First of all I intentionally picked a few games that I had never heard off, which consistently got low reviews from the main media sources, and then I did some internet research, before playing them with an open mind whilst remembering the on-line and in-print comments.
I intended to see if I thought all these games are genuinely awful, or if there is possibly something more to the general review trends? After all there’s truth to the old axiom ‘know your audience.’
Me, well I’ve absolutely no idea who reads this stuff: So this one’s for you Anon...
Panned Games - Review 2: NeverEnd.
The second game on my ‘Panned Games’ list is NeverEnd, an old-style fantasy based RPG game for the PC.
This one got a Metacritic score of a whole two stars, then came the usual, band-waggon jumping, derogation on YouTube and various other 'games fan' blogs.
It subsequently gained a bit of an anti-fan following in certain gamming-circles.
But was this deserved?
The lead character is female, but not necessarily in a ‘Cor look at them pixles,’ Lara-Croft type of way...
Following thw fall of the evil Enakhaan, the powerfull wizard Sarthaan - banished all non-human magical beings to another realm, amongst those that were driven from their land were noble warriors and mages from the race known as Auren. Now, only a few remain, lost in a world that hates them.
Agavaen is a young Auren, living as an outcast and travelling with a band of thieves.
Her magical powers are starting to grow and now, aged 20, she is beginning to wonder what her future might hold.
And so says the blurb, but what does this mean for game-play?
The game is played over a series of fixed viewpoint backgrounds, some of which scroll as you move the character through them. Camera angles, and distances, vary from scene to scene, in much the same way as the original Resident Evil games did, although the overall feeling here is much more spacious, although some internal locations do give a good claustrophobic feeling.
I’ve heard this referred to as a ‘Girls Game,’ apparently in a derogatory manner, although I’m not sure why. The lead character is female, but not necessarily in a ‘Cor look at them pixles,’ Lara-Croft type of way… Although some of the characters aren’t exactly dressed for winter.
There is also a certain degree of resource management involved, as you can only carry and wear a limited amount of items, so some swapping and decision making is required.
None of this gameplay is exactly new or innovative, but then it wasn’t intended to be.
This game looks and plays like what it is, an old-style Nintendo/Sega-esque RPG, with a (relatively) new and shiny lick of graphical paint.
The original release of NeverEnd had a game-play bug that could potentially result in a player becoming stuck, and unable to completing the game. An upgrade patch was quickly released to fix this, as well as update some of the graphics etc., and should be applied to any version of the game. But hay, potential bugs never did MS Windows any harm, right?
Unfortunately I think the biggest quibble about the games mechanics was based on the fact that this superficially looks like a third person action game, but is in fact a turn based RPG game.
And to be fair it does say that on the box.
Taken for what it is, and not for what some people thought it should be, I think this is an adequate and playable little game. It doesn’t push the gaming envelope at all. But it isn’t ‘horribly broken’ ether, as I’ve heard it described before. The graphics are adequate for the job in hard, and although there are some slight glitches in the combat system this isn’t enough to detract from the playability of the game. Although it may not be for the type of player who drools over the graphics in the latest and greatest top-budget FPS, and expects flawless action based gameplay.
NeverEnd isn’t flawless by any stretch of the imagination, but I think it does have a certain steady-paced allure, quirkiness, and retro-charm about it that makes it a decent game, especially for the old-style RPG enthusiast.
I think it deserves at least a 5.5 out of 10, on any open-minded list.
Not mind-blowing, but playable and enjoyable; if you like 'propper' turn-based RPGs…