My eyes lit up with hype when I saw the first trailer for Second Extinction. This cross between Turok and Left 4 Dead was full of promise and made me wonder why the concept hadn’t been explored instead. The two franchises haven’t been giving much news for some time, but this game would bring their combined gameplay up to date. It has been available in Early Access on PC since October and has recently been included in the Xbox Preview Program, giving console gamers a taste of it.
Normally, this is the paragraph in which I quickly tackle the story of the game, but Second Extinction doesn’t really have one. After a short cutscene, you are thrown straight into the heart of the action with little explanation of the origins of the mutant dinosaurs you must escape. A little more context is offered via radio dialogues during objectives but don’t expect a narrative masterpiece. The game doesn’t even offer a campaign, it’s all about cooperation.
Second Extinction contains two key modes: Missions and Expeditions. The missions allow, quite logically, to choose from a selection of objectives to help stop the invasion of dinosaurs such as exploring a mine or going in search of a missing squad. Expeditions are, for their part, quieter and give the opportunity to fully explore the map, complete side quests or collect materials.
Currently, the game offers five different classes, each with their own unique weapons and skills. There is for example Rosy, a woman equipped with a minigun with skills focused support. Ortega is a fast fighter whose weapon of choice is a classic assault rifle. The classes cleverly compliment each other and you have to think carefully about how to play depending on which characters you play.
The gunplay is very good and you can improve your arsenal in a lot of different ways. There are a total of six weapons with three skill trees that can be upgraded: Impact, Stability, and Maneuverability. In order to spend these skill points, you will need materials from the different types of dinosaurs in the game. This creates a gameplay loop quite similar to that of the Monster Hunter games in which you need the most powerful beasts to get the best materials. more interesting.
We must also pay tribute to the design of these monsters. From huge T-Rex or Raptors spitting acid, the threats are many and varied and will need to be tackled intelligently. Beasts have specific weak points. For example, the Ankylosaurus, an armored dinosaur, cannot be defeated without a well-placed grenade knocking it onto its back. On the other hand, if their design is brilliant, I must say that they reappear way too quickly. My ally had, during a session, to respond to a text message, and that was enough that we were completely overwhelmed.
At the moment, there is only one map to explore. The snowy environment it offers is interesting but I would like more environmental variety. Exploration is also tedious as it includes long hikes between each objective due to the absence of vehicles. Coupled with random clashes, these walking passages are not very interesting and ultimately constitute the major part of the game time on a mission.
One fact that disappointed me is the near impossibility of playing solo, which makes us wonder, why the hell offer the option? Alone, you will inevitably be overwhelmed by hordes of dinosaurs and you do not even have the opportunity to be revived by an ally. I understand that Second Extinction was designed for Co-op, but maybe the difficulty should have been lowered for solo players, like the Monster Hunter.
The potential is definitely there. Second Extinction has what it takes to become an unstoppable beast, but there are several things the Systemic Reaction studio is going to have to work on before that. The game only offers one area to explore and the gameplay is pulled down by long phases of marches and almost uninterrupted waves of enemies. More positively, the gunplay is very solid and the upgrades offer a lot of opportunities, not to mention the very clever design of each dinosaur.