Hello again!

My name is Ash, and today I want to share my experience with you about a newly created game that combines the concepts of third-person action game, RPG and even (God forgive me) metroidvania. To be honest, I did not expect much from it because ambitious and good-looking game footages shown before release often turn to really bland and tasteless game after their release. Thankfully, it’s not the case here. Don’t get me wrong, it has its drawbacks, especially form strictly technical perspective; however, gameplay-wise I found it really fun and enjoyable.

Before I give you my 5 major reasons why you should play it, I’d better mention one major reason why you shouldn’t play it. OPTIMIZATION. It’s bad, for real. I heard rumors of consoles (both XBOX and PS4) giving players 15-20 fps making a game a complete unplayable slideshow. As for me, playing on a quite decent PC (R5-2600, 16gb Ram, Gtx-1070), it was rather challenging sustaining the level of 60-fps without turning graphical settings to mid-low. I really hope that it’s been optimized better than it was initially; otherwise, if you don’t have a modern PC with beefy gaming hardware, unfortunately you risk not getting the best image quality for enjoyable playing.

Other than that, let’s move on to the good stuff. First, the design, style and graphics. While being not the best game when it comes to optimization, it offers a really unique way of style and design. Yes, the design of major characters and enemies is rather generic and full of cliches (’cause we talk about localized techno-catastrophe with sci-fi stuff here); but the design of levels, protagonists’ abilities and weapons is truly a novelty, giving us a completely new look on how an action game be represented. The design of weapons is memorable and exciting to an extent that you start caring less about their functionality in the game, while trying to see a newly-found weapon more and more often. As for the levels, one might consider them quite standard for a setting chosen for the narrative; but, for me, the inclusion of the Hiss-infected structures makes all the difference ’cause the combination of cold-white walls, black floors and red-ish infected areas is a tease for eyes. The same goes for paranormal levels, where you see all kinds of weird stuff (I’m not gonna spoil anything, so you gotta believe me on that, sorry).

Secondly, the STORY. There definitely are reviews complaining about the game’s overall plot to be confusing and incoherent. However, I missed such a story in modern art (including literature, movies and video games) that will make me question “What was that about?” even after the end. It is all because the story is not being fed directly to the player and instead is being given in randomized portions coming from different characters and their quests. In other words, it is more than normal for you to feel like you have no idea what you’re doing, what’s your mission and who is actually the hero you’re playing.

In short and without spoilers, let me elaborate on that (not that I understood much, but I’ll try my best here). We’ve got Jesse Faden entering the building of mysterious Federal Bureau of Control that looks and feels like the office of Men In Black – the same level of strangeness and paranormal activity everywhere. We find out that Jesse is capable of controlling various forms of psychic powers (that come from unknown source) to fight the Hiss – some sort of power with unclear nature that needs to be stopped before it corrupts the humanity. In short – it’s your basic “save the world” BS. In detail – it’s much deeper and complex because the nature of Hiss, the enemies and NPCs hold mysteries of their own. Thus, the game shifts from sci-fi blockbuster to personal drama to sci-fi suspense thriller and back to personal drama because everything is intertwined with everything and nothing is being explained clearly. For example, it takes really much effort figuring out who is the Janitor – our only ultimate ally and why does he help us (personally, I still got no idea who he is and what’s he about). In total, the major plot line is being resolved right in the end, but it does not give all the answers you might want, which is awesome for me.

Also, liked the acting and dialogues here. Currently, it’s so rare to get a female character that is charismatic, smart and good-looking (without any over-sexualization), while being inhumanly powerful (I’m looking at you, Andromeda!). Other characters are memorable and actually represent living people that express themselves not like worthless robots with clunky animation (again, Andromeda!).

Third, and most important. Engaging and enjoyable gameplay. We are being given a weapon right from the start, further followed by psychic powers and different modifications to enhance them. Next, we’re getting an array of main and side-quests that also allow us to move relatively freely inside the gaming environment. I got hooked on exploration of different rooms and territories that all hold their own histories and reward with resources and powerups. In other words, exploration here is widely encouraged; however, some of the areas are only being unlocked once you acquire a certain skill or quest item (that’s why the metroidvania part) but, when it comes to this, you’re simply required to follow the main quest and you’ll get everything resolves. Side quests are perfectly realized despite being as cliche as possible. Mostly, we get to either collect X-number of items or kill X-number of enemies; however, the context for the quests compensates this a lot, which makes it worthwhile spending time in game even after the ending credits.

Fourth, the combat, and it’s separate reason, ’cause it’s big. We could’ve included it in “gameplay” reason, but I believe it’s a separate point. We’ve got the Matrix-effect here. The level of destructions and psychic powers’ executions only reminds of the awesomeness of effects of destructing everything to pieces that we’ve seen in the Matrix movie. Next, flying around, shooting enemies from alien-type weapon and overpowering them with skills is just a reason that appreciate a good fight in video-game, where you don’t need to survive; instead, you need to eliminate everyone in the most badass way possible! Or you can simply defeat everyone with throwing skill – it never got boring for me, as well.

Finally, the fifth reason! It’s relatively short and it doesn’t waste your time. There’s an array of modern games that make everything possible and impossible to make players stay in-game for as long as possible, while not prioritizing the concentration of content instead of its duration. The game takes 12-15 hours to beat and it rarely loses in dynamic (while there are hickups occasionally, especially when you get lost inside the map). From the start to finish you’re being given a highly-dynamic, engaging, and highly thoughtful action that makes you experience a variety of emotions – from excitement to horror (even though there’s no actually scary content). It’s like a season of a good AAA-show that gets you “Wow-effect” and instantly ends.

It might seem that this review is too complimentary but personally I was pleasantly surprised with it at many levels. It really feels bad that the game requires the high-end hardware to function best, but for what it’s offering, it’s still a minor drawback for me. I’d rate it 4,5 out of 5 and definitely recommend it for you to play – you’ll get a lot to experience from the game that is currently one of the closest to the “next-gen” status (maybe).

 

(Thanks for reading till the end! Leave a comment about whether you played the game or not, whether you liked it or not and about what should I review next. Or tell me what you thought on Twitter.
Plus, I stream on Twitch occasionally, so you can ask me anything live if you catch me there. And now, that’s it for today, thank you once again and I’ll see you in the next one! Goodbye!)

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