For the purpose of transparency, this review was completed using a review code provided by Rimlight Studios. The use of a review code does not affect my judgement of this product.
Zheros has finally made its way over to the Playstation 4, after previously only being available on the PC and Xbox One. The game falls into the very over populated beat-em up genre which has some great stand out titles, but also some very bad ones. The main question is ‘where does Zheros fit in?’.
Rimlight Studios have taken a bold decision with Zheros and not padded it overly with a story. Don’t get me wrong Zheros does have a story, you control two heroes either Mike or Captain Dorain as you try to save the world from Dr. Vendetta. In order to do this you must work your way through the stages taking out many enemies on the way, but the game offers very little explanation why. As previously mentioned I think this was a bold move, but it really didn’t work out. The cut-scenes are very few and far between, they really don’t explain anything and try to offer some light-hearted humour. Really what they should have done is offered more cut-scenes that explained it all a bit better, and broke up the repetitive game play.
Now that it has been mentioned, lets take a look at the gameplay. When I think back to the games in the beat-em up genre, may be my generation were spoilt with games like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Streets of Rage. But, even-though the gameplay in these was similar and repetitive they didn’t ever seem get boring, unfortunately I can not say the same for Zheros. I don’t know if it is the fact it’s not broken up by cut-scenes, but it just seems to grow quite repetitive and boring after the first few missions.
As you would expect with the game falling under beat-em up, you just walk along the level taking on a countless number of enemies. Rimlight have tried to mix it up a bit by offering different moves, and ways to build up combos, however, it really doesn’t ever seem to grip you and pull you in enough to say its enjoyable. They have tried to add an RPG-like element to the game, but you might be very stretched to call it that, each level will give you rewards and you can get more by doing combos through the level (very easily done just be button mashing). These rewards will then give you unlocks, these fall between improving your weapon and shield, or unlock three different combos; which are preset. However, i would say If your gaming needs consist of just beating ten bells out of very incompetent AI, then Zheros might be for you.
Visually they have gone for a very cartoon like style to Zheros, which matches the super-hero feel they are going for with their characters. But, while playing it you will feel there is many other games that have pulled this visual style a lot better. The reason I feel like this is although the graphics go have some polish to them, and are nice and bright colours to suit the cartoon element to the game, the very cut and paste backgrounds that are throughout the levels soon become very clear and annoying. But, you can see that a lot of the work has gone into the design of the enemies you will face, however, unfortunately there isn’t enough variation of the enemies. Adding this to the repetitive backgrounds and its hard not to feel the game is all a bit samey.
Another area I found a huge issue with was the sound in the game, don’t worry there is nothing wrong with the quality, but I would be pushed to describe them as ‘OK’. I describe it as ‘OK’ because the sound in the game really is forgettable, the sounds are very repetitive due to the aforementioned lack of variety in the enemies. I couldn’t even tell you what the level music was because all of the sounds just seemed to blend into each other making it all a bit unforgettable.
After you have finished Zheros there is nothing really to make you want to get back and play it again. Ok you might want to go through it with the other character or even on co-op, but I think many people wont want to put themselves through it again.
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Zheros is another game added into the over populated beat-em up genre, which falls short in all elements. There’s not enough variety to each area of the game to make it not feel repetitive all around, and the bold decision not to fill out the story just hasn’t worked in this case.