Those pesky zombies – even when they’re not described as such, have become the de facto earthbound opponent in many video games, and that’s the case in Extraction: Project Outbreak for Windows Phone in which a bunch of “bio-engineered weapons” (um, zombies to you and I) have gone rogue and escaped.
The result is that you take charge of a military contractor who drops in to exterminate the
zombies bio-engineered weapons, completing maps in a sort of action/strategy game combo, and calling for aerial extraction once you’re done.
Opening with a request for a thumb print, the game sadly takes its time getting you into the action thanks to some slow loading and heavy handed storytelling, but once you’re in…
Playing Extraction: Project Outbreak
Throwing your man into an urban landscape, the game requires just a couple of taps to get moving. Tap the map to change your character’s position, and draw a ring around your target to prompt your character to start shooting. This combination of gestures means that you can move while shooting, enabling you to plan your next move as the targets are struck down. Weapons can be changed, and reloaded by tapping the appropriate weapon icon. Note that if ammo is low, a skill shot can be attempted, a single strike that will – if successful – take the enemy down.
Stats across the top of the screen inform you of your progress, measuring skill, health, and the number of zombies that remain. Although small, these can be quickly checked as you play.
Gameplay can be disorientating at times as navigation across the map is tricky, even with the compass/map screen to check. Ammo and health pickups are available, but these should be used only when required.
To complete a mission in Extraction: Project Outbreak, you need to meet the objectives. To help, different weapons can be selected, but early in the game you will only have access to a choice of one primary and one secondary weapon.
There are four basic mission types:
- Extermination – kill a set number of zombies and then return to the extraction point
- Escort – guide a pair of soldiers to the exit point, with the mission considered a fail if one of them doesn’t make it to the end.
- Rescue – these timed missions require you to extract missing scientists without being killed.
- Reinforcement – later in the game, these missions occur more regularly, and involve assisting a group of soldiers to defend against several waves of enemy attacks.
In addition, there will be some secondary objectives, such as collecting intelligence, represented by a dropped item from a felled enemy.
As an Xbox Live title, Extraction: Project Outbreak has a number of achievements that can be unlocked, contributing to your Gamerscore.
A successful mission will result in a congratulatory screen (as seen above) in which your performance will be summarised and credits and XP awarded. Between missions you will be returned to your player stat screen, where you can check which achievements have been earned and level your character – as long as sufficient XP has been earned.
If you’re in a particular hurry, however, you can level up in the game.
Meanwhile weapons can also be upgraded, adding improved ammo or range, for instance. If you’re short of in-game credits for weapons or skill upgrades you can purchase additional ones in-game, using your Xbox Gold as currency.
Graphics & Sound
Graphically, Extraction: Project Outbreak has a lot to do, combining large graphics of dropships with the urban landscape and the player characters and enemies. Even on the large display of a Lumia 920 Windows Phone 8 device, these can prove difficult to see at times, while the drops can easily be confused with non-bonus landscape items. Graphics, really, are little more than functional.
On the audio side, however, considerable atmosphere is achieved with dramatic music and excellent sound effects. Gun shots, bio-engineered weapons, explosions and more are featured, and work well with the graphics.
Conclusion and Link
Graphical disappointments and occasional bugs aside (I’ve only experienced one crash-to-Start screen, although many of the bugs that occurred when the game was initially released seem to have been resolved), Extraction: Project Outbreak succeeds in being a fun action/strategy title with a lot to offer in terms of mission variation and gameplay depth.