Generation Zero – Review
Follow Genre: First-person survival
Developer: Avalanche Studios, Avalanche Publishing
Publisher: Avalanche Studios, Avalanche Publishing, THQ Nordic
Platform: PS4, PC, Xbox One
Tested on: PS4

Generation Zero – Review

Site Score
7.0
Good: The setting, Unique story, Huge map
Bad: Gunplay is horrible, Graphics are simple
User Score
4.5
(2 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 4.5/10 (2 votes cast)

When Generation Zero was first announced, there was a lot of hype surrounding it. A retro futuristic survival game set on a remote island in the 1980s with robots was an abstract idea that many people seemed to enjoy. With the generated traction, many gamers wanted to see the game released sooner rather than later, but it seems that this title has been rushed a bit too fast.

Story

The game takes place in the 1980s, although its origin is much deeper. After World War II had destroyed Europe, Sweden was lucky to remain unscathed, but this came at a cost. Having to make deals with Hitler to ensure integrity wasn’t too well received by the population. After the fall of the German army, Sweden decided to invest greatly into military apparatus and training the civilians in combat, all sponsored by the newfound riches that thrived due to the economic boom. This overall setting made Sweden prepared for any incoming invaders, or did it? The story kicks off with you and a couple of classmates visiting a remote island. When you try to get back by boat, it is hit by an explosive projectile fired from the shore. All mystery starts as you fight for survival on this large, lightly inhabited island. Story progression isn’t that great; you are forced to have interactions like in Fallout 76 to get all your information from papers or lost logs, whereas it would have been better to have NPCs to talk to in order to get sucked even deeper into the lore.

Graphics

When the game was presented, it was done with some pretty good visuals. However, now with the release, there seem to be some adjustments made because the game doesn’t look all that great. There is a clear difference between exteriors and interiors. The map is huge, and it is loaded in all the time with interiors immediately accessible. This will take a lot of processing power at the cost of quality. Overall, the countryside looks decent and characters look nice, but interiors are not that great and weapons feel like they are free assets from a 2005 build-your-own-fps-maker game.

Sound

When starting up the game, you are welcomed by this catchy typical 80s Synthwave menu music. This will get you in the mood to get back to the retro setting of Generation Zero. While creating your character, you will recognize all the subcultures from that era and the mood is immediately set. However, when dropping into the game, everything is silent at first. This is done to create a creepy atmosphere because you don’t know what is happening and are hurt. Overall, the game is pretty decent with nice sound effects of the creepy robots and an alert music is played in combat so you know stuff is going down.

Gameplay

Generation Zero is a survival game viewed from the first-person perspective that also uses various RPG elements. The game starts with you and some friends (only when playing online) visiting a remote island. The moment you want to return to the main land you get bombarded from the shore, leaving you hurt and dazed, having to find out what is happening. You start with absolutely nothing and must check out the house nearby for items, this is where you will find your first gear and get introduced to the many items that can be found around the island. From firearms to medical equipment and distractions, all will be needed to ensure survival. Still not knowing what is going on, you find a note that redirects you to a location a few kilometers up ahead. At first sight, there is nobody and no sign of a real threat, but after a while you will get surprised by something that seems friendly at first but shall attack on sight. Weird animal-like robots walk the lands, in search for survivors, and are out there to ensure nobody makes it out alive. These robots are equipped with machine guns and sharp claws to engage you in close combat and at long range. Here comes a first flaw in the gameplay of Generation Zero as aiming is far from perfect and even so difficult that you’d rather run away than engage. Surely, the game emphasizes using stealth rather than engaging into combat but fending for yourself can be more difficult than thought. Aiming is clunky and feels like playing a shooter on the Nintendo 64.

If you have to get away in a pinch, there are many distraction items available, from loud boomboxes that will distract the robots to fireworks that will mess with the sensors on their bodies. Naturally, the game has thought of everything, even clothes aren’t merely cosmetic. Through looting, you will find different clothing parts that all have unique abilities, some will be bullet-resistant, others will increase stealth and protect you from fire.

Since this game combines many elements from survival, shooting and RPG, you will notice the large skill tree in the menu. These skills will help you ease the survival and, on many occasions, you will earn XP to buy these skills. You killed an opponent, successfully evaded a hunting party, or you might be agile and were able to run away from combat? Everything results in experience that you gain, and this isn’t lost upon death. Now when an enemy takes you down, you get into this ‘downed’ state, where teammates or you yourself can heal you with an adrenaline shot. If you haven’t got this anymore, you can give up and respawn at the closest safe house. You won’t lose any items or experience, so death will only set you back the many kilometers you have walked. Another RPG element are the quests, which are given to you by collecting notes scattered around the map. This seems awfully inspired by another game and gets the same reception by it, it just isn’t fun to go around and collect notes to fill your story. At least Generation Zero pulls it off a bit better by having good indicators in place and having a deeper lore.

Conclusion

Generation was a bit overhyped at first, although it does have this mysterious storyline and beautiful setting in an alternate 1980s theme. With survival in place you must scavenge your way across a large map that is inhabited by dangerous robots that only have one job: take you out. With the game preferring stealth and being passive, it feels that the developers might have skimped on the gunplay for this reason, since it doesn’t control well at all. You will have a lot of items at your disposal for getting away from these hostiles and the overall scarcity of goods indicates how severe the situation is. You are fighting for survival, and trying to find out what’s happening, to protect you from the elements. Sadly, the graphics have taken such a dive in quality, but that might have been to ensure fluent frame rates across the map without having to load in too long.

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Rating: 4.5/10 (2 votes cast)
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Generation Zero - Review, 4.5 out of 10 based on 2 ratings
MC_JP
MC_JP


Never give up on a dream. It might be a long nightmare, but one day it will change into a beautiful reality - MC_JP 2014

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