24/05/2021

๐Ÿฉธ Outbreak: Endless Nightmares | Review | 2/10 | “I was completely on board with this game...until I played it.” ๐Ÿฉธ #IndieGames #GameDev

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I always like to start my reviews by explaining my relationship to the game, genre or franchise etc. and I feel in this review it’s especially important as I am very specifically the target audience.

It is a game trying to capture the aesthetics, gameplay and vibe of the late ‘90s horror games. I love those games - Resident Evil 2,4 and Silent Hill 2 are in my top 10 games of all time so I was completely on board with this game.... until I played it.

I'm going to go straight to my main problem with this game, it's that your guns break after every clip. Yep, that’s right - every time you use a magazine of ammo… your gun breaks. This means you either have to swap guns, repair them, or discard them and find new ones.

Now, it's not hard to repair a gun and you find them everywhere, but it means having to go in your inventory menu every five minutes to combine your gun with weapon parts or go into your inventory to drop it and choose a new gun.

I spent more time in my inventory menu than I did shooting zombies. I have never played any horror game where your guns break. Usually, you start with a handgun and - as the game progresses - you find a shotgun, then a machine gun, then a magnum and the game tends to give you a sparing amount of ammo, so you have to decide whether to blast away or conserve it and use it at a better time.

This makes sense to me as it provides a challenge and means I don’t end up having so many guns that I could make Neo jealous. I understand in other games you have weapons that break (usually melee weapons), I recently played Dying Light and, after a while, your melee weapons break but surprisingly, the guns don’t break. It's not that I don’t get what it's trying to do - it's simply not fun and just tedious. Horror relies on atmosphere and the build-up of tension, that’s hard to do when I'm constantly having to pull up my menu every five minutes. 

In the game, you start off in a hub world and, exploring the building you find objects that take you to the ‘Anomaly World’. I hate the Anomaly World with a fiery passion, it’s blatantly nicked from Silent Hills’ Other World, but more importantly… it's where the frustration begins.

The Other World, whoops, I mean ‘Anomaly World’ is where you progress through the game and it. Is. irritating. It has laser traps, fire coming out of the floor, gas coming out the floor and is where the zombies reside. you would think that this is where the fun starts, but nope, this is where you will start fighting the controls and the camera angle.

The game lets you choose first-person, third-person or over-the-shoulder which I think is really cool - but each camera perspective causes problems. I stayed in over-the-shoulder as it's my preferred perspective, but if you want to look down in over the shoulder you had to aim your gun then look down, which, when trying to dodge traps that were on the floor, or zombies crawling towards you is very awkward and ended up getting you killed.

As I was trying to look down at the laser traps, zombies would usually take this opportunity to pounce, which would take you back to the start and you would have to go through the random, procedurally-generated anomaly areas from the beginning. They are divided into seven sections, die in the sixth? Then start back at one. I went into the fifth section - where I started with a zombie both in front and behind me  - and was killed immediately, so back to the start for me. I hated every minute I spent in the Anomaly World.

The game doesn't feel like a loving homage to horror games of the past, it just feels like the game is stealing their ideas and repackaging them. You can lovingly nod to the past without just copying it.

The menu system is blatantly taken from the early Resident Evil games, then I picked up sprouts (herbs)  to heal and gun powder to combine - just like Resident Evil. No offence to the developers but I don’t want to play a knock-off Resident Evil game wherein everything just reminds me that a game released in 1996 feels and plays better than this game released in 2021.


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