Extermination Early Access Review of Starship Troopers

If you’re a die-hard Starship Troopers fan, chances are I’ve already served with you on the front lines of Valaka during the early days of the early access launch of Starship Troopers: Extermination. For those of us who know who Casper Van Dien is, the long grind, severely constrained objectives and mission types, and old-school shooting were never going to stop us from contributing, because working together as a team to blast enormous waves of bugs while building a base and then making a beeline for safety has a strong appeal. But for those who don’t, there might not be much of an incentive to stop by just yet.

The arachnid threat still looms large and poses a constant danger to the security of human’s decades after the events of Paul Veerhoven’s iconic sci-fi classic Starship Troopers. Do you want to learn more? Extermination doesn’t really have much more of a tale to tell than that, but at least it can provide an answer to the query, « What would it be like if you and 15 of your peers were thrown into the chaos? » Although the answer is at best ambiguous, the base-building features do lend an intriguing tower defense-style perspective to the game’s entertaining but otherwise simple running and gunning.

Screenshots from the early access version of Starship Troopers: Extermination

Extermination’s lack of satirical content, despite the fact that it closely resembles the 1997 film in terms of appearance, is perhaps its worst initial letdown. There are several allusions to the film, including the news reports that are broadcast in advance of each new round and the music, although these similarities are primarily superficial. One may argue that the game’s retro aesthetic, which excludes current shooters’ auto health regeneration and dash joyful mobility, and its requirement for friendly fire could be seen as parody, but that seems rather ambitious.

Without a plot, you’re basically simply going up to shoot bugs over and over again, with no attempt to spoof the « head empty » monotony inherent in this kind of team shooters in the manner that the film did for war films. This is probably OK for Starship Trooper aficionados, but for a brand known for holding genre tropes up as a mirror for scrutiny, it feels like a glaring wasted opportunity.

My crew would constantly twitch our fingers around one refinery

At the introduction of the early access program, there are two mission kinds available. The first one, called Attack and Secure (AAS), provides your team a quicker, more mobile set of goals that require you to capture and hold numerous spots spread around the battlefield. These bouts seemed to me to be lighter, faster, but also more prone to strange glitches (apart from the ones that are actively attempting to kill you). To activate and protect ore refineries, for instance, which create tanks that you must transport back to base every 30 seconds, is a typical mission. A single processor may perform this several times before needing to cool down for a short while. That’s not an issue if you have several processors running at once, but very often I would find the entire squad waiting around a refinery since it was the only one to spawn. Instead of « do you want to wait forever? » the question is, « do you want to live forever? »

The second mission type, ARC, keeps the main goal stationary while you refine materials from various locations on the globe to maintain power. You have to coordinate lot more, and you interact with the building and fighting mechanics much more frequently.

Your squad must construct a base around an asset to defend it from obscenely boring waves of insect invaders in order to complete one of the two mission types that are currently available. There are now five different kinds of bugs, but three of them may be defeated in much the same way as a melee fighter. However, because of their constant emphasis on long-range threats, the gunner and grenadier are rather uncommon and add some variety to the formula.

In addition to having the same selection of bugs, both mission types also include the majority of the same few sub-objectives, so you’ll be carrying out the same tasks basically in the same manner regardless of the mode. Due to the fact that ARC mode just helps to highlight how limited the list of things to do in Extinction at any one time is, I favoured AAS mode primarily because of this.

There was always a sense of danger and desperation in the escape runs

The mechanisms for creating bases are relatively straightforward, and building things like walls, bunkers, and gun turrets is as simple as dropping a template and producing the component using your repair tool. It’s a good thing that your defences are intuitive since there won’t be much time to stumble about while repairing or constructing them once bugs begin to pierce them. But since whatever you place may be changed or destroyed by anybody else, you will need to work with your team to plan out how to set up your base.

When the ARC completes its mission (or is destroyed before it can), the bugs stop self-respawning and begin to proliferate more quickly as they rush to an extraction location. Even if the payoff for successful extraction is only more meta advancement points than if you were killed in battle, these escape dashes always seemed adequately frantic and deadly, and the suspense is strong every time.

Extermination makes it remarkably simple to lose your life while upholding moral principles. Even teams of 16 players may find themselves outmatched by the sheer scope of the insect problem, despite the fact that your weapons are effective for killing bugs. Because healing is scarce and it might be risky to try to revive dead troops without their clutch revival drone after they fall, the Operator class is the most useful of the three that are currently accessible in Early Access.

The jetpack and deployable mobile fortifications of the other two classes, Hunter and Bulwark, respectively, are distinctive, but they lack the healer’s clear benefits. In addition, their offensive skills don’t vary from one another until you’re well down their tech trees, which hide their special weapons and passive benefits behind XP barriers. After around 15 hours of gameplay, I’m around tier 6 for the Hunter and Operator classes, which means I have an additional main and secondary weapon selection, a perk to equip, and extra gear like thermal mines in addition to basic grenades. My Bulwark is a tier 11 character that is beginning to establish himself as the class that can support itself by setting up gates that stun adversaries or deliver a particularly devastating blow with their Nuclear Det Pack. Classes have a 20-tier cap, so if you want to unlock everything, you’ll have your work cut out for you.

Extermination operates with exceptional stability, even with so many bugs and players displayed on the large area at once. The only significant problems I frequently ran into were of the huge, explodey sort. It isn’t glitch-free; I’ve gotten trapped on my fair share of territory. Though the panels in the lobby are a little more annoying, your loadouts and gameplay settings reset every time you quit and restart, meaning you’ll need to re-equip your weapons and perks as well as tweak your mouse sensitivity and sound settings at the start of each session. It’s quite bothersome.


Building fortifications allows you to coordinate as you hold out long enough for an exciting extraction in Starship Troopers: Extermination’s early access version, which does a respectable job of pitting a large group of marines against an overwhelming force of alien bugs. Nevertheless, I advise anyone who would require persuasion to give up their existing eternal game and enroll to wait and watch how early access develops over the course of the following year. Although the construction mechanics are sound and provide the co-op squad shooter genre a fresh perspective, you’ll quickly tire of the novelty and then need to repeatedly complete the same objectives to hone your new class abilities. Extermination is still in its infancy and has a ways to go before it becomes the go-to bug-stomping romp for large groups, but mobile infantry can do the dying without you now.

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