I had a stupid amount of fun playing Extraction. I'm talking late 90's LAN party "shouting at my teammates over voice chat while the other team trash talks us from across the room" style fun. I guess I shouldn't be surprised: Splash Damage, the developers of Extraction, previously made one of my favorite multiplayer shooters of all time, Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory. Extraction is a class-based online multiplayer shooter for the PC. I played an abandoned railway station map with four teammates and a "coach" from Splash Damage who was giving tactical advice. The game mode we played was reminiscent of Unreal Tournament's "assault" game type: the attacking team has to hack a computer in the map's first area before they can plant explosives on a train car, winning the match if it detonates. The defending team, of course, has to try their best to stop all this from happening.
While the mode we played required close teamwork, it is clear that Splash Damage isn't trying to go for an ultra-realistic approach. Airstrikes were constantly carpeting the battlefield, with medics peppering the battlefield with health kits and reviving the same person half a dozen times with their defibrillator, all the while avoiding mines planted by the engineer. Put another way, there's enough over-the-top antics going on to bring about some hilarious trash talk, but not so much to be unfair.
Splash Damage is carefully designing each class so that not every player needs to be adept at scoring headshots to help their team. Each class can hack computers or plant explosives at the same rate, and it behooves some of them to stay back and help rather than sprint to the front lines.
Even in its pre-alpha state, Extraction delivered thrills as high quality as any other team shooter released in past years. The free to play model may give you pause, but Splash Damage creative director Alastair Cornish assures that it's not "pay to win," three words that every developer at PAX was running away from at top speed. Truthfully, Splash Damage hasn't determined how it will monetize Extraction, which is due out on the PC next year, but my roommates and I are already awaiting the frenzied teamfights we will have upon release.