I must say I was pretty reticent about trying this game, after all the bad critics out there, but I gave it a try as I had it for free under Xbox’s Game Pass.
First of all, the downgrade it received since we last saw it on conventions has been really drastic. Maybe they couldn’t manage too much detail on an “open” world like this with so many explosions? I haven’t read an explanation, if you did, please let me know on comments. Despite the downgrade, the game is pretty good looking. I was afraid of the cell shading, making it too much cartoon-stylized. Instead, the game had the perfect balance between seriousness and comic look. The aesthetics of the game makes the player feel he’s on a different reality, one kind of dystopia where everything explodes, a single man can (YOU) can destroy anything in his way.
Player’s first steps into the game are really boring. Besides Terry Crews’s (quite a fan of that myself) the game starts with a long cinematic and a long comic-style intro. After that, your first steps are made into a tutorial. Yet I have seen better tutorials. This one tends to become a long tutorial not only showing you controls but also how the game works and how enemies come and go. All of this, on a very straightforward corridor of the city. The very first impression is that the game will be parts of a big city turned into corridors that lead to the boss. Far from what it actually is, after defeating the first enemy boss
This game has very good motivators tho. The way XP are given to the player is VERY visual and appealing. Makes players want to kill more, faster and destroy more things. Every time you kill or destroy something, XP appear like small spheres/coins with their different color, depending on which skill does it add to. Afters one second, they all move towards the player as if he’s a vacuum machine absorbing every single one of them. This is gratifying the player visually and rewarding him for every action he’s made.
The game is also much into visual reinforcers that give Player a hint about where he must go, such as electric glowing cables or radioactive materials glowing through a pipeline, that lead the player to the console or engine he must hack or destroy. There are also many buildings with neon lights that tell players the way they must follow in order to be climbed easily. Even more, there are 2 special items in the game, Hidden Orbs and Agility Orbs that glow in the distance (despite first ones are pretty hidden) reinforcing the player’s need to go there and collect them to skill up their agility to jump and move faster.
Most of the areas that the Player needs to destroy are easily seen in the distance, with barely no need to open world map. They found a good balance between Free Spirit Players who want to roam freely on this city, and those Achievers that want to go straight into fights questing. As far as I have seen, there’s no real penalty for attacking civilians, aside from a moral voice over from the General that tells you they are on your side, so any Disruptor might have their dose of anarchy also.
Just to break up with the constant explosions and combat, this game has a lot of platforming too. Some are quite complex but if player looks around,he will find something that tells him where to go. Can be a decal, a neon light, or something that looks like just propaganda but has a stripe on it leading the way. I also found many other ways to avoid straight led paths and jumping over finding a new way they might or might not have foreseen. But either way, it works perfect for different kind of Player Types.
To conclude, this game has a lot of potential that hasn’t been balanced with the plot line nor the endgame engagement. Once I finished the story on mid difficulty, I uninstalled it. I just felt everything was too repetitive, although I had quite a lot of fun while playing it, and having just to find some extra orbs and finish gathering up a bit more XP, I felt there was no reason to do that as I already achieved the completion of campaign.