Reviewed on Sony PlayStation 4Also available on PC, Sony PlayStation 4 and Microsoft Xbox One
David and Goliath is a classic tale of a really small person beating the ever living hell out of a far larger one. You can find stories that relate to this idea across all forms of media, with films you have Godzilla, anime has Attack on Titan and now gaming has Exctinction, a game entirely about climbing up giant ogre like enemies and chopping their heads off in order to jump to the next one and repeat the process.
Set in a world where humanity is on its last legs, you play as Avil, the last of the legendary sentinels, as he takes the fight to the Ravenii in order to try and save the last of the humans that haven't been slaughtered by this ruthless enemy. Thankfully you aren't completely alone and your companion Xandra is there to support you all the way as well as to try and find some way of ending this war. The issue is that there are always more Ravenii but there are definitely a finite amount of humans, and much worse, only one person who can fight them. No pressure.
Along with the giant enemies are some much more manageable normal sized ones for you to test your combos out on. In fact the combo system is essential to killing some of the later enemies, with a combination of juggling and stunning being essential to felling the end game baddies. These little ones can feel like little more than a distraction most of the time, only really becoming relevant when a side quest dictates you have to slaughter a set number of them or if they are stopping you saving people.
The giant enemies are the showcase here of course, with the ability to cut off limbs to stop them running around or attacking you being a great feature. In order to do so, most of the time you will have to cut through some armour first, there are multiple types to deal with and getting through each one is a little different. The basic armour just takes a single strike, while the later game thorn armour involves you baiting the monster into breaking it with its own attacks. The variety is essential because this is pretty much all the game has going on.
As you progress you come across different variants of the large enemies too, some are more aggressive than others or come with random armour sets. Honestly though it hardly matters most of the time as ultimately the only thing you need to do is build up enough energy to cut the head off the titanic enemy in order to stop it trashing everything. You can build this energy up in a few different ways, rescuing citizens, culling the smaller enemies and cutting off the regrowing limbs of the largest Ravenii. Thankfully the limbs regrow, which while you may think would be annoying usually means you can take down one without access to more ways of charging your kill strike as you can just keep cutting a leg off to stop it moving. Of course getting hit by one of these beasts will most likely kill you outright so chopping an arm off too is the most efficient way to stay alive and keep charging.
This isn't the only thing you have to do in the games thirty four missions. Sometimes you have to kill a certain number of the smaller enemies, sometimes you have to save a certain amount of people and sometimes you have to defend the watchtowers. While the variety is nice the way you accomplish all of these tasks is the same, you will always be killing the small enemies to be able to kill the large ones and saving people usually just means clearing the area first. There isn't any true variety in the gameplay here mission to mission which is a real shame because when Extinction shines it shines brilliantly.
In fact the games movement is genuine delight and makes the small platforming sections of the game into incredibly enjoyable free running experiences. Your basic run speed is exceptionally fast and the ability to literally run up walls gives you a lot of freedom, the cherry on top is the ability to glide in the air and when it is all together it is a very freeing experience. When you add in the whip, which allows you to pull yourself to certain points, and the ability to bounce off of trees and canopies it becomes perhaps the best part of the game.
There are lots of very enjoyable aspects to the game, which makes it all the more upsetting that it is let down by the repetitive nature of each mission and the broken flow that comes when you aren't fully charged for those kill strikes. Not being able to do them all the time is fine but eventually you will find yourself just stalling for time in some missions by repeatedly amputating the legs of the Ravenii instead of killing them. There are some daily challenges and a few other modes added in as well but ultimately upon finishing the story you will probably have had enough of the games mechanics to fulfil your monster scaling, head chopping dreams.