Hot on the heels of Attack on Titan 2, Extinction is here to provide more monster-slaying action. Is this an adventure worth taking, or should you just let the game slip by? Check out this review and find out what we thought.
The world of Extinction is an unpleasant one for humans. Creatures known as Jackals and Ravenii attack civilizations, taking prisoners for their labor camps and outright killing people. Jackals are smaller werewolf/orc-like creatures, while the Ravenii are massive, hulking orc monsters that can break entire buildings with a single punch. Enter Avil, a Sentinel who has a weapon that can bring down the Ravenii. Avil and his friend Xandra are trying to save the human race and push the Ravenii back. This generally involves protecting a city from one or more Ravenii until they are all defeated.
At the beginning of your adventure, you’re introduced to the basics of the combat system, with a few Jackals attempting to slaughter civilians. Killing Jackals is really simple; just strike them with the sword until they are dead, over and over again. When the Ravenii appear is when things change. Killing them involves attacking the back of the neck, much like the titans in Attack on Titan. This is easy at first, but as you progress the Ravenii get progressively more difficult to take down. You can also remove their limbs to stop them from moving or striking, but they regenerate after some time. Killing the Ravenii is meant to be challenging, sure, but it proves to be more frustrating than anything else.
After the first Ravenii tutorial, they start wearing armor to make it more difficult to bring them down. Wooden armor just needs to be hit with a charge attack, but metal armor requires a bit more effort. You have to find the locks on the armor and shatter the lock to make the armor fall off. Locks take at least two hits to break, and sometimes they are on the head of the Ravenii. The frustration comes in with player and camera movement. The metal lock on the head can sometimes be on the front of the helmet, and the Ravenii move their heads often. So when you try to hit the lock to break the helmet, you either overshoot or undershoot and get smashed. If this was an infrequent occurrence or a more skill-based system, you might be able to ignore it, but it happens far too often.
On top of the metal and wood armor, there is also spike and magic armor. Both of these armor types cannot be shattered unless you goad them into attacking you. When multiple Ravenii are attacking at the same time, and you are busy trying to get one of these giants to attack you, the other one is wreaking havoc on the city. You can only move so quick, and going back and forth in between two Ravenii just isn’t a good choice. What ultimately happens is that you have to let part of the city be destroyed, or have to let civilians die while you focus on one Ravenii. When the objective is to protect a town or buildings and a Ravenii has some of this particular armor on, you are at the mercy of the mechanics. If they don’t come at you, then you can’t destroy their armor and you just lose.
It may seem like I am harping on this armor and Ravenii thing a lot, but it is the entire game. You drop in, you take out Ravenii, and you beat the mission – every single time. To top all of this off, you need to power up your Rune Strike to kill a Ravenii. You can do this by rescuing citizens, killing Jackals, or removing limbs from the Ravenii. Once you use a Rune Strike to kill a Ravenii, you have to charge it up again. Somehow, your blade can take out the limbs, shattered metal, and other armor, but cutting open the back of the neck of a Ravenii cannot be done without a Rune Strike. Also, the neck looks very open with a helmet on, but you can’t strike the neck, it doesn’t add up. The game has so much padding it is sickening.
To top it all off, the game has plenty of bugs. While I didn’t suffer many crashes, I got stuck in walls a number of times and had to restart the game on more than one occasion. While running up the back of a Ravenii sometimes they move and the camera goes completely wild. Hitboxes for the Ravenii are terrible. I soar through the air thinking I’ve just pulled off an incredible dodge, only to die to a hit that was half a screen outside of my hitbox. You have infinite lives, so dying isn’t the end of the world, but you usually spawn far away from the Ravenii. On top of that, the jump button has a delay to it; you can get used to it, but you really shouldn’t have to.
The last thing I am going to touch on is the upgrade system and the extra modes. You can play in a survival-like mode and a Skirmish Mode with daily challenges. I have no idea who is going to want to do either of these. You can compete for high scores in said Skirmish Mode and see how long you can last in Extinction Mode (survival mode) though that isn’t enough incentive to jump into either of these modes in my opinion. There are upgrades in the game that you can purchase with SP. You gain more SP depending on how many objectives you complete and how many missions you take out. The upgrades make the game easier, but it does not make it more enjoyable.
Extinction is a tough sell at its current price point of $60. If you enjoy killing giant monsters, wait for a massive price drop or pick up Attack on Titan 2 instead.