"And they're trying to kill us. Isn't life dandy..."
I haven't played the original Dead Space, but from what I've heard it pretty faithfully replicated most of the gameplay mechanics of Resident Evil 4. Perhaps it should be no surprise then, that its creators decided to make a Wii rail shooter spin-off in the vein of the two Resident Evil Chronicles.
As I mentioned in my post on RE: The Darkside Chronicles, Dead Space: Extraction gave me issues with motion sickness. It's to the game's credit that I would consistently play two chapters, think, “I really want to play the next chapter, but if I do I'll start to feel ill...” Then play the next chapter and feel ill. But it was also this pattern that made me put the game down for some time. I finally managed to finish the game off recently, though, in part thanks to noticing the option to reduce the amount of camera shake. So what did I think?
The basic gameplay on offer is pretty addictive. The simple act of zapping undead monsters with a slo-mo gun and then dismembering them never really seemed to get tired for me. But I think I actually enjoyed the game even more as a piece of world-building - an action-packed POV tour through grimy and convincingly lived-in science fiction locations.
The typical mould for games of this type is to begin after the disaster has occurred, going around listening to recordings of people describing what happened and then being eaten. What I like about Extraction is that, although the original Dead Space fit this mould, this spin-off is actually set in the period that you might expect the recordings to cover - starting with ordinary people going about their jobs and encountering suspicious activity, passing through carnage and the collapse of law and order, and ending in a desperate scramble to escape.
The game relies on its characters in no small part, featuring a diverse cast of largely British voices. It's great to see a game of this type that's happy to take a little time to develop minor characters before inevitably killing them off - and the interplay between the four main characters, mysteriously immune to the infectious delirium around them, does a good job of making no individual seem either too likeable or too obviously untrustworthy. Special kudos to Ramon Tikaram, who pretty much steals the show as the face and voice of the misanthropic and caustic (but ultimately honourable) Sgt. Weller.
When I finally finished Extraction, I immediately went back and replayed it. Partly because I put it down for so long in the middle, but also because I found it pretty rewarding to see how certain subtle aspects of the game suddenly made a new kind of sense given revelations in the last few chapters. In general I'd say that I find the chapters in Extraction to be more replayable than those in Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles - largely because I thought Umbrella Chronicles was full of great chapters that ended in protracted and tedious boss fights - but not as replayable as the chapters in Darkside Chronicles, which, as I noted at the time, seem to be carefully structured to be as succinct and flowing as possible.
In short, if you like a bit of Wii rail-shooting, or a bit of science fiction horror, then if you don't already own Dead Space: Extraction, you can probably find it at a reasonable price. At the very least, the penultimate chapter features probably the most memorably macabre action you'll perform with a Wii remote.