Review: Dead Space extracts thrills on Wii

Infendo

“Jesus Christ, we just killed someone.”

You didn’t want to do it. You weren’t supposed to do it. But you had to do it. You didn’t have a choice, right? You saw it. He was slashing, gnawing, clawing at that…person. If you hadn’t sliced him in half, you would’ve been that horrifying smear of lifeless flesh on that cold steel floor. If you hadn’t killed him, he would’ve killed you.

I mean, he would have—wouldn’t he?

Murder has long been a staple of our medium. Whether we respond by flattening marching mushrooms or firing white-hot rounds into the temporal lobes of those who oppose us, many video games ask us to kill. Far fewer, however, are willing to explore the psychology of the deed and the whirlwind of emotional turbulence it must provoke.

Dead Space: Extraction is far from a thesis on the subject, but it often toys with that psychology through a lens of physiological and mental decay. Are you killing to stay alive, or are you just killing?

Shortly after Extraction begins, you watch in horror as they pull a person to pieces, and as their attention shifts from the iron-touched flavor of warm blood to the rhythmic thumps of your pounding heart, you can kill these deranged, wild-eyed murderers or die. The choice seems simple enough, but soon afterward, you find out it isn’t.

That’s when Extraction’s bleak, tragic narrative is at its best.

An all-new prequel to Visceral Games’ outstanding 2008 survival horror game Dead Space, Extraction’s dire tale begins on Aegis VII, where a mysterious stone formation is discovered. Religious fanatics call it a “marker,” worshipping it as a conduit for the afterlife, and as ideological tensions smolder prior to its controversial excavation, the colonists begin to clash. The violence strikes a horrifying crescendo with the sound of synchronized pistols—a mass religious suicide.

Things begin to go horribly wrong on Aegis VII.