One Epic Game Review
This game was reviewed on the PlayStation 3.
One Epic Game is a nonstop side-scroller as you play as the bodacious Alpha Dog. Right off the bat, the game projects a silly tone. When Alpha Dog first meets his nameless nemesis, the villain threatens that he will destroy the world with “an alien invasion right in the middle of a zombie outbreak in a fantasy kingdom, somewhere in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, with World War II also involved somehow.” The humorous writing is skewed to making fun of the video game industry cliches. Along with small nods to movies like E.T and Back to the Future, they even mock the economy with oil prices. Good vs. Evil; save the world from danger – it’s a plot we’ve all heard before.
The visuals take on a rich and colourful 16-bit cartoon style. Every object, enemy and landscape fits perfectly for each theme it portrays. For example, within the fantasy setting, you run along the castle’s parapets and wooden planks while fending off knights and dragons in mid-flight. The cut-scenes are a great transition between levels and are done in the old RPG-style, with panels representing the characters and accompanying dialogue boxes. These scenes are always amusing, with dialogue between Alpha Dog and the President filled with bad puns and jokes, or when our hero engages in witty repartee with the Villain.
At first glance, the game can be mistaken for a typical 2D shooter. While it does have shooting mechanics, they actually play a secondary role in the game. Where One Epic Game differs from normal side-scrolling shooters is that as Alpha Dog you are constantly running to get to your goal. The game doesn’t box you in with on-screen enemies that you’d need to fight to continue on, and the typical boss battle is missing. The control scheme is simple, as all the buttons on the left side of the controller are mapped to shooting and the right side is jumping. Along with the standard pistol, there are other weapons randomly laying around in the levels, such as a flamethrower, shotgun, machine gun, and the BFG which kills all enemies on screen. There are also miscellaneous items like the jet pack, health, or power-ups to speed up or slow down your character.
Each level has various objectives, while you furiously navigate the environments, dodging obstructions and shooting various enemies. For example, you’re required to reach a specific speed on one level, whereas another forces you to become a pacifist for the required distance (or range) while avoiding any foes. The drastic changes in play style not only help to keep the game from being repetitive, but will also improve your skills along the way.
However, these skills cannot develop soon enough, and you will die many times in the process. The great thing that the developers did to lessen your frustration is you will never start off in the same spot, even if you died twice or a dozen times over. This removes players from merely playing by memory. For objectives that require longer play time, there are checkpoints to lessen the burden of getting through the second half of the level with only one life left.
Once you complete the story there are two other modes. One is the Challenge mode, where the objectives you faced in the campaign will become their own separate challenges. Each task will have three tiers of difficulty labeled by bronze, silver and gold medals. For example, pacifism at bronze will mean not killing for 1000 miles, whereas the hardest difficulty (gold) will have you aiming for 3000 miles. The other mode is the Free Run, where you choose any themed level and play until you run out of lives or fall to your death to start all over again.
One Epic Game is addictive and entertaining, yet it’s not without its faults. Gameplay can be somewhat challenging, as the developers placed weapons in hard to reach places, making it necessary (and oftentimes unavoidable) to pick up the inferior weapons when you find yourself in tight spots. Adding to the frustration is enemy placement. As levels are randomly generated, at times it’s actually impossible to avoid death. Enemies can sometimes spawn in such a way that there is no right path through a section. Along with those issues, a repetitive soundtrack will make long gaming sessions quite irritating. The action-oriented rock track is great for a few minutes, but will immediately annoy players after numerous deaths. In general though, this is an enjoyable game that will keep you satisfied at home or on the go. One Epic Game receives a 4.0/5.
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