“Many years have passed since the world war inflicted catastrophic damage on the human race, leaving only a few survivors. In their new community “Cocoon,” life has been threatened by a black material called Erosion, creating a post-apocalyptic environment. Surviving humans recruit a militia to conquer the Erosion and set out to take down the evil, “Living Tower”. Arriving at the scene is the stalwart warrior Syd, whose only intentions are to destroy the Tower. He meets the beautiful and mysterious Filena as they both ascend to the top in their search for answers”
-synopsis from Wikipedia.
I find myself in a strange quandary with this game; not being required to play and review video games for the masses gives me a security blanket of being able to play only games I like and not bother with ones I know I will hate, thus I present my dilemma of taking the time to write why this game should be avoided or pretend that the last 10 hours of my life ceased to exist. Some time and consideration has pressed me to the conclusion that no matter how many people read this, I feel it is my duty to point out my experiences with this piece of crap so as to not let my time die in vain and hopefully provide some sort of cathartic release that only ranting or fire can provide. The similarities of Gears of War are obvious in color pallet and design but fall flat everywhere else. The things that made Gears of War a great game are much more than a brownish tint and covered-based shooting system and there is no advertisement available right now that I can think of better than Quantum Theory of how to not copy a popular title. You would think it would be easy to replicate Gears and just change around character models but instead what Tecmo Koei seemed to spend all their time and resources on was anything they could do to make a shitty experience that only insane people could like.
The game’s main protagonist is Syd, a stereotypic “grunt” type character with no personality whose back-story is literally that he is around to just kill shit. Take Marcus Fenix, remove the bandanna, add a strange scar on forehead along with personality akin to Keanu Reeves’ acting and you have Syd. Of course there is some convoluted way the story explains why Syd is such a static character and why he looks the way he does but it isn’t really a big issue because as the player character we hardly have to pay attention to his stupid look. What is never explained is the reason that Syd acts like a goddamn 12-year-old every time he opens his mouth and treats us to such quippy one-liners as “Mmmm… Ammo…” or “There’s only one left? Lame.”, obviously trying to be cool but is just irritating after the first few minutes. It is a little far to say he is the worst character in the game, however, due to just how bad they all are (both friendlies and enemies) and how cookie-cutter they all act. Along side of Syd is Rilena, the cliche female character who is fast, agile and doesn’t trust Syd at first but at an arbitrary point forms an inseparable alliance with him. One of the kind of neat game-play features shown off about Quantum Theory for the first bit of it’s press showing a year or so ago was that that Syd could throw Rilena into enemies from pretty much anywhere in the room and she would cut them up with her crazy ninja-like sword which would be kind of fun if Rilena was ever even with you. Seriously, you don’t even meet up with her until about three or four chapters in and the time you spend with her is wasted because it is easier in the end to just run-and-gun rather than utilize her in any way.
It is hard to make the concept of a constantly changing environment and living tower sound boring doesn’t it? Well thankfully as much effort into killing any enjoyable game-play on a technical level was put into creating characters no one could love. So how well does a game work with randomly moving rooms and environments work? Not very well. I could count on one hand the amount of times I felt the approach of moving platforms and cover was well done but most of the time it just made a bad experience worse by adding a challenging element to already broken game-play; trying to aim with terrible control over your reticle becomes nearly an impossibility in some of the moving segments and literally resorts you to “spray-and-pray”. I wanted to try my hand online because I figured after the amount of training I had endured with such bullshit in the story mode, I would be pretty top-notch against other players… and of course what little fun I might have had with the game was instantly taken away when I realized that there is not a single other person playing thing game in multi-player on the PS3. I seriously can’t even report on the online play of the game because after waiting for 30 minutes for a game I had to give up and get some sleep. I know it is not directly the fault of the developers that people aren’t playing their game online, but I feel I can justify blaming them anyways due to the fact that if it was worth playing, people would have actually done so.
I should probably end this before I just get pissed off again; I have absolutely no problem when a game is genuinely and fairly challenging because I truly believe that the struggle makes the win feel that much better, but for the little amount of fun I had in the first place, this game isn’t worth spending any more effort than necessary to get through and I truly believe that just breezing past it in easy to take in what very few things it does well would have been the way to go. All around a bad experience and I am glad it is over so I don’t have to think about it again.
A perfect example of what not to do as a game developer and why games that are critically praised are more than a look and style. Avoid if possible, rent it if you must.