I am a man of few pleasures but I do enjoy kicking the crap out of a video game foe. I guess that is why I was looking forward to playing Eve of Extinction (EOE), a combination platform/action game whose box promises to blend the best of both genres. I was quite disappointed however, when I popped the game in and viewed the atrocity that is EOE.
Eve of Extinction places the player in the role of Josh Calloway, a normal Joe working at the all-encompassing Wisdom Corp. Wisdom Corp. is the stereotypical conglomerate company that dominates almost all of Japanese science fiction. Josh’s goal is to prevent the Wisdom Corporation from developing and deploying technologies that would allow it to conquer the known world. The predictable plot causes the player to move throughout Wisdom collecting these futuristic weapons while attempting to bring the corporation to its knees.
EOE, as the press release promises, does blend action and platform elements together, but never really seems to find its groove. As the player collects new weapons, he gains new attacks and abilities, but the rock headed nature of the enemy AI makes fists all that one really needs. The weapons resemble overpowered light sabers and it appears obvious that the developers are fans of Star Wars. Each weapon has a “legacy drive” special attack that is used to unlock the true power of the weapon. Legacy drives are also crucial to solving and completing many of the games’ puzzles. Speaking of puzzles, EOE possesses some of the lamest puzzles that I have ever encountered in any game. If the game does not explicitly tell you what to do, the solution is normally so obvious that solving the puzzle provides the equivalent satisfaction of chewy popcorn.
Fighting could have saved this game but alas, it does not. There are a variety of combos to pull off but they must be done by switching through your weapons while rapidly hitting the punch or kick button. This becomes very tiresome, and generally combat just degrades into a flurry of random button presses with no real technique.
The random chaos of fighting helps to highlight one of my biggest gripes about this game, and that is the control. The control system is so horribly complicated that I found it to be more difficult to master then many of the games’ obstacles. Each weapon seems to have a totally different control scheme and it is very difficult to quickly accomplish what you want to do. I did like the idea behind different weapons having different powers but it is just so poorly executed that I feel the game would have been better with a more simplified system. Overall, EOE could have spent a lot more time in the playtesting department and it never got exciting enough for me to truly care.
The graphics in EOE aren’t as bad as the gameplay, but they are pretty damn close. Character models are unimaginative and the animation decidedly unsmooth. World environments are quite average as well; detail is sorely lacking and the futuristic feel is never quite fully established. Amongst the enemies there is uniformity on a massive scale, as there are only three or four distinct enemy models for any given area. Given these models do display weapons and such, it gets boring facing the seemingly endless barrage of the same security guards.
My biggest complaint with this game however, is the camera. It is slow and tracks terribly. Lining up for platforms becomes near impossible and it is very difficult to properly tell where you are in relation to obstacles and the like. This becomes very frustrating when facing bosses and other enemies that require careful jumping precision. Overall, the graphics in EOE need a lot more polishing and a lot more detail.
The sound in EOE follows suit with the quality of the rest of the game. The soundtrack is very poor and the sound effects are below average. There is some decent voice acting but the majority of it is unexciting and doesn’t really add anything to the game.
EOE is not a game that I would really recommend. There are some people out there who might like it, but I feel that it is something to be passed over in exchange for other action-adventure titles. Sorry Eidos, but you missed the boat on this one.