41 Hours XSX Review 5/10 "An Initially Fun But Flawed FPS" ⏰ @ValkyrieInitia1 #IndieGame #GameDev

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41 Hours – despite being set in a pretty standard genre (FPS) – began in an oddly endearing way for me, the narrative kicks off in media res, with the protagonist – Ethan – having rescued a mysterious woman with whom he is apparently fixated and escaping from the facility in which she was kept.

The opening chapter is all about putting as much ground between you and the mysterious enemy forces as possible, as fragments of the narrative are laid out. It’s here that the game sets out its stock, and I was initially intrigued due to several aspects of the design choices made.

Firstly, the story is told between stages through comic-style panels, and the way in which the characters talk and how they reference off-screen events and narratives gives a sense of depth and complexity to what is in fact a pretty direct tale.

Ethan is vague as to his motives and purpose, and the woman that accompanies him -acting as the source of some of his abilities - is amnesiac, so a lot of shadowy references are thrown around, involving time travel, hidden motives, and the like.

When the gameplay aspect takes over, however, each level boils down to running over a pretty empty – yet surprisingly open and vast – terrain to complete simple directives. The opening levels explain the controls and character abilities. Ethan is a pretty feeble hero in and of himself, a couple of enemy bullets will rinse your armour and health, but your female escort can be utilised in many ways that are quite fun to bring into action; from highlighting areas for her to run towards and actually explode when reached, through to cloaking you in an invisible force field, or – my favourite – slowing down time so that you can mow down enemies in a filmic fashion.

The moment-to-moment combat is quite fun as you flick between each ability, especially in the early stages of 41 Hours. You gain experience points for each kill, and these can be spent on upgrading your character, there’s also the option to add various sights and muzzles on your guns, which does add a further bit of spice to the combat.

Beyond the initially fun ranged combat, a lot of the rest of the game really struggles. Boring, tick-box missions combined with tiresome level design and underwhelming audio mean that once the novelty of your companion’s powers fade, there’s little to keep you engaged in the plot.

As I wandered into desolate villages and ruins, picking up health packs, armour and – very occasionally – a new weapon, after a while, 41 Hours just felt functional, and locked in a mid-2000s mindset in terms of its overall approach.


Some nice ideas and fun moments in the combat can’t elevate the tedious level design, lacklustre audio and bland, open stages.

41 Hours felt like it would have been a lot of fun in the mid-‘00s but I can’t imagine that in 2023 it would appeal to anyone but the most nostalgic out there for design choices that were rife in that era but have since been outmoded.

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