Dead Space Extraction – Side Commentaries

March 16th, 2010


Fugly Boxart

I bought Dead Space Extraction cheap for $20 and even then I almost regretted buying it. Never have I felt so prompted to go back and refund a game I just bought for the sole reason of offensively bad boxart. Take a look for yourself.


Despite looking blatantly cheap, the horrified woman and the angry dude in the background don’t really resemble the respective characters in the game. In fact, the cover simply fails to represent the high production found in-game. It’s an abomination.

PR Shenanigans

Visceral Games coined the term “guided experience” (or something to that extent) to distinguish Dead Space Extraction from the swath of other rail shooters on the Wii. It kinda reminds me of a similar PR move made recently by Atlus who went to great lengths to separate Shiren the Wander from the association to rougelikes. For those unfamiliar with the term, a roguelike is an ultra niche style/genre of game which bears a likeness to the classic game Rogue. I will throw some links in at the bottom of the article for reference. Anyways, Shiren is clearly a roguelike, yet Atlus wanted to dissociate its game from the genre because roguelikes have a bad connotation. The same can be said for Dead Space Extraction‘s PR shenanigans where Visceral are clearly trying to distance themselves from a genre which is seen as derelict in this industry, unfortunately. Although Dead Space Extraction is a very unique rail shooter, it’s still a rail shooter.

Head Spin

People have winged in the past about how these games can be very disorientating as the camera wobbles around. I agree with the complains, it’s true, but you do get use to it and it becomes significantly less of a burden as you adjust. At the same time it makes you sympathetic towards the Japanese who tend to feel motion sickness from playing first person shooters.

Wiimote Speaker Logs

Throughout Dead Space Extraction you can pick up text, sound and video logs. The video logs disrupt the flow of the game as do the text logs. The sound logs though, come through the Wii speaker, and although they only last a few seconds, they do a tremendous job at inserting you into the atmosphere. Probably the best use for the Wiimote’s speaker yet.

Apeing Silent Hill

On completing the first level of the game, a chapter which runs deep with psychological hallucinations, I pondered just how liberally Dead Space ripped from Silent Hill. I guess it’s not really stealing considering that Silent Hill owns that entire psychological horror space, but I just feel that the level preps players up into thinking that the franchise is nothing but a pretender. Fortunately, my perceptions changed over time and Dead Space has its own justifications for all the psychological and religious undertones, all of which will most likely be brought to the forefront in Dead Space 2. Still, the first level genuinely overdoes the visual illusion thing.

Untimely Instructions

Just a little nitpick this one. Quite frequently text cues appear on screen after completing a suggested action which obviously defeats the purpose.

Multicultural Cast

Dead Space Extraction sports a surprisingly varied cast of both males and females coming from a range of different cultural backgrounds. Lexine Murdoch, the female lead, is quite clearly Irish, the protagonist (Nathan McNeill) is American, his gung-ho war buddy seems to be English as does the suspicious Warren Eckhardt. Along the way you also encounter an Indian lady who later becomes a playable character and there’s an American-born-Chinese in the prologue too.

Viewpoints of Many

To coincide with the multicultural cast, Dead Space Extraction places you in the role of several different characters which exposes some personality traits and plot lines not seen through the other members of the cast. It’s a great idea, but isn’t hugely capitalised on in a medium-specific way, since each protagonist plays the same.

Additional Readings

Active Time Babble Roguelike (Episode IX)

@play Column – GameSetWatch