Wii Remote, you charge up the glow worm. The stick on the Nunchuk selects your weapon, and shaking the Nunchuk punches on the screen. While the attack isn’t strong, it can knock your enemies away while your gun is reloading. By twisting the Wii Remote, you get the alternate firing mode of the weapons.
The number of weapons at your disposal is an impressive bunch. The weapons aren’t your traditional weapons, but when you are trying to survive you use what is available to you. Your basic weapon is the rivet gun. It doesn’t have the best rate of fire, but it does have unlimited ammo. The plasma cutter can slice through the Necromorphs quickly. The P-Sec Pistol and Pulse Rifle are military weapons that do a more effective job than the crude tools you use. The Flamethrower is a lot of fun as it can burn up enemies. Other weapons become available through the game, and each one has a unique feel to it.
As you go through the areas, you can pick up ammo and other items through kenesis. Kenesis plays another important part in the game. It allows you pick up objects and shoot them at the Necromorphs or clear areas. It’s similar to the gravity gun in Half-Life 2. While it would have been nice to have more opportunities to use it, it is a lot of fun when it is available.
There are occasional puzzles that consist of soldering electrical panels. You need to be quick about these, because these can occur while Necromorphs are heading towards you. While your teammates try to help get rid of them, you can’t take too long or else you will get injured. It will require a steady hand as well, as if you get too far out of the lines you get zapped.
At times you have the ability to free look through a level. When this happens you can use the Remote to direct where you are looking. You need to take advantage of this as quickly as possible, as the free look segments don’t last very long. Here you can stock up on ammo and get health packs.
Extraction can take you about eight hours if you go through it as fast as you can, which is pretty good for a light gun game. However, there is more to Extraction than that. First, there are multiple paths that you can take throughout the story mode. Completing chapters in story mode opens up the challenge mode. These stages consist of getting the best score while fighting off wave after wave of Necromorphs. You can also play co-op with a friend. This mode is available for the second player to drop in at any time, and the second player only needs a Wii Remote to play, though they can use the Nunchuk as well. The motion comic is also unlocked as you complete the story mode. While it would have been nice to see the Dead Space: Downfall anime on the disk instead, the comic is a nice way for those looking to get more background on the Necromorph infection.
While the original game was a horror-survival title, Extraction plays more like an action game. There aren’t many times where you get shaken up throughout, which is suprising considering the developers are the ones controlling the camera. However, the shaky-cam is in full effect here. If you got sick because of the Paul Greengrass Bourne Supremacy Shaky-Cam directing, then you will find yourself having similar issues in Extraction.