Historically, splicing dino-DNA with different species has gone very well for everyone involved, but in this case, merging it with the unrestrained intensity of Left 4 Dead’s co-op and placing it on a vast map. open world style worked well. far. Second Extinction, from the makers of Generation Zero System Reaction, is a simple concept I may have scribbled down on my college homework, but it relies on the speed and sophistication of its action and the variety of its mutant enemies for stand out. For a co-op-focused shooter that just hit Early Access with several months of track planned before full launch, that’s a good start. The premise here is for the mutated dinosaurs to take over the planet and it’s sort of up to you and two friends to slaughter them and “get the Earth back” before it’s too late. It is more or less that; there isn’t a lot of overall plot here in the sense of an open exhibition. Instead, the evolution of the world is history, conveyed through a more organic, emerging format with its singular large connected world map. Second Extinction – 13 screenshots When you choose a mission, you also choose a drop point that determines your starting point – although for now that always means “frozen tundra”. Once there you are free to explore and do whatever you want – including optional secondary objectives or even going to neighboring areas in search of higher value targets or pursuing an optional mission from a distance. . It’s usually up to you to decide whether you want to seek better rewards in more dangerous areas or play it safe and progress more slowly. Usually, Left 4 Dead co-op shooters have smaller maps and narrow lanes, so the freedom here is refreshing. Dinos make their presence felt in more unique ways, like tunneling out of the ground behind you into a cave or chasing you in a pack towards a dead end. Being surrounded is terrifying and overwhelming, and the dynamic spawning makes every run extremely unpredictable. There are hot spots in each area that usually have certain types of enemies, but it’s hard to feel safe no matter which direction you decide to go, so you can stay on your toes. . Usually shooters like this have smaller cards and narrow lanes, so the freedom is refreshing. On top of that, dinosaurs react to the movements and areas of interest of all players around the world. So, if the community collectively attacks some areas more than others to mine specific upgrade resources or to obtain difficult contracts, the threat levels will change during the weekly reset and larger scale emergence events may. start to appear in some areas. The magic of this system is that it creates a satisfying dynamic that helps ensure that missions are never the same. Sharp Teeth So far in my quest to reclaim Earth, I have killed a lot of dinosaurs. Like many dinosaurs. Second Extinction takes its name very seriously, because after a day or two your individual kills seem large enough that you were able to wipe out an entire species on your own. That’s a very good thing, though, as slaughtering dozens of grotesque, genetically engineered beasts here is extremely rewarding, at least in the first 15 hours I’ve spent with it. Weapons are fun across the board, even though they come at the standard price and don’t have an impact at first. Once you start leveling them up and unlocking key guns like the SMG as a secondary weapon, it all starts to click. I fell in love with the Grenade Launcher, personally, and after a few upgrade currency saving missions, I was able to unlock the ability to detonate it on impact with an enemy, instead of waiting that the fuse blows. It really changed the game. Unlike Zombie Packs, which are generally all roughly the same size and shape with a few rare specials thrown in, there is a surprising amount of enemy variations consistent with Dinosaurs. You’ve got the nimble little raptors rushing around and chasing you at breakneck speed, and even the Spitters that can hit you with acid from a distance. Large tanker dinos show up to absorb bullets in some fights, and then the bigger ones, like the ferocious T-Rex, even pop up in the most dangerous areas. Having this constant variety of enemies makes an already tense battlefield completely chaotic when you find yourself slipping under a Rex or throwing incendiary grenades at groups of small raptors. Rotating and circling the big creatures sometimes feels like a dance, as you can dash back and side to side for increased mobility. Speaking of which, fighting the T-Rex is an extremely satisfying fight. Each of the dinos have bright weak spots, and Rex’s glow is right under his chin at throat level. It’s hard to hit with my trusty grenade launcher which is so effective against enemies lower on the ground thanks to its blast radius, so I would generally switch to an automatic weapon for damage taken or get close with a rifle of chase before I rushed out of the way. Lots of kitesurfing while reducing your health from a distance is crucial. Playing alone is technically possible, but it’s not as fun and has some serious difficulty spikes when the big groups of dinos arrive. In co-op, taking a balanced load between the three of you is key, and as with all games of this type, it’s much better with a group of friends than with randomly matched strangers. For example, making sure someone has reloadable ammo drop kits or grenade drop kits keeps you level and big AoE attacks like incendiary grenades or airstrikes can really thin out the herd out. rigor. Each mission ends with a decisive battle in which you must secure and defend the landing zone for an escort ship. In the most hostile areas, it’s easy to get overwhelmed quickly here, but scratching it and surviving the skin of your teeth is just as good as it was in the heyday of Left 4 Dead. Playing alone is technically possible, but not as fun. “When you combine that with the instability of the world and the way things can change drastically on the map, there’s enough variety of enemies and gear to keep things interesting for 15 hours. had to see all the missions and feel like I have my fill of what’s available right now, even though there are still a lot of upgrade options that I haven’t explored yet. But I I would be lying if I said that after spending so much time with this shooting frenzy, I never started to tire a bit of the arctic tundra that dominates the map. Snow and ice contrast sharply with the oranges of fire attacks and the redness of bloody blood, but they lack variety. I’d love a more jungle area or even something on the edge of a volcano to shake things up, and there’s a ton of room to get a little crazier with things. Despite setting a note, the goals and the missions are more diverse than what you usually see in a cooperative shooter. One mission may have you triggering missiles and searching for waypoints while battling hordes of dinosaurs, while others may send you to escort payloads through a mine. And while you complete your main mission, tons of optional secondary objectives always appear, like taking down reconnaissance drones or destroying breeding caves full of eggs. You can complete them to get additional Resource Tokens, which are used to upgrade weapons with items like improved stats or even new features like the aforementioned grenades that explode on contact. Upgrade points are frequent enough to make it seem like you’re making progress, but they’re just rare enough that it’s actually appealing to consider doing extra missions when you’re at work. On top of that, you eventually unlock additional contracts that you can accept during missions. These have very specific challenges, like getting a certain number of headshots with a particular weapon. It’s good to have more goals to check off, but it usually doesn’t make sense. Before a match, you’ll choose a character, each equipped with a primary pistol, secondary pistol, and their own perks and signature abilities. There’s Ortega, who can equip two primary weapons and forgo the secondary weapon, meaning she can bring both a shotgun and an assault rifle into combat if you want to. It can also launch at increased speeds, which is great for preventing damage. Rosy, on the other hand, can lay static pylons that create electrical barriers between them that are used to stun the dinos. There are currently two other Hunters to choose from, and aside from the gameplay differences, all four have unique personalities and voices – they’re not too memorable or anything, but it’s always better than choosing. generic classes or simply choose abilities. What’s missing right now are mostly the long-term hooks – that layer of progression that Left 4 Dead never had but that has been added to almost every game of the genre that it spawned over the years. of the following decade. I would have liked more things to unlock beyond weapon upgrades and new weapons. Things like character and gun skins would keep me coming back, and something like a Battle Pass would come in handy as a reward for sticking with this game instead of the millions of other options available.