|Blood and Gore, Suggestive Themes,
| The Good
Psychic powers are a nice change of pace
Excellent CG cutscenes
Soundtrack and voice acting are good
| The Bad
Feels slow and tedious in pace
Camera needs to be more responsive
Way too much backtracking
The sequel to the
Playstation game, Galerians: Ash has players take on
the role of the psychically empowered Rion. The story picks
up where the last game left off - Dorothy, a supercomputer gone
bad creates the Galerians, an artificial race of superpowered
beings, which are to aid her in taking over the earth. Rion
defeats her, but is "killed" in the process. His mind
is downloaded into the remnants of the computer and he's forced
to relive his treachery over and over again. Six years pass
until he finally breaks free and is restored to his body. It's
not long before Rion discovers that Dorothy has made one final
Galerian, Ash, who Rion must face and destroy.
Unlike your standard survival horror/action title, the main
character doesn't use weapons to fight off the enemy. Instead,
he has psychic powers, which can be used by taking PPECs (Psychic
Power Enhancement Chemicals). To start the game, you have
four different abilities, including a fire attack (Red), force
attack (Nalcon), gravity attack (D-Felon) and a shield, each
of which can be leveled up. During the game, you'll also gain
new abilities. To use your attacks, you must hold down the
Square button to charge it and then release to attack. Using
your attacks will deplete the amount of that PPEC in your
system, which can be recharged with capsules you find throughout
the game. But, you can't just use these abilities without
consequence - the more you use your abilities, the more your
AP (addiction points) gauge fills. Of course, you can find
items to reduce this gauge and fill your health gauge as well.
If your AP gauge fills, it's game over. Along with PPECs and
other items, defeated enemies will drop capsules that increase
your various skills and HPs, giving the game a touch of RPG
to the standard combat.
Visually, Galerians is built on a solid engine. The
locations have a good bit of size and show an attention to
detail. Spell effects and quality enemy and character design
give this game a strong visual style that manages to set it
apart from the competition. Probably the best part of the
graphics are the pre-rendered CG cutscenes which pepper the
game throughout and go a long way towards progressing the
story. The level of detail and mood in the cutscenes are exceptionally
sharp and among the best on the console to date. On the other
hand, though, the cutscenes told through the in-game engine
seem far less impressive as they show off the more clunky
character models in a close-up detail that does them no favors.
The audio portion of the game is well done. Music ranges
for ambient industrial to high-powered industrial techno throughout,
depending on the urgency of your location. When walking around
vacant locations, you'll be besieged with a soundscape that
lends itself to the odd, offbeat world of Galerians.
While not the best, the voice-acting is fairly good - only
stymied by a script that at time can be a little stale. For
the most part, though, you won't be assaulted with poor voice
acting and script (like many games in the genre that have
Galerians: Ash unfortunately suffers from a handful
of issues that keep it from being a topnotch title. First
and foremost is the pacing of the game which feels slow and
tedious at times. A lot of time seems spent walking from one
location to another, and since these areas are sizable and
Rion runs so slowly, you'll be wasting some time just in travel.
On top of that is the fact that you'll be spending a lot of
time backtracking just to initiate the next sequence of events.
Throw in a good number of cutscenes, and you may feel that
there's not enough fighting being done. The way this game
is presented lends me to believe that if the action had been
handled like Devil May Cry, where
the pace is a lot faster, the game would have come across
a lot more interesting.
Also, the in-game camera tends to be a little slow at catching
up with you at times, which often leaves you with a less than
useful view of the area, especially during the heat of battle.
And, while the graphics engine is pretty good, there are still
a good bit of "jaggies" (jagged polygon edges).
To correct this, though, the developers have thrown in a blurring
effect that just makes things look more hazy, especially when
turning the camera.
If you feel you can live with the way the game is paced,
you should find a good action title that presents a good story
and gives action gamers something different the the standard
survival horror title. Give Galerians: Ash a rent before
throwing down full-price for this game.