What if the dinosaurs survived? In the co-op first person shooter Second Extinction from Systemic Reaction, made famous by Generation Zero, we can go on a dinosaur hunt with up to two other comrades-in-arms. Because the dinosaurs in the game did not die from a meteor strike, but hid underground and napped for a few million years. Since mankind has not managed to stop climate change, the late risers have woken up and returned to the surface of the earth. And sadly, they weren't so pleased to be kept from their, well, beauty sleep.
Mankind therefore had to give up its home planet and is now on a space station in space. As part of the Emergency Response Agency (ERA for short), we are sent back to earth from the vast expanses of space. In our missions we should look for resources, information and of course weapons on the planet overrun by dinosaurs. Since the Jurassic Park – Inhabitants are not so enthusiastic about the arrival of humans, we have to use concentrated firepower to fight the dinosaurs. The underlying story, however, remains in the background, superficially it's only about one thing: shooting.
Clear character selection
Source: PC Games
In the game we can choose between four characters, since ours preview So nothing happened in this area at the beginning of September. The team members bring different benefits. The German elite soldier Jürgen Winter is equipped with a sniper rifle and can kill dinosaurs from a distance. In addition, it is harder to spot. The mechanic Rosy prefers to use a massive minigun. She can give her fellow players a defense boost and build an electrical barrier that causes damage to the dinosaurs. Ex-police officer Amir can start a scanner with which the opponents in the immediate vicinity are briefly visible on the map. Ortega is also a former police officer and can dodge attacks better than her colleagues. One notices immediately that the different members result in different playing styles. In addition, every player has the opportunity to adapt their equipment: While grenades and health stims are limited, we can choose an unlimited usable special ability, albeit one with a cooldown time. This includes, for example, an air strike, with which we keep the dinosaur hordes on their toes, or the possibility of requesting ammunition packs from space.
While we unfortunately cannot level up our characters' abilities, we can make some improvements to our weapons. This allows us to reduce recoil, for example. To do this, we need research points and some dinosaur materials that we can collect on our forays into the earth.
Source: PC Games
Team members can be assigned multiple times in co-op, but this is not recommended thanks to the different equipment and special skills. If we go out with foreign players, unfortunately we cannot negotiate via voice or voice chat who will take which character and which special skills. In general, communication in the game has so far only been possible with markings, so that the other players can find out where we want to run to or where opponents are.
At the speed of sound to earth
But let's get back to the missions. Second Extinction currently offers six missions. This includes going in search of a missing expedition group, bombing underground breeding nests and searching military hangars: So what you do after a dinosaur invasion. We do the repeatable, multi-level tasks on a single card, which is large enough. After we have selected one of the defined exfiltration points for landing on the map, we are shot from space onto the earth.
The map, which we can freely explore after arriving on earth, is divided into seven regions. Each has a different level of threat, but it can change: Regions become more dangerous if we fail on our missions or if we simply don't pay any attention to certain regions. Conversely, this means that areas become less threatening if we do tasks there and also do dinosaurs.
Source: PC Games
Because our missions would be extremely boring without resistance, we are of course attacked by dinosaurs. In addition to raptors, electrically charged and acid-spitting dinosaurs, we can also look forward to the well-known Tyrannosaurus Rex. Not all dinosaurs are killed with a few shots: While raptors are easy to kill and only become dangerous in large numbers, defeating the ankylosaur, for example, is much more difficult because you cannot shoot through the armor. So we have to find the weak point and shoot with targeted gun violence. Furthermore, dinosaurs can mutate and become even more dangerous. It is generally noticeable that we rarely get a minute to breathe, as new dinosaurs are constantly spawning near us. Sometimes this happens very ugly right in front of our eyes.
A mission takes about 30 to 40 minutes, and we can also do some optional side missions, which can also take significantly longer. At the end of every mission, the event is always exfiltration. We wait for our evacuation and have to fight off a lot of dinosaurs for a while. Depending on how well we did on our mission, we will receive a rating of up to five stars upon completion. We also get reward boxes (bronze, silver and gold). In the Early Access version, however, the inventory is not yet available, so we cannot look at the contents of the boxes.
Players win battles, communities win wars
Source: PC Games
The game can be played alone, but it is not recommended as it does not make it any easier. Playing alone often ends fatally. Should we die, we can respawn at one of the exfiltration points after a certain period of time. As a result, after our rebirth we usually have to do a little hike to get back to where we died. As a single player we have a total of four lives available, in multiplayer we can die endlessly.
Another interesting approach is what is known as the "war effort" feature. As already mentioned, the regions have different levels of threat. In order to lower this, the entire community needs to complete more missions in this area. If the players remain inactive and the situation on the map escalates, they can expect an outbreak event that is said to be particularly difficult. However, this never happened during our test.
Monotony already preprogrammed?
As we did in ours preview As noted in early September, Second Extinction could become a monotonous dinosaur shootout. Unfortunately, this fear will not be resolved in Early Access. Because there is only a limited selection of dinosaurs, missions and characters. Until the release, the developers should add a lot more in order not to turn the game into a boring shooter.
Source: PC Games
So what remains to be recorded? Amazingly, while Second Extinction is an early access game, it feels relatively finished. The developers only have to do it again in a few places. For example, during our shootings it occasionally happened that the Urechsen did not attack us when we were near them. Server problems are also still the order of the day. Here and there there are a few display errors that will hopefully be corrected before publication. But if you already want to kill a few dinosaurs with other comrades-in-arms, you can get the early access version at Steam download. According to the developers, all progress made in Early Access will be incorporated into the finished game. More detailed information on the release date is not yet available. Second Extinction should also appear for the Xbox One and Xbox Series X in addition to the PC.
I'm a bit divided …
Second Extinction is already offering a few hours of fun in Early Access. Nevertheless, the question inevitably arises: What is next? The available missions are played through relatively quickly and all characters have been tested … There is a little fear that the pure dinosaur shooter will be monotonous even at the release. Thanks to the lack of in-game (voice) chat, it is difficult to communicate with unfamiliar players. If you happen to have no friends who also want to test the game, Early Access is less recommendable, as a tactical approach is the be-all and end-all. In general, however, if you have nothing against pure virtual shooting around and are not looking for a great story, you will probably already have fun with the co-op shooter.
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