Review: Extreme Exorcism (PS4)

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Title: Extreme Exorcism
Format: PlayStation Network Download (286 MB)
Release Date: September 23, 2015
Publisher: Ripstone LTD
Developer: Golden Ruby Games
Original MSRP: $12.99
ESRB Rating: E10+
Extreme Exorcism is also available on PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, and PC.
The PlayStation 4 download version was used for this review.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Gameplay:
It’s up to you and your crew of ghost busting exorcists to clear out a haunted mansion, but the ghosts you have to battle follow your every move.

The mechanics in Extreme Exorcism are simple with each level being a single screen where one ghost is added after each round. You combat the ghosts with a large variety of weapons that randomly pop up throughout the round.

These weapons go from a simple gun or melee attack to more powerful guns like a shotgun or machine gun and more fantastical weapons like lightning bolts. To end a round you have to kill a specific ghost that wears a crown. To finish a level and move onto the next you will have to die three times while reaching a set score. The reasoning behind this will become more clear as you read on.

The set scores to advance are relatively low so moving on to the next level rarely becomes an issue and it was more about setting a higher score for each level. The fighting is fun and the action is fast, or can be, depending on your playstyle.

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What separates Extreme Exorcism from other games is how the enemy A.I. moves and acts in the world. Each ghost added to a round will mimic your exact movements from the previous round and will be equipped with that same weapon.

So in order to achieve a higher score you have to be strategic with your movements knowing exactly what you are going to do because in the next round you are basically fighting yourself. The more sporadic you move and fire your weapon the harder the next ghost will be to kill.

If you play it slow the game is a breeze and manageable, but if you don’t you can find yourself in a hellish battle against yourself. Luckily there is a way to clear up some of your screen with an exorcism weapon that, when activated, will permanently eliminate any ghosts that it touches. This becomes essential as ghosts begin to fill the screen and the levels become more complex.

… more curve balls to keep things fresh and engaging …
The house is broken down into ten areas with five sublevels. Each area is themed after a section of the house (i.e. bedroom or attic) and they get slightly more complex each level.

For example one area is the balcony where you have to battle the wind that will push you and your weapons in certain directions. The complexity builds gradually and that is appreciated as the game throws more curve balls to keep things fresh and engaging.

In addition to the arcade mode described above there are challenges which give specific restrictions or goals for a level. This is designed for the more advanced players as it can become quite difficult and require specific skills. It’s a nice feature that should draw those looking for a challenge.

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Visuals:
In terms of visuals the game looks great using an 8-bit style in just the manner it needs. There are not a lot of crazy effects happening in the background and the weapons do not get overly bombastic.

While they can look neat, the more intense weapons do not put out a ton of technical displays of wonder. This is likely because the game has to manage the many weapon equipped ghosts that will fill the stage. All in all the art direction works to keep the mechanics flowing smoothly while still being visually pleasing.

… as challenging as you make it …
Audio:
The soundtrack is pretty catchy, especially the tune that plays at the end of each level. Contrary to what you would expect, the soundtrack is not strictly the standard chiptune music associated with this style of game. Instead it sounds more like a sweet Casio keyboard. The soundtrack fits and mostly stays in the background, never overshadowing the gameplay.

Online/Multiplayer:
Co-op and Competitive play are both options with both being offline only. You can have up to four people either working together or trolling each other.

It can getting pretty intense with four players on screen along with their ghosts running around. Communication is key in order keep track of each other’s movements in hopes of not being caught off guard by a ghost.

There is also one competitive mode that is a straight up deathmatch. In this mode everyone competes against each other with each survivor at the end of the round acquiring a copy cat ghost ally. The mode is fun, but I do not feel like it is a big draw to the game and is more of a nice little distraction.

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There are online leaderboards which is always nice to keep players coming back, but my only gripe is that to my knowledge the only way to check the leaderboards is at the end of a round which I hope can be corrected.

It just made going back to check a ranking sort of cumbersome because I either had to play a level to completion or purposely tank a level to see my ranking.

Conclusion:
My time spent with Extreme Exorcism was surprisingly enjoyable. Just when I think I am done with games with a throwback style a gem like this comes out and hooks me.

The gameplay is as challenging as you make it and the gradual difficulty ramp-up made the game worth coming back to. While not perfect, it is a fun time both in solo play or with others. The unique hook of the enemy A.I. copying your every move gives the player the control of the game’s difficulty.

Go crazy to test your memory and skills or carefully plan out every move and execution, it is up to you. Extreme Exorcism stands out in the flood of indie games as it should due to its tight and addictive gameplay.

Score:
8.5

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

Written by Michael Cwick

Michael Cwick

Just a nerd from the Windy City. I’m actually really bad at describing myself because I get all self-critical and self-conscious. Follow me on Twitter, @The1stMJC, to see my borderline insane rants on tv shows and other non important subjects. If I’m not tweeting I’m probably just watching Buffy or Firefly for the millionth time.

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