E3 2015 Hands-on Impressions: Extreme Exorcism

Extreme Exorcism is ridiculous! It truly lives up to its name, being an arcade-style romp that’s all about shooting up ghosts… With a twist! For every round you play, a ghost follows your exact movements and attacks, in what seems like a clever riff on ghost data from games like Mario Kart. It’s a very interesting idea!

EE - Gameplay 1It’s just too bad that Extreme Exorcism feels a bit scant so far, at least given the limited real estate of its E3 demo. I imagine that with a group of friends, Extreme Exorcism will be quite a lot of fun, and the trailer seemed to indicate the final game having a lot more content to enjoy. By oneself though, the E3 demo of Extreme Exorcism sort of ran out of appeal pretty quickly, even if I think that’s simply because it barely gave you any of the game’s many weapons and locations to mess around with.

Extreme Exorcism comes to us from New York-based Golden Ruby Games, and I got a chance to go hands-on with the Wii U version of the game, with ports also planned for PC, PS4, PS3 and Xbox One. The game seems to be shaping up pretty well on Wii U, having very fast, snappy performance, and boasting solid pixel art that appears to stand neck-and-neck with the visuals on the higher-powered PS4, Xbox One and PC versions, if those versions’ trailers are any indication. While the demo did allow me to sample multiple control options as well, it unfortunately didn’t support off-TV play, with the Wii U Gamepad screen simply displaying the game logo. Off-TV play will probably be added for the final version though, so I’m not bothered by that.

Anyway, I started with the default Wii U Gamepad controls, and selected the game’s protagonist, ‘Extreme Exorcist’, Mae Barrons as my player character. I did sample the three other characters on offer as I moved between control schemes, though they all seem to handle the exact same way. Regardless of your character, you can move, double-jump, and fire a weapon. An intro area got me used to the controls, which are perfectly fine on the Wii U Gamepad, though I found the game to be at its most smooth and reliable when using a Wii U Pro Controller. A sideways Wii Remote is also not a bad way to play, given the 8-bit-lite presentation, which makes Extreme Exorcism feel like an especially zany NES romp. The Wii Classic Controller is alright too, though I find it just a tad less comfortable than playing with the Wii U Pro Controller was. You can also play with a Wii Remote/Nunchuk combo, but this is unreliable and slippery in contrast to the other control methods, so I wouldn’t recommend it.EE - Gameplay 2

Beyond the lone tutorial area, the demo only featured one battleground, that being the Conservatory. It was a simple location, with two square arrangements of blocks that players could hide in, and also procure weapons from. The demo offered the likes of shotguns, assault rifles, throwing knives and rocket launchers, along with a pretty cool sword, though most of the weapons from the final game didn’t seem to be present. That’s fine, since this allowed me to get the basic idea of how Extreme Exorcism is played.

Among the pluses, I really enjoyed the clever way that the game’s challenge ramps up as you play. With every passing round, a new ghost appears that copies your movements from the previous round. If you move and shoot haphazardly, it will come back to haunt you in later rounds, as the playing field becomes all the more crowded. Literally every step counts, and literally every shot counts. Throwing in three more players would only increase the chaos, albeit in a good way, I imagine.

You don’t have to take out every ghost to complete a round thankfully, as your main target is whichever ghost is wearing a crown. Once you manage to take out that ghost, you’ll proceed to the next round, and your movement and shots from the previous round will create another ghost to add to the mix. It gets pretty crazy, and requires a surprising amount of strategy!

EE - Gameplay 3Another thing I very much loved about the game was its soundtrack, which felt like it would have come right out of an 8-bit arcade-style rendition of Ghostbusters, with a slight aftertaste of Zombies Ate My Neighbors!. It consists of very cheeky, cartoon-ish music and sound effects, and it made the experience feel more charming than the unassuming faux-retro art style would have done by itself. It was pretty well-done, and I enjoyed humming along with the demo’s music as I played.

On the negative end though, I felt like I wasn’t getting the full experience of Extreme Exorcism in playing solo. The game is perfectly playable solo, though it seems like it would add more to the fun factor if you brought a group of friends. That was really the only major gripe I had with the demo, beyond the fact that it inevitably had only a small helping of weapons and areas, but it was unfortunate that I could only play around with Extreme Exorcism by myself.

Still, Extreme Exorcism can be addictive, and for fans of this arcade-style gaming, it has a lot of potential. The demo didn’t seem to present that potential, at least not in full, but it left me intrigued, and anticipating a greater arsenal and playground in the final release. I think I had enough fun with Extreme Exorcism to pick it up when it hits digital storefronts soon.

Next time though, I’m bringing my buddies for an exorcism this extreme!