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Exodus from the Earth

Score: 83%
ESRB: Mature
Publisher: Strategy First
Developer: Parallax Arts Studio
Media: DVD/1
Players: 1
Genre: First Person Shooter

Graphics & Sound:

Exodus from the Earth will never be confused for a groundbreaking, innovative FPS, but sometimes its fun to get back to basics. However, sometimes even the basics need a little something extra.

Overall, Exodus from the Earth looks good. Like much of the design, it doesn't stack up to the genre's heavy-hitters, but it looks good and performs remarkably well. The game does a good job at pushing you through different environments, so there is always something new to look at. Most of the design is generic and even a bit basic, but it looks good. One of the odd aspects, however, is the level of environmental interactivity. It's nothing that is exclusive to this game, but there's a noticeable lack of consistency when it comes to what you can and cannot destroy. For example, in one level a barrel may explode when met with a missile, yet in a later level the same missile and barrel meet with less explosive results. Is it a game-breaking flaw? Not in the least. Even bigger-budget games like The Force Unleashed featured similar problems, but it just stands out more when the gameplay is vanilla.

Voicework isn't half bad, but that doesn't mean it is half good either. The game is developed by a Russian developer, something that is apparent whenever you listen (or read) any text. The dialogue is roughly translated and at times will even cause you to stifle a few chuckles. The good news is that the rest of the audio package is good. It suffers from the same bout of basic as other elements, but nothing stands out as out of place.


Gameplay:

At its core, Exodus from the Earth does a good job at grasping the underlying fundamentals of a FPS. There's always something to shoot, a healthy supply of weapons to shoot with and levels are interesting. At the same time, it falls into the same inescapable pit most early FPSs plunged into; after a few levels, things become so monotonous that the game begins to feel like a one-trick pony. Sure, shooting things is always a rush, but after a while you want something else, which is what Exodus from the Earth fails to deliver.

Story is just as generic as the gameplay, which for an action-based FPS isn't a bad thing. It gets you from one level to another and gives you a good reason to shoot at things. Once again, this only gets you so far. The overarcing story involves the discovery that the Earth is dying, sending the military and corporate types into a tizzy trying to figure out how to better their position of power. Playing as special ops commando, you are inserted into the mix and charged with figuring out a way to take down the A.X. Corporation.

Generic, yes, but even then Exodus from the Earth does manage to pull out a few surprises. Later boss battles are really cool, especially more complicated, late-game ones that require thinking as quick as your trigger finger. Unfortunately, moments like these aren't that common, so the entire game suffers.


Difficulty:

As a whole, Exodus from the Earth isn't that difficult. Any seasoned FPS vets should be able to knock their way through the game in a matter of hours. The general pacing is really good, which isn't too surprising considering how well the game gets the basics. Really, if you want a good, textbook example of a solid FPS, look no further. As you progress through the game, enemies become a little more frequent and levels become slightly larger and more complex while still remaining manageable.

Players looking for more or less of a challenge can adjust the difficulty settings at any time, which is a nice addition. However, adjusting the level only seems to affect the number of power-ups (health, ammo,...) that show up in each level.


Game Mechanics:

The only aspect of the control system that really got under my skin was the jumping. I'm all for jumping in FPSs, but only if they are handled well. Exodus from the Earth goes overboard with the jumping areas; there are several times where you'll need to clear rocks or stacks of boxes. The problem is that it is incredibly hard to judge distance or even where you are in relation to the game world. In hindsight, the jumping obstacles slow the pacing down and probably aren't needed.

Jumping aside, the rest of the game handles incredibly well. Controls are mapped to the standard WASD/ Mouse setup and have a nice, tight feel even during the driving portions. Aiming isn't jittery either, so killing enemies is never a problem. The weapons selection is familiar, though the secondary fire mechanics feature a few nice twists, such as the tri-barreled shotgun.

Again, if you're looking for the next big thing in FPSs, Exodus from the Earth isn't it. Think of it as the gameplay equivalent of music's "Old Standards"; it isn't exciting or new, but is solid enough that it is still enjoyable.


-Starscream, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ricky Tucker

Minimum System Requirements:



Windows XP/Vista; Pentium 1.8 GHZ or AMD AthlonXP 1.8; 512 Mb RAM; 7 GB free HDD space; 128 Mb VRAM; Direct X9.0c
 

Test System:



Windows Vista; 1.6 GHz Dual-Core processor; 2 Gig RAM; DVD drive; 120 GB HDD; GeForce Go7600; Cable Internet Connection

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