Not A Hero

There’s a lot here that would appeal to me on paper. Pixel art; charming voice work with Scottish, Welsh, English voice actors; fast-paced shooting and smashing through windows to leap between buildings. But it doesn’t work.

The writing is terrible and there’s plenty of it at the beginning and ending of every mission. It’s nothing but random zany internet people comedy: monkey cheese ninja pirate stuff. It’s insufferable. There’s nothing so unfunny as this self-satisfied jokeless writing. You can skip it, and I started to after a handful of missions–despite not being the sort of person who ever skips text–but then that left me with one less thing to keep going for. To see how the story ends? Not likely.

Gameplay presents some reliable ideas early on, when you’ve got a set obstacle course and you’re supposed to figure out the correct route. “Last time I went through this door, but if I jump in through this window first, so I can stab this guy from behind, he won’t react and kill a hostage.” It’s not so ambitious, but it can make for fun planning-oriented trials. Unfortunately, the game doesn’t settle on that design: power-ups are randomised, but should have been predetermined for use in planning, so you could predetermine the best time to get them and the best way to exploit them across multiple attempts.

Moreover, in later missions, the game leans more on challenging your reaction times instead, with swordsman who cause instant death if they touch you. That could ostensibly be called a pre-planning challenge, in that if you don’t make sure you have a full ammo clip before dropping from a ledge, you’re guaranteed to die during a reload. But I decided I’d had enough when I was slide-attacking the swordsmen to briefly stun them, and found that this worked unreliably (near as I could tell), as they would sometimes take a swing as the slide attack neared them. Continuing through the remaining missions seemed like it would be tedious trial and error, mainly in learning where I could safely jump down without being cut to ribbons by an off-camera enemy, and any desire to put myself through that was wiped out by my contempt for the game’s story. Pass.

The reviewer strongly discourages spending time or money on this game–it is bad. It could still have a good point or two. But whether it’s a short piece of shovelware or a long, high-profile game where each hour feels like some kind of dubious psychological trap, expect a torturous experience where none of the good even begins to make up for the bad. It is the antithesis of what the reviewer looks for in a game.

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