Despite the evolution into better graphics, processor and functions for game developers, the love for Metroidvania type of games has never been greater. The recent reimagining of Metroid II: Return of Samus gave us the awesome Metroid: Samus Returns, and who can forget the seminal godsend that was Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. When done right, such games are a blast with their combat and platforming.
Crystal Depths Studio’s latest, Evil Genome, a self-proclaimed Metroidvania wannabe definitely tries hard, but is clearly not ready for the big stage yet.
The fact that this is a product made by a Chinese studio will not be lost, as the localization work veers from okay to ridiculous in an instant. Poor translation is commonplace, and there are even leftover Chinese characters in text, so this is not exactly a top-tier production.
Our heroine Lachesis finds herself in a world devastated, and it is up to her to save the world… I think. That is about all I can understand from the hotchpotch of a plot, which might be due to the shoddy localization, but chances are that the story is definitely not a strong suit of Evil Genome.
Adding voiceovers, which is usually a good thing, made my experience even more of an ordeal. The voice acting is of such deplorable standards that the game would have been better off without. The load times can be horrendous, and optimization is still wonky, so beware!
But at least it looks pretty, with the 2.5D perspective adding some personality to an otherwise bland journey. You do get interesting enemy designs, and the animations are smooth, which makes the combat and movement something to look forward to. Learning the patterns and taking advantage of windows of opportunity to attack makes for a fun time, until you meet the bosses that is.
I am all for challenging boss fights, otherwise, there is no point to them. But when a game chooses to spam combos that render you useless or throws in numerous 1-hit kills like snow in winter, it is poor in taste and design. Granted it is not for all the bosses, but it happens enough to make you want to throw in the towel.
Best enough foes with melee or ranged attacks and you can level up, where you can utilise a skill tree that is inadequately explained, because it is probably another victim of the localization. There are also side quests you can partake in, and more loot items for you to find to augment your stats. There are even different costumes to choose from, which is a nice touch. Yet these systems fail to mask what is a mediocre core at the heart of Evil Genome.
The times that I enjoyed during my playthrough of Evil Genome can be boiled down to combat sequences and certain bosses, but these small snippets are hampered by a deluge of subpar localization, frustrating enemy behaviour, and a huge lack of anything remotely Metroidvania-like.
Stay away from this one.