Built around the concept of taking down Godzilla-sized foes with your trusty sword and legendary climbing skills, Shadow of the Colossus is widely regarded as one of the best games in history. Extinction, a brand new title for the Xbox One, attempts to recreate the magic of Colossus, but lacks the interesting story or great gameplay that made it special. The result is an experience that feels shallow and unsatisfying.
Story: David versus Goliath(s)
The story of Extinction is a simple one. You play as Avil, a capable warrior called a Sentinel that can leap, climb, and roll his way to any position you can imagine. Using his sword, he excels at slashing his way to victory. Due to him being the last of the Sentinels, it's up to him to prevent a massive army of orc-like monsters called Jackals and their titan-sized brethren (colloquially known as "ogres") from taking over the world.
Simplistic narratives aren't bad by default, of course, but what's annoying about Extinction is that none of the characters are interesting. Both Avil and the people around him are very flat, and as a result, it's hard to really get engaged with the story at all.
Gameplay: A broken record
Kill groups of small enemies to help civilians, get them to safety, and then battle gargantuan ogres to save the city or village you're in. This represents the entirety of Extinction's gameplay loop, and while it's fun for the first few hours, it ends up feeling like a monotonous chore sooner then the experience of a sixty-dollar game should.
The issue with Extinction lies in the lack of meaningful variety in all aspects. Everything from the process of killing the massive ogres to defeating smaller enemies can be reduced to mindless button mashing, whether you're repeating the same sword attack or hopping your way up a monster's back. Unlockable sword combos and armor on enemies slightly help to keep things fresh, but it's far from enough.
In addition, difficulty feels cheap. The enemies themselves aren't very tough at all, but the game will pit you against an overwhelming number of them in order to try and offer a satisfying challenge. In the end, though, this just creates a repetitive environment where nine times out of ten, you'll die not because the engagements are compelling, but because you didn't mash the buttons fast enough to keep up with the hordes of enemies.
Performance: Not worthy of $60
Extinction manages to maintain a very stable and smooth framerate on the Xbox One, which lets the great graphics stand out nicely. The controls are also fluid and intuitive, which is important in a hack-and-slash game like this. Despite these positives, though, Extinction's overall performance is heavily flawed due to the prevalence of bugs.
It's not uncommon for your attacks or abilities to not register during gameplay, and this can be frustrating when trying to deliver a killing blow to a foe or attempting to climb your way up one of the giant ogres only to slide all the way down because the game didn't register your movement. In addition, it froze several times during loading screens, and even crashed twice.
Extinction Xbox One conclusion
Though it's fun for the first few hours, Extinction ultimately offers a dull and repetitive experience that fails to compare to the game it was inspired by.
- Good concept.
- Decent setting.
- Good graphics.
- Sub-par performance.
- Monotonous gameplay.
- Bland characters.
Extinction is available now on Xbox One for $59.99.
This review was conducted on an Xbox One, using a copy provided by the publisher.