Arcadegeddon Game Best Review. A shooter about an indie game, evil monopolists, and fighting a system within a system
Arcadegeddon, a shooter about rescuing an independent video game, finally got its full release this week. It was released by the IllFonic studio, familiar to the players from the development of Friday the 13th: The Game, and also created Predator: Hunting Grounds.
Arcadegeddon takes place in a metropolis where the sinister corporation FunFUNco has spread its influence over all video games. There is only one independent game left – Arcadegeddon, which was created by Uncle Gill. But the evil company has already tried to lay a paw on it: the project code was affected by a virus.
To overcome the virus, it is enough just to play indie miracle often. To do this, Uncle Gilly convenes all the “free” gamers – the main character and several factions of players. The entire history of Arcadegeddon is contained in the exposition, and then almost does not develop.
Double immersion in the game
Arcadegeddon can be divided into two conditional parts: “virtual” worlds, where the player fights to save the game code, and the “real” world – a small location for character development and interaction with NPCs. Here you can see the leaderboard, equip the hero and take quests. Some tasks are only available to player factions, others are issued daily.
Unfortunately, the quests are extremely dull; most of them are done casually – you just need to play on, periodically choosing the right mode or specific weapon to eliminate enemies.
The presence of a hub location and daily identical quests as such are not a problem, similar gameplay elements are found in many projects. But this is where Arcadegeddon gets particularly tiring. Firstly, all the characters in the location are needed only for issuing tasks. Secondly, there is no way to take several quests from different gangs at once. Thirdly, running around the hero’s shelter quickly gets boring. In the real world, the character does not have a double jump and he does not cling to a ledge, which is why the player has to methodically run back and forth between floors.
But the biggest drawback is the lost potential. The entourage of the game resembles the atmosphere of the gaming halls of the 80-the 90s and is accompanied by the theme of the fight against an evil mega-corporation. The very essence of Arcadegeddon is that players save an independent game from being taken over or destroyed – something similar could be seen in the movie “Ready Player One”. This is a funny meta-narrative that could have turned into a comment about the modern gaming industry, about its craving for monopolization.
But, as in Spielberg’s film, there is nothing of the kind here – the authors seem to have not figured out what to do with the amusing plot further. The plot and the main theme quickly fade into the background. And at some point, Arcadegeddon itself follows the logic of any mercantile company. Inside the tutorial, one of the characters explains how to donate to the game – in context, it looks both funny and sad.
Virtual fights and boring tasks
When the player has taken the task, changed clothes, and upgraded, it’s time to go to the rescue of the “virtual” worlds. The character is thrown to one of the levels, where you need to complete several special tasks and fight off enemies. Each run starts with a pistol and a bat in your inventory, but with the help of multi-colored boxes scattered throughout the level, you can get more powerful guns. You can also pick up hacks in them – these are passive improvements for both the character and his equipment.
To destroy enemies, there are three slots for weapons, each with its own characteristics. Guns have their own sound, rate of fire, and other nuances that make them stand out from the rest. Depending on the rarity and luck, the weapon can receive a unique modifier that will allow opponents to be set on fire or frozen.
Particularly powerful rifles stand out not only for their damage but also for their heaviness – you won’t be able to jump or run fast with them. If the battle becomes very tight, you can use the bracer on the hand of the protagonist. It can be used to throw a digital fireball or other offensive effects at enemies. The device is configured on the base, and you can put something more universal on it – for example, a treatment area.
In general, the combat gameplay looks good: the hero jumps from world to world, completing quests along the way and shooting rivals that amusingly burn or scatter to pieces, fall under ricocheting circular saws, or fall into traps on the levels themselves. On a solo playthrough, the feel of shooting is pleasant, which is especially evident in co-op, in which players are rushing forward in an unstoppable wave of destruction.
However, the impressions from Arcadegeddon are spoiled by a variety of shortcomings and roughness. After a couple of hours of gameplay, and entering the next map, it will already be sickening to carry out any assignment, because by this moment you will have familiarized yourself with them all. And you need to fulfill them, otherwise, they won’t let you go further in the location, while enemies appearing from the air are shooting from all sides (and often literally a step away from the hero). Moreover, the cards themselves do not shine with variety: the game has a lot of locations, but their themes turned out to be somehow of the same type. That is, running through a warehouse, bazaar, or empty streets, the player will still be in the atmosphere of a virtual city with all its design features.
Maps serve as excellent cover for opponents and sometimes merge with them. And all because the enemies are robots devoid of individuality. Their behavior in battle is as interesting as their appearance, which is why the first few stages they are not able to even scratch the hero. But slowly the difficulty of the game grows, as does their health bar and damage dealt – sooner or later the player will still win. Between the soporific “too easy” and the furious “defeat guaranteed” there is a very small window when it is fun and interesting to play, but the problem is that at first, this period will have to wait, and then watch how it slides from entertainment into torment.
Arcadegeddon is out on the PS Store (for PS4 and PS5) and the Epic Games Store (for PC), with the former being free to download with a PS Plus subscription, which seems to be the best way to experience the project. This is not a very tense shooter with rogue-lite elements, in which you can get stuck for a couple of hours with friends. The guns bang bang, the enemies scatter around, and the levels quickly change each other – good fun for a free evening.
But hardcore players seem to have nothing to do here. Even after a year of early access, Arcadegeddon feels like a half-finished project. The game simply lacks content and more polish to keep the player’s attention. One long run through the “virtual” worlds is enough to see almost all the content, except for the bosses. And the balance between the necessary, but boring and really interesting elements of the gameplay is absolutely not verified.
However, IllFonic is moving in the right direction by improving its games over previous projects. It’s hard to call Arcadegeddon a bad game: it’s a conditional “passer”, which is not destined to find great popularity and love among the players. But the growth of developers is noticeable – and if the trend continues, then in the foreseeable future, the authors will definitely be able to make a suitable game.
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