Original concepts are rare these days. Movies are remakes or sequels. Games follow the basic rules and go by what's popular, seldom creating anything new. Thus, it's nice to see such a different idea. And all the more sad when the overall experience proves to hold so little satisfaction. But we'll get to that. When a massive parasite lands on a planet, it immediately begins to have countless of underlings attack the life that inhabits it. That does not go by unnoticed, however, and you are sent to deal with the situation. In this third-person action title, you are put you in charge of a team of so-called Geno-hunters(which can be sent, traded, and used in MP); four humanoid, adaptable warriors that can absorb the DNA of anything once it's been killed and the carcass torn apart. They can even be reconstituted between missions, if you make it to the end with at least one surviving(mind you, working together is often required, and one of the best parts of this), and the one exception to this rule is clearly outlined in the briefing. Anyway, this means that every weapon/ability(a couple of them aren't terribly worthwhile) used against you can be yours after you eliminate the opponent, and you can collect all ten. These include breathing fire, shooting a cannon, a spore-based sub-machine-gun and launching extremely flammable mucus(!). All have infinite "ammo", that regenerates once you've used it, and two ways of using them, the regular and a "powering up" mode that is typically stronger, and slower to fire. A handful of them, you can't advance without, as the terrain holds many blockages that need clearing by specific means. Projectiles bounce a tad excessively, making hitting what you're aiming at tougher than it ought to be. You can also gather a couple that are always active, such as running, jumping, etc. The odd thing is that you collect these from the indigenous creatures, in spite of the fact that you were sent with the sole purpose of ensuring that they are not forced into extinction. Only once are you tasked with actually protecting them, and since you only control one of the GH's at a time(the one of your choice, and you can change with the push of a single button at any time), the three others *will* start attacking them once the onslaught of actual enemies are gone, and in order to prevent them, you will have to send them away(I guess getting time-outs is truly universal), lest you lose the attempt. On that note, the AI is actually fairly well-done. Seldom will anyone fall off a cliff(if they can't make the jump, they won't try it) or otherwise get themselves an early demise by the ludicrously dangerous areas you move around in, friend or foe alike. Of course, neither group ever run from battle, under any circumstances, or rescue each other, so if you intend to keep them breathing(...if they... do so, I don't actually know), you will have to keep an eye on them. Tactics can be employed, and are downright necessary, however, the only one that your buddies in this know is that of a frontal assault. Giving orders is nice and easy, you point to something and send everyone, one particular of the 4, or the "best" to go there if the marker is green, attack if it's red, and gather if it's blue. When you issue one, they'll let you know if they can or can't follow, by their little screen at the bottom flashing green or orange. The mutation system is fine, and a novel way to get new additions to your arsenal, though the customization is far too limited to have any impact. You get two different "directions" that you can choose from, and if you don't like the immediate options, you can request another set, or wait until you've collected more material. Maybe they were going for simplicity. I don't know. What they did was aim so low that it isn't that much more than an interesting feature. Had it been more, it could have lent real re-playability to this, which it desperately needs. It's not very long, for that matter, and you won't come back to this once you've completed it, unless you can find someone to play multi-player with. The game-play is repetitive, and only mildly addictive. It usually consisting of exploring, fighting and safely maneuvering the naturally occurring hazardous environments(somebody get me Freeman). Design in this is colorful and imaginative, as long as you look away from the levels. They're so flat, dull and too obviously made so they could be traversed. I can accept the tunnels, some of them dug by the baddies. Those convenient rock formations that prevent passing, and the mountains that inexplicably gradually slope upwards, making for a smooth stairwell... please. Graphics are great, there are almost no glitches, and those(sadly few) fully animated cinematics, and the lighting of them are absolutely gorgeous. The effects are cool. You get to visit unique(to this) lands once or twice. Audio is well-done, with nice music and fairly moody ambient sounds. Atmosphere is pretty good. Objectives are reasonably varied, if mostly using the ones we're used to. The bosses are decent enough. You can get lost a lot in this, since stuff looks the same, and the arrows that point to your goal, your other three members, North and to something you can pick up aren't that helpful, as they don't tell you where to go to get to it, only the direct route, and you can't always go that way. This is fairly challenging. It was a nifty decision to go all the way with the organic stuff in this; since there are no civilizations where you come to, and you bring no advanced technology other than the beings that you play as, there are no electronic devices in this. This has blood, and mild violence and moderate gore. I recommend it to those intrigued by this. 6/10
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