Friday, December 27, 2013

Review #85: Eve of Extinction

 Ten times as good as the cover would lead you to believe.
 Eve of Extinction is a very ambitious 3D beat'em up game developed by Yuke. As with nearly every Beat'em up, the objective is to beat up everything and everyone that stands in your path, to aid you, you'll gain access to a huge amount of weapons that Josh will find throughout his quest.
 Josh used to work for Wisdom, a shady organization that wanted to mix souls with a metal called Orichalcum in order to produce Legacy, incredibly powerful weapons, he used to work for them until they bound Eliel, his girlfriend, into Oricalchum, Bionic Commando anyone? The story is just a means to an end, characters are pretty much as shallow as they get, the writing is cheesy and straight to the point, and the plot never pulls twists or turns, and that's alright. The game doesn't aim to create an "emotional experience", this isn't a modern game after all, so if you want a deep narrative, avoid it at all costs.
 Gameplay is as basic as it gets, a Jump button and Weak and Strong Attacks. There's also an Action button that varies with every weapon, but it's usually a dodge. Now for the fun part, there's a ton of weapons, and you get at least one new weapon per stage, and you can switch between weapons at any time, whenever you want, even mid combo, which makes Josh end the combo with a special attack with the newly selected weapon. Each Weapon also gets a Special Move that consumes half of the Energy Bar, which can be recharged at various spots throughout each level or from enemy drops. Now for the not so good part... Combat isn't very deep, while each weapon has different combos, they mostly feel the same. Some attack faster, some have longer combos and what have you, but it's not like certain situations need for a certain weapon, you can do just fine using the same weapon for the entire duration of the game. This also means that combat can get pretty repetitive pretty fast, but surprisingly, it doesn't, I found myself having way more fun that I knew I should be having. Lastly, the more you use a weapon, the more experience it gets, most weapons start at level 1, with a single hit "combo", but as you level them up, they gain longer combos(Up to five hits, depends on the weapons).
 The game also places a couple of puzzles per stage, usually you have to use one of the few weapons that have an Action that isn't a dodge. The Rod, for example, can be used to perform a high jump, and then in mid-air, you have to switch to Unarmed in order to be able to hang from a ledge. Or maybe, switch to the Chain Sword in order to hook to the wall on the other end and cross the gap. They are not very complicated, and they are a nice change of pace. There's another feature which I loathed, QTEs, at any time a cut-scene may start that requires you to press a button in order to avoid taking damage. These are far more frequent than what I would've liked, to be fair the way they are presented make it feel as if you were playing an arcade game, pretty cool, but I'm not a fan of QTEs...
 The camera is another annoyance, you have little control over it besides the R2 button that places it behind you, and sometimes it won't work, usually when you are next to a wall. It gets specially annoying during boss battles, luckily you get a Mini-map and can somehow pinpoint where the boss is despite not being able to see him. Something that I felt was a major flaw is locking-on. Holding the L2 button locks on to your target... but the camera doesn't follow it, so you also have to hold the R2 button, plus, holding the L2 button is how you block, and it turns your movement into quick-steps, which are only useful against proyectile shooting enemies. In the end I just used L2 to block and ignored Locking On completely.
 Confusingly enough, some levels are very wide and open, with plenty of places to jump on to, but there's nothing to find. Actually, there are three minigames(Survival, Boss Rush, 3 Minute Battle), but there's nothing else, no health packs nor energy recharges(These two are enemy drops, actually), there's nothing for you to find. The game has 7 stages in all, of varying length, and the game can be completed in about 4 hours. Clearing the game unlocks a new, overpowered, weapon and not much more, but it's a very replayable game, so it's no biggie.
 Graphics are pretty alright, characters are not very detailed, common enemies are downright generic men-in-suits, but they look pretty alright. Bonus points for the weapons, they all look pretty different and have a unique color to them. Each stage has a different theme, but there's not much to interact with. The music is very bland, and at times grating to the ears, voice acting is on the cheesy side( The writing doesn't help!) but it's pretty serviceable, and as cheesy as it is, there's no "So bad it's bad" or "So bad it's good" moments, so that's a plus.
 Eve of Extinction is a very ambitious game thanks to it's large amount of weapons, it's a shame the combat wasn't as deep as it could've. It's also pretty repetitive, but it's so short that it ends before you get bored. I had fun with E.O.E., it's pretty decent at what it does, it just needed a bit more ironing.
 6.5 out of 10.

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