Evil Genome is the newest release from Crystal Depths Studio and it follows the heroine Lachesis and her witty sidekick Alfa as they explore the vast wasteland world. Being a Metroidvania style adventure game I didn´t know what to expect from it since I haven´t played many of this kind of games before.
Well after starting a new game I was immediately hit with a quite steep difficulty curve. I played the game on normal but there is also a difficulty called “Nightmare” which I wasn´t going to even attempt after I had experienced first-hand how difficult the game is even on normal. So if you like difficult games then this is the game for you.
After I had gotten past the first shock of the difficulty I saw just how paper thin the plot was. Without spoiling too much I was rather confused when characters started throwing names at me and expecting me to know what or who they were talking about. It is never explained who these people are and the game just expects you to go with it. While you can find things such as journal entries which give you a little more insight into the characters and their significance to the plot it isn´t enough to make you really care about what happens to them later on.
Another gripe I have with the game is that the combat mechanics are quite easy to exploit if you know how to but that won´t help you in the boss fights which crank the difficulty up even more when you thought it was impossible. I have to give the developers credit, however, some of the bosses in this game look great in terms of design. However, the problem with these bosses are that some of their attacks are basically unavoidable and they all have attack patterns which include about 4-5 attacks and they will never adapt to whatever the player is doing.
Another thing that struck me as quite bizarre is that some of the translations from Chinese to English are so hilariously bad that I almost died of laughter when first reading them. Now it´s obvious that they are going to be some mistakes when translating a game from one language to another but some of these are just too obvious to miss.
Now you might think that I absolutely hate this game but you would be wrong because I do believe the game has some redeeming qualities. I want to start off with the art style and the world design. The world in which the game is set is a barren wasteland with little life and this is very well represented by the run down buildings and the abandoned cars that are scattered all over the place it really makes you feel like you´re in a post-apocalyptic world.
Now that doesn´t mean that there is no colour indeed it is very much the opposite some of your attacks look like a small fireworks display and your character herself sticks out like a sore thumb in between the NPCs that are for the most part dressed very plainly in very drab colours. This brings a much-needed splash of colour into this wasteland setting.
One big thing I haven´t talked about yet is the skill tree. The game offers a very extensive skill tree which offers many great benefits to the player if you can wrap your head around it which might prove a bit difficult at first because of how vast the character building aspect of this game is. You can spend hours customizing your character to fit your play style which can be a bit overwhelming for newcomers but also quite exciting for RPG veterans. Once I figured out how everything worked I found a lot of enjoyment in the RPG aspect of this game but it did take me a while to come to grips with how it worked. The learning curve here is quite steep for newcomers like me.
The last thing I want to touch on before I end this review is the dialogue between the characters mainly the two main characters Lachesis and Alfa. The back and forth between these two is very entertaining at times and is used as comic relief when it was badly needed. The dialogue also serves as a way for the main character to regain her memory after she lost it at the beginning of the game. But that is going a bit too far into spoiler territory.
Overall this game has its moments but is ultimately dragged down by the confusing narrative and the fact that you have to take yourself out of the experience of playing the game to read up on the backstories of the characters just so you can understand their motivation and their significance in the story as a whole. I will, however, applaud this games art style since there was clearly a lot of effort put into designing the characters and making you feel like you were in a post-apocalyptic wasteland.