+Extremely well done terrains and character models
+Stage designs are interesting, providing plenty of challenge to the player
+Talent trees and itemization create a rather nice challenge for RPG fans
-Extremely poor quality voice acting from supporting cast members
-Extremely high difficulty spikes
-Story was hard to enjoy from beginning to end
-Enemies are predictable and at times offer no challenge
Evil Genome is a game that undoubtedly flew under the radar. Developed by Crystal Depths Studio, Evil Genome tells the story of our lady of the hour, Lachesis and her witty, but at times annoying sidekick Alfa, an A.I. designed to aid her in her ventures. To help us get started, I was quickly taught several things. First, pay attention to the difficulty. The game comes with an unstated difficulty curve, one that fans of Castlevania, Metroid, and even the Contra franchises should be well acquainted with over the past two decades.
Once having learned I selected anything, but Normal, I decided it was time to crank it down a few notches to that Normal setting I thought I clicked. After all, I’ve spent the past few days getting my face kicked in by other games, and decided I wanted to enjoy a story. Again, I was wrong. Within twenty minutes, I found myself in shock due to the games quickly elevated difficulties, but also the fact the game has little-to-no plot. Something that seemed rather disgruntling from the start.
Much like mistakes some games make, Evil Genome decided to throw quite a few at me, expecting me to be acquainted with the games future and past cast members. Not knowing who they were, I shrugged it off and went on my way. Luckily, I began to learn the things I needed to know. I learned about the world around me, the importance to the events prior to the current day, and even a bit about what was going on currently. While their significance mattered little to me, I decided to focus on the combat and leveling systems more than anything.Combat, as you would expect, should be the games highlight. For fans of the Metroidvania genre, combat is key, but so is how they game plays out. As someone who has recently been taking to Metroid: Samus Returns, I had already felt my wheels beginning to once more turn while throwing down a few good “gun fights”. That wasn’t the case in Evil Genome. Within thirty minutes, I had already found myself against overwhelming odds. Enemies with shields, enemies without shields, and a seemingly difficult system that made combat less than desirable when overwhelmed.
After all, I found myself a bit annoyed by the larger enemies. 4-5 attacks, they would block, and not-so-quickly adapt to that of what I was doing. If I wanted to keep on low slashing, I would, and they wouldn’t block those humiliating assaults. If I wanted to leap, dash, and get behind them? I could and do so with ease without finding myself out maneuvered by my foes. While this struck me as odd, I quickly learned bosses worked quite differently, and their difficulty skyrocketed from what should have been a 10 rather quickly to a 1,000.While combat seemed filled with small annoyances, one thing hit me even weirder. Translations. As a gamer who plays a fair amount of import titles from Japan, I’ve been one to be able to look past some localisation errors. So much so that I barely notice them now. But it seems that this time around I’ve been unable to. Not because this game is by any means an indie title. Instead, it’s due to how poorly done some of them are. Luckily for developers, some of this can be fixed with a single patch, but unfortunately, the voice acting can’t.
With the nuisance that is combat behind me, I decided to look onward, moving through the game, and taking in the voice acting, the sound, and graphical offerings that the game has on the artistic side of it all. Luckily, the art style and world design is where the game finds its redeeming values. Set in a barren wasteland with little to no life, Evil Genome has a lot to work with. Luckily for the studio, this works in a favorable way for them. They managed to nail it in such a fashion that I was easily tricked into believing my characters setting mattered more than ever.
Since a post-apocalypse setting can be tough to do, I decided to take note at each small intricate detail that the studio made. The lands were rife with various hues of browns and yellows while sand blew about within the wind. Underneath the surface, the world was dark, abysmal, and tainted by radiation. I often found myself quickly dashing away from the games mutant creatures that ranged from scorpions to mutated humanoids.The civilizations that do exist were far and few between. Often I found myself in bandit camps, which painted out an even more grim picture than that of what I had imagined. Only to my dismay, I found NPCs often used the same voice actors that varied few in depth of voice or portrayal of emotion.
While this is easily passed upon, it was still worth nothing that the voice actress behind Lachesis and the actor behind Alfa, put their hearts into these primary two. Unfortunately, even if they voiced other characters, it’d been nice to see them do the same for their alternate personalities they played.
PC Hardware Used
Motherboard: MSI Z720 M7 Game Ready Plus
GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 6GB MSI Game Ready Plus
CPU: I7-7700K | OCed to 4.2GHz
RAM: Corsair Vengeance 16GB RAM
Cooling Unit: Thermal Take V8 GTS Radiator
Outside of this all, there is one thing to discuss when it comes to core mechanics, which is the games RPG elements such as itemization and character skill trees. If you’re a fan of Final Fantasy X, you may find yourself right at home due to this games rather large skill tree, which is rather extensive due to the amount of unlocks available.
Each unlock offers rather beneficial effects for Lachesis. Some include new abilities while others include stat upgrades such as HP, Energy, and even her defenses or damage, depending on the route you take. Due to its sheer size, her skill tree is, at times, difficult to navigate, and could lock players in for several hours depending on the level of customization you want for your chosen play style.
Newcomers may find themselves a bit dizzied by its sheer size, but once you come to grips with the fact this is a Metroidvania RPG style game, you’ll be right at home, and diving in faster than ever before. Luckily, the game does offer increased difficulties later on, giving us a chance to truly enjoy the adventures of Lachesis and Alfa as they find their new reality something hard to come to terms with. Even with its few shortcomings, Evil Genome provides hours of entertainment for those wanting a title to just throw down on. For me, I found myself wrapped in it for a few good hours during each sitting, and enjoying what I was doing once I settled in.
Overall, it’s hard not to say that this game doesn’t have its shining moments. Unfortunately there are more pros than cons in the ultimate breakdown of the game. While I certainly enjoyed what was available to me to some extent, I couldn’t help look past the minor mistakes that could have been corrected recently ranging from its grammatical errors, to its poor voice acting from some of the games varied NPCs. In the future, I do hope that Evil Genome gets a second chance by fixing a few of the games struggles it currently has in place. If they do? I’ll be sure to revisit the title in the future.
For now? I’ll have to place it in my backlog of games that I may never complete to 100%.
Our review is based upon a retail version we were provided by the games publisher. For information about our ethics policy please click here.
Final Score: 5 out of 10
About the Writer:
Dustin is our native console gamer, PlayStation and Nintendo reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the boarders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPG’s, Anime, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable. His elitist attitude gives him direction, want, and a need for the hardest difficulties in games, which is fun to watch, and hilarity at its finest. You can find him over on Twitter or Facebook.