Gene Rain is an independent game both developed and published by the China-based team Deeli Network. While this game has a lot of potentials, this Gears of War-style cover-based shooter has a lot to overcome in the very near future if it wishes to succeed. Find out why with our review.
+Frantic battles that, when the game decides to properly perform, can be slightly fun
-Poor gameplay elements take away from the overall experience, making it hard to enjoy
-A very poorly written story that makes little sense
-Very outdated graphics and animations
-Sounds range from high quality to extremely muddled and hard to make out
12 years ago, it seemed that Epic Games had once more started a brand new trend. They introduced to us a genre solely focused on its cover-based shooting mechanics, brooding atmosphere, and bulky-badasses of the COG forces in Gears of War. Games that tried to cash-in on it ultimately never seemed to really stand out among one another and even today, it seems that they still don’t by any means.
A few notable ones such as Quantum Theory and Binary Domain did the best they could and even came out as two of last generations sleeper hits among fans of obscure games. Now, we’ve been given another one, but this time, one from a China-based team called Deeli Network with their very first game known as Gene Rain, a game that has a lot to promise, but unfortunately, ultimately became marred by poor design decisions and a list of other issues.
Unfortunately, it’s easier for me to list what’s good about the game versus what is bad as the list is much shorter for the earlier versus the latter of the two. If there’s a story to be found, it’s hard to understand due to many of the games mistranslated dialogue from Chinese-to-English and overly-repeated lines throughout the game. While there is some story to be had and even understood, it’s difficult to find and makes the game a rather stressful affair.
The hardest part of it all next to many of the gameplay elements put before you is the lack of cohesive functionality within the game’s dialogue and cutscenes that are spread throughout Gene Rain itself. Let alone do you have to sit through the various storytelling loopholes put before you, the game does a lot of skipping through time, which brings forth the games biggest problem – it can’t cohesively tell the story it has to tell. It’s a jumbled mess that skips about across time, it has some extremely problematic translation errors.
But translation and cohesive storytelling issues aside, the problems with Gene Rain run a lot deeper than one would imagine. Even gameplay is a cringe-worthy affair. Just like the games, it draws inspiration from, Gene Rain struggles the most with its gameplay elements, which could have had some redeeming bonus to them, but again, some problematic design choices just weren’t thoroughly mulled over before being made.
Just like other games of the genre, you can run, you can dive roll, you can slam into cover, but doing all of it is a jumbled mess. You can’t just slide against a wall, double tap A on your Xbox controller in hopes to transition from covering to clambering. Instead, it’s hit cover, tap “Y” to jump over, and then transition to your next piece of cover. It’s a jumbled mess and doesn’t even really give you a chance to move as fluidly as one would hope.
But even then, things begin to deteriorate even quicker when it comes to aiming and shooting. You thought I was done pointing at this games design flaws, weren’t you? No. I’m not even close and a lot of it comes from the fact I’ve played through this game three times before this review, having cleared it in approximately 5 hours each time, putting me at a fifteen hour endeavor with this game. Aiming in its own is slow, it’s clunky, and even the weapons don’t respond as one would hope.
Turning off the aim-assist feature makes it even worse, causing you to want to bash your head against your desk more than once. While I don’t mind how aggressive the auto-aim feature tends to be, I do enjoy the ability to lock-in on my foes, I don’t like the idea of feeling as if I’m being drawn to them by some unbreakable force unless I stop aiming down the characters sights. Gunfire itself is cringe-worthy at best. Every gun feels as if someone has taught them to hit the wide-side of a barn rather than the target put before them.
Even the weapons themselves are problematic. Each of them uses more ammo than you can ever collect throughout the game to take down one or two enemies, meaning you’ll need to use all four weapons in your arsenal to even clear out the enemy hordes put before you. The only luck you may have is if your A.I. partner, when you have one, can even shoot the same target as yourself. Even the wonky camera angles make it a bit tough to enjoy the world put before you.
Whether it’s the wild shift from over-the-shoulder views or the behind-the-back views, Gene Rain has become a nauseating affair in its very own right. But one issue that contributes to all of this is how you sprint. If you want to sprint, you can’t just click R3 and toggle in and out of sprint. Instead, you have to hold it down all-the-while looking about the area you are in. The entire experience itself is problematic, which is something I hope I wouldn’t run in to during my time with the game itself.
But let’s talk about what is good about Gene Rain, which isn’t much, but still, there’s some reprieve from the difficulties you will encounter. Combat itself, while problematic due to the wild and out of control bullet spreads, does offer some of its own excitement. Shooting down enemies, double tapping their corpses, and collecting the loot can be an absolute riot since they can determine whether-or-not you’ll be struggling with ammo of your own.
When enemy explosions and penetrating rounds hit the cover you are in, you’ll often times find yourself clenching your teeth, waiting for your chance to aim at some random alien darting across the battlefield or one ducking down behind cover. Fights themselves can almost be suffocating from time to time, which does make them an enjoyable affair that is slightly marred by the games problematic design choices that were made. Sadly, that’s about all that is fun about the game.
I didn’t find pleasure in picking up a minigun or heavy weapon of any kind. I found them to constantly become stuck, locking me in a weapon I didn’t want to use. I even found myself growing equally as frustrated when it came to the amount of ammo I’ve been given across every skirmish that will ensue. This is mostly due to the fact ammo itself is extremely limited and rarely comes in the quantities that are required for each and every skirmish. Add boss fights into the mix here and there and you’ll find yourself right where I was at during the end of my third playthrough, which was when I finally walked away after uninstalling the game.
Outside of a once-and-done campaign, Gene Rain doesn’t offer any form of entertainment value or replayability outside of the pre-requisited Horde mode cover-shooters seem to offer by default in our current day in age. Sadly, I didn’t even spend much time with this mode due to the games poor mechanics, design choices, and glitches I fought my way through three times in total.
Even graphics, sound, and voice acting suffered through and through. It’s a game that had a lot of chance to push itself to the very next level. Lightning, colors, and even the frame rate are almost impossible to suffer through by any means. Trust me when I say this, I don’t mind your “C” or “D” rated game from time to time if they have something unique to offer, which is something this game struggled to do by any means necessary.
Gene Rain – PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One
Developer: Deeli Network
Publisher: Deeli Network
Release Date: Now Available
Motion blur itself is hard to see through, often times making your enemies indistinguishable as you dart about, moving from cover-to-cover as quickly as you can. As much as I wanted to, I couldn’t enjoy this Gene Rain as much as I wanted to try.
But how do you conclude a review of this sort? To be honest. I’m not even sure. Between a story that makes little-to-no sense, voice acting that is beyond subpar, and gameplay that doesn’t offer any redeeming qualities outside of frantic battles, Gene Rain isn’t a game I can recommend to anyone at all.
Our review is based upon a retail version that was provided to us by the publisher of the game. For information about our ethics policy please click here.
Final Score: 3 out of 10
About the Writer(s):
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.