Starship Troopers: Extermination Preview
I know lots of folks who don’t like anchovies on their pizza or ketchup on their hot dogs. What I don’t know are any pop culture fans who don’t love 1997’s Starship Troopers. The campy, tongue-in-cheek action film about a squad of young recruits fighting Arachnids on a distant planet launched careers and spawned memes. The film has also hatched several video games, most recently Starship Troopers: Extermination. Extermination is a first-person cooperative shooter and it might just be the ideal way to pay homage to the film.
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Recently released into Early Access, Extermination is all about hunting Bugs across a sprawling map. Along the way, there are a series of randomized objectives. At the end, the squad hunkers down in a defensive structure to survive waves of bugs until extraction. It’s a pretty simple concept, and right now, the developers have just started fleshing out the game.
Squads consist of up to 16 players, which almost guarantees a chaotic good time if the roster is full. There are three classes: your basic assault class, a heavy class, and a support/healing class. Each has at least one special trick, like the heavy’s portable cover shield. Like any multiplayer shooter, having a good mix of classes is key to success, but there are no restricting choices.
Bugs come in lots of varieties, from small and agile arachnids to hulking Boss Bugs, and none of them go down easily. One of Extermination’s key strategies is disabling the Bugs by shooting off appendages or aiming for a nerve center. They most often come in large groups and mixes of different species. This would probably be a whole different game, but unfortunately, you can’t play as an Arachnid.
Mission sub-objectives keep the troops moving across the map, and a well-coordinated squad can build structures and employ other offensive and defensive mechanics aside from just shooting. Like most online shooters, leveling up means access to better weapons and cooler toys.
Play the Movie
Starship Troopers: Extermination does a great job of surrounding the game’s central combat with the trappings of the film. The rocky desert environment suggests the first, epic and gory battle from the movie when the novice troopers encountered the Bugs in the flesh. The musical score, titles, and mission voiceovers look and sound like they were lifted from Verhoeven’s sci-fi original.
Right now, Starship Troopers: Extermination shows a lot of promise and it’s an engaging experience, at least for a while. The currently narrow range of maps, classes, and game modes will be expanded during early access. The chaotic nature of the battles and relatively similar experiences from match to match limit long-term commitment, but it’s certainly fun to drop in, play a few matches, and live out the fantasy of big-screen Bug hunting for a while.