Artificial Extinction – Review
Follow Genre: FPS, Tower Defense
Developer: 100Hr Games
Publisher: 100Hr Games
Platform: PC (Steam)
Tested on: PC (Steam)

Artificial Extinction – Review

Site Score
3.0
Good: Entertaining, Functional
Bad: Boring gameplay loop, Bad landscape textures
User Score
2.0
(2 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 2.0/10 (2 votes cast)

There are many games that combine genres, but not that many that have done so with FPS and Tower Defense, only Sanctum coming to mind. This is exactly what the game today reviewed, Artificial Extinction, tries, and fails, to do. There are several reasons for this, but mainly it favors one of the sides without actually making it good enough to compensate.

Story

The story in Artificial Extinction is simple; a powerful AI developed by humans has declared war back on Earth. You have been on a spaceship looking for a new planet to live on with your family, who will arrive in nine days. In this time you must find a suitable place with the necessary resources to survive; all whilst battling the AI-operated tanks and drones whenever your ship has to refuel.

This story is not bad; it could work if it had given itself more time, instead of being as rushed as it currently is. There are several plot points which make no sense either, for example, it is stated the player has been travelling for five years, but as soon as a suitable planet is found its family is ready to arrive nine days later, even before a spot to live in has been found and the AI enemies have been cleared.

The narration doesn’t do the story any favors; the main narrator is the assistant drone, for whose voice, blatant text-to-speech has been employed. It doesn’t help either that later on, around the fourth chapter, it starts pushing its agenda on how humanity has been selfish, done bad things, etc. This could work if it were well written, but it isn’t, thus coming down as a downright preachy.

It is also worth noting that during battles, whenever a new enemy or turret is discovered, a cutscene seizes control, playing out all the while the battle progresses. This feels absolutely horrible, even more due to the absurd duration of said cutscenes and the expositional dump they usually bring with them, lasting up to a whole minute in some cases while the battle rages on.

Graphics

The graphics in Artificial Extinction are generally of quite a good quality, the exceptions to this would be the main character’s model (or rather of its arm since that’s the only part visible in-game) and the landscapes.

The landscapes in this game are absolutely heinous, being mostly composed of a single low-quality texture extended over huge stretches of land. Some levels show a few details here and there, such as the volcanic area, which includes some lava rivers, but this is a rare exception.

Another failure in the graphical aspect of the game is part of what was mentioned in the previous paragraph, the reutilization of assets. Later on in the game, two new enemies of the same type appear, the problem being that they both are just re-colors of the basic missile tank.

Sound

The sounds featured in the game are fine, the soundtrack is quite decent though completely forgettable, being just a case of “Sci-fi soundtrack 101”. The SFX are good as well, they all sound clean and have good volume.

As previously mentioned, the narration is just a text-to-speech, making it pretty bad. A lot of times, the robot will just spit out full sentences without stopping for a second, almost stepping on previous lines. That last part does actually happen in several of the cutscenes, where it will keep talking over the battle-related voiceovers.

There are also some problems with the volumes, where in some cases, the music completely steps over the narration, making it really difficult to hear. While this can be solved by manually reducing the music’s volume, there should be no need of actually doing so to start with.

Gameplay

The gameplay in Artificial Extinction is not particularly good, but at the very least it’s entertaining. As mentioned in the intro, the game tries to be a hybrid of Tower Defense and FPS, but the lack of compromise despite favoring tower defense makes both parts end up being weak.

The FPS part of the gameplay is completely horrid; the rifle weapon is almost useless. This is due to several reasons but mainly due to its aim being quite bad even with the long-range mode. If a long-distance shot is attempted, it is pretty much guaranteed to miss a few shots, due to them being way off from the position of the crosshair.

Later into the game, in chapter 4, the missile launcher is unlocked. This weapon makes the rifle completely obsolete except in very specific situations, seeing as the rifle deals little to no damage, while the launcher is able to one-shot every single enemy, with the exception of the large tank. It also has auto-aim, thus making it impossible to miss a shot once the target setting timer has finished.

Another problem with this lack of compromise is that it forces a 100% tower defense gameplay. In that type of game, there usually wouldn’t be a player character to worry about and keep alive, but in this game there is one, while there still isn’t a way to take cover or reliably heal the damage sustained. A heal ability is actually unlocked in the later part of the game, but can only be used once per map and doesn’t do much.

There is also another oversight in the game; since enemies focus turrets instead of the player character, said player character is not the main objective, but can still be affected by stray shots from both enemies and its own turrets, making it almost impossible to evade attacks, not expecting being shot at. This makes dying feel completely awful, since there is nothing that can actively be done besides attempting to hide behind the turrets or running around.

Conclusion

Artificial Extinction is an alright game; it’s completely functional and playable, but its core gameplay loop is not sufficiently entertaining or well done. This feeling is amped by making the player character a non-entity, being irrelevant save for the missile shooting and turret replacing. Overall it’s playable, but not particularly good.

Personal opinion

“When I started playing this game, I had a friend looking at me, it was fun, the same kind of fun you have while watching a B-series movie, you end up laughing at how dumb it is, its flaws and mistakes. Once I played alone though, the only thing I felt about Artificial Extinction is that it has some charm, it’s mind-numbing enough that it allowed me to distract myself while playing, but definitely not good enough to make me play again.

Added to this, on the few occasions I died to a stray shot or bomb, I completely dreaded having to play through the previous parts of the game, seeing how little actual gameplay it has for you, the player. It is more interested in showing how good its models are and preaching its agenda than making you actually have fun through the gameplay, making the core loop straight-up boring. It feels like little more than a tech demo.”

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 2.0/10 (2 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
Artificial Extinction - Review, 2.0 out of 10 based on 2 ratings

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