Flashback (2013) – Review
Follow Genre: Action, Adventure, Platformer
Developer: VectorCell
Publisher: Ubisoft
Platform: PC, PS3, XBOX 360

Flashback (2013) – Review

Site Score
5.6
Good: Graphical update, story is ok, original version is included
Bad: Repetitive, awful lip-synch, lack of more weapons
User Score
9.0
(2 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 9.0/10 (2 votes cast)

Flashback is a remake of the classic game made in 1992 made by VectorCell. In 1992, the game was a huge success and it was even mentioned in the Guinness Worlds Records as the best-selling French game of all time. Now the question is, will Flashback 2013 do this cultgame justice?

(By the way, for those interested in playing the original version, the 1993 edition of Flashback is included when you buy the remake!)

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Story

You play as Conrad B. Hart, a GBI (Galaxia Bureau of Investigation) agent, plagued by the annoying problem of having a severe form of amnesia after having crashed his motorcycle in the jungle as he was fleeing from some alien-baddies. Not long after that, you’ll find a hologram of yourself telling you that parts of your memory have disappeared and that you need to find a man named Ian, who will be able to help you. Ian tells you that you’ve made back-ups of your memories in the past and that they’re hidden somewhere for you to find. Like this, piece by piece, your memory will be restored and uncovers a plot to destroy Earth. Of course, it’s your job that this doesn’t happen.

Flashback

Sound

Conrad’s voice isn’t quite as charismatic as his appearance seems to suspect. Occasionally he spits out some cheesy one-liners (imagine things like: “Time to party” and “The only thing I’ll ever be late for is my funeral”) and tries too hard to come over like a badass action hero (maybe this is also the reason why he looks a lot like Nathan Drake from the Uncharted series). The voice performances of the other characters are not very believable either and it’s a shame they haven’t put more effort into it.

For the music part, when you enter an area where enemies are situated, there’s a not so special “here-it’s-dangerous-watch-out” tune that soon becomes repetitive and boring. On the other hand the sound effects of, for example, gunfire and exploding droids are decent enough and give you the feeling that you’re not shooting around with some rubber bullets.

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Graphics

The graphics are certainly not top-notch but it’s of course a vast improvement over the 1992’s Flashback. The cutscenes are enjoyable enough to watch and the various flashbacks are shown through some pretty nice-looking, comic-style pictures. A real letdown though is the lip synchronization because it often seems that the characters are speaking some kind of foreign language as speech doesn’t match lip movement at all.

Environments have a lot of variation and the several special effects add some more spectacle to the screen. The last area especially was quite impressive to walk (and shoot) through.

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Gameplay

Before starting the game, you’ll have to choose one of the 3 difficulties and blink on or out tools that can aid you while playing. Having all the aiding tools on won’t provide much of a challenge so better keep that in mind if you don’t want your playthrough to feel like a stroll in the park.

Shooting is done by clicking the right mouse button to aim and the left to fire your gun. It needs some getting used to as it tends to feel quite awkward when a lot of enemies pop up around you. In the beginning, this might get frustrating but the more you play the more you’ll be able to handle the rather unstable combat system. What is more of an annoyance is the fact that you’ll be using a standard pistol throughout the whole game with the addition of some grenades. Even though the AI’s drop their weapons when they die, Conrad hasn’t got the sense to pick them up. Talking about the AI, they aren’t really what you’d call the most intelligent beings. After having shot his buddy right before the eyes, one of the enemies still pretended not to have heard or seen anything… some friendship right? There’s just a handful of different enemies and most of the time, you’ll be bugged by annoying droids who are easily beaten. After having shot down numerous amounts of those bots, it soon becomes way too repetitive to still be enjoyable.

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Flashback uses an experience points system that lets you earn skills points to invest in 3 different categories: accuracy, technology and stamina. Although I had invested a handful of points in each section, I didn’t really notice a difference while playing so it’s hard to say how much this RPG-like element influences gameplay.

Besides following the regular storyline, it’s also possible to test your skills in some Virtual Reality- challenges. Here you’ll have to fulfill some conditions to succeed like killing 5 drones within the time limit or picking up 20 balls of energy without dying. Although the number of challenges provides some more value, they probably won’t keep you busy for long.

For the collectors among us, there are the so-called Morph Eyes that hang around in each level. You’ll have a better chance of finding (and shooting) them when you turn your special goggles on which highlight all objects of interest.

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Conclusion

Unfortunately, this is a missed chance to bring Flashback back to its former glory. The controls aren’t fluent enough to keep you from getting irritated by it and overall the game simply doesn’t cut it. Shooting the same enemies over and over again gets tedious and boring fast and the dull voice acting causes you to take the story rather light than serious.  Add some terribly failing lip-synch to that and the character performances get quite laughable. Die-hard fans of the classic 1992’s game might give this remake a try, but for gamers who aren’t familiar with Flashback, I wouldn’t recommend picking this up.

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Flashback (2013) - Review, 9.0 out of 10 based on 2 ratings

5 Comments

  1. fflando
    fflando
    October 22, 2013, 3:27 am

    I remember the original from when I was a kid. Actually picked up a copy of it a couple weekends ago. I may have to give this one a spin…

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  2. Elexus
    Elexus
    October 22, 2013, 1:24 pm

    Hi fflando!

    Although the game on itself was kind of a let down, it’ll certainly bring back good (and bad?) memories and for nostalgia purposes it might prove its worth! 🙂

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  3. fflando
    fflando
    October 25, 2013, 7:26 pm

    On the subject of Remakes, I thought the xbox live DuckTales was fantastic. The boss battles were epic. I’d love to see more of this on XBL. :mrgreen:

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  4. Elexus
    Elexus
    October 29, 2013, 9:32 am

    DuckTales looks cool indeed, although I have never played the original. I might pick it up just because I loved the tv series as a child. 😀

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    • ThaMofo
      ThaMofo
      October 29, 2013, 12:51 pm

      Buy yourself a NES now! I haven’t had the chance to check out the remake yet. Loved the original one, even though it was hard as hell.

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