Generation Zero® review
It’s 1989 in Sweden, and the Cold War seems to be over. In fact, all human wars seem to be over, along with mankind. Military robots are taking over the ground, and the surviving few are challenged to survive in the middle of the robocalypse.
It’s a large open 3D world, with your adventures set both in urban and rural environments. You explore it anew, as the protagonist is a teenager who’s been out on an island for a vacation. On returning, you find your country taken over, and try to survive and to investigate what the Bell happened.
Alas, the great outer environments start to disappoint as you enter the houses and see they are all the same, with furniture and amenities located the same way in any of them. Just copying and pasting the assets is no good sign. It’s almost the same (though more logical and less straightforward) as the robotic enemies.
There are various types of killing machines, from the smallest, named Tick, to a full-sized stepping tank tower. All of them are fictional, of course, but look and move very realistic. The designers didn’t enter the retrofuturism reign, referencing the actual XX century models for inspiration instead.
And all of the machines are individual: if you have damaged one of them but let it go, you will see that damage remains if you ever meet again. After an update, they are able to evolve if they consider you too dangerous; these evolved machines even get names.
The bad part of it is that the combat with those machines is quite counter-intuitive. You need to watch closely to detect the damage you do. The behavior of the machines is very repetitive, and there are types you meet much more often than others. You can fight them openly or try to use your stealth skills.
Another drawback is a complete lack of information on where to find this or that location you need to visit to complete a quest. If it’s meant to be realistic, there should have been a hint: in real life, you may have some notion of how to find an object, even it’s a military base not supposed to be found.
Finally, the survival part is spoiled by the ease of respawning. You can just reenter after getting killed as if nothing has ever happened. You keep your inventory, and the machines keep their damage. What’s the sense? Probably knowing that the designers didn’t bother to emulate energy and nutrition.
As for multiplayer, it’s probably the best part of the game. You can join a party of up to 4 people to explore the world together and assist each other. Not that the gameplay gets significantly better, but everything is more fun with a posse.
Anyway, despite the first disappointments, the game is much better in autumn 2019 than it was in spring. The developers learn from their mistakes and go the right way to make the game more fun. They introduced challenges, taught the machines to evolve, and fixed the worst bugs. Probably in a year the game catches up with the highest expectations. So far it’s rather fun to watch it evolve.
- Incredibly detailed outer world;
- Unusual setting;
- Realistic era signs;
- Frequent updates.
- Too many repetitive assets;
- Lack of information on how to find locations;
- For a survival game, it’s too easy to respawn.