When I’m asked by friends and family, “which console should I buy?” I usually suggest the 360 or PS3 for the younger more serious gamers. Recently though, I revisited Deadspace Extraction on the Wii, and I realized there are actually some unique and hardcore experiences to be had on Nintendo’s family friendly system.
I set one of my (what I’ve started calling) artisan reviewers the task of taking a fresh look at the game. If you missed it the first time around, his introduction serves to catch you up:
Dead Space: Extraction headlined Electronic Arts’ charge on the Wii late last year, one of a bevy of big names the influential publisher sought to make work on Nintendo’s incredibly popular console. It was also the most ridiculed on announcement, critics deriding the translation of a technically advanced shooter into graphically outdated light gun game.
But Visceral Games was steadfast in its convictions. The aim never was to simply create a light gun game. Extraction would have an arcade shooter’s native easy fun, but combine it with the real horror of Dead Space. The developer argued that it could transfer the sweaty palmed creepiness of the third-person shooter into what it called a Guided First-person experience.
This guided first-person experience was interesting to me because I could play it relaxing on the sofa in the lounge, yet still have very fine control over where I was shooting. A bigger surprise though, was just how good it looks on the Wii, here’s how we put it in our Deadspace Extraction review.
Dead Space: Extraction’s opening chapter bristles with so much excitement and uncertainty. With Extraction set before Dead Space, it makes sense to open at a point that explains the latter’s events. So, I take control of a miner who helps to extract the treacherous marker from Aegis VII, the colony in which Dead Space’s USS Ishimura got unstuck. The first 10 minutes are mostly narrative-drive, interspersed with toe-dips of tutorial, so I sit back and take in my surroundings.
What surprises most is how high the presentation remains. There’s a drop obviously, but in actuality it doesn’t detract like it should. Textures are reasonable – even when they’re not the on-rails camera wisely avoids them. Lighting is used discerningly and the character models are detailed enough, with plenty of varied emotion on show. Extraction is actually quite attractive.
But like any good Wii game, in the end it was the controls and overall accessible experience that made this a winner for me.
Extraction in its shooting is an effective, strong translation of its predecessor. Weapons like the pulse gun and the ripper stay true, while new weapons like the Arc Welder are fun novelties, this one shooting off a bolt of electricity to fry your beasts into oblivion with.
The best translation, though, is in the controls. The choice to trigger secondary fire by twisting the Wiimote is inspired, the use of the Nunchuck to switch weapons simple. While Visceral has worked hard to give Extraction another dimension, it’s the ease in understanding its controls that really solidifies its play and provides the base for an excellent pick-up-and-play co-operative experience.
Games like this, House of the Dead and The Conduit will make me think twice about what system I recommend next time I’m asked. In fact I think we should probably do a round up post of the best serious Wii games on GeekDad sometime soon. Which games would you include?