Review: Gemini: Heroes Reborn (PS4)

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Title: Gemini: Heroes Reborn
Format: PlayStation Network Download (17.47 GB)
Release Date: January 26, 2016
Publisher: Phosphor Games
Developer: Phosphor Games
Original MSRP: $14.99
ESRB Rating: T
Gemini: Heroes Reborn is also available on Xbox One and PC.
The PlayStation 4 download version was used for this review.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Gemini: Heroes Reborn is a first-person action-adventure that follows the story of Cassandra as she explores an abandoned facility in hopes of finding information about her parents to uncover the secrets of her mysterious past.

Gameplay:
The combat in the game revolves around the powers Cassandra discovers she has with the first part focusing on stealth. Cassandra has the ability to time travel jump between 2008 and 2014. She also has the ability to open a portal and peer into the other time.

These are awesome powers for a stealth game but the combat lacks any real finishers. My first thought when thinking of a stealth game is sneaking up behind someone and choking them out. It would be amazing to grab a guy from behind and jump to the other time.

Maybe you could open a portal and watch the other enemies freaking out from the noise of someone’s gun hitting the floor and no one being there. Imagine running head on at an enemy and jumping back and forth between 2008 and 2014 so you disappear right in front of him and re-appear right behind him. That is a great feeling until you realize your character has no melee attack and none of that is possible in this game.

… you never feel that powerful …
Instead, everything focuses on Cassandra using her telekinesis to throw items at her enemies. This is fun at first, but since it is the only way to take out enemies it very quickly becomes repetitive. If you pick up a locker and crack an enemy in the head with it, he will go down. Then he will get back up and you will have to hit him again.

Later, the player has the ability to catch enemy bullets and throw them back at the enemy. The problem is the enemies will never shoot at you when you want them too. Too many times I turned around after being shot in the back waiting for the enemy to fire again. The enemy instead looked at me, turned around, looked up at the ceiling, looked back at me, and waited a few seconds to fire. Me, I’m just standing there and waiting.

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If I caught the next few bullets and missed the enemy when I threw them back, I would have wait all over again. It’s a game centered on having multiple amazing superpowers and yet you never feel that powerful. I understand there has to be a limit to your abilities so the game is not too easy. However, the combat does not feel fully fleshed out.

While superpowers can make for great combat, it can also allow for interesting puzzles. The player traverses puzzles as Cassandra jumps back and forth in time and also slows down time. The puzzles are well done for the most part but could use a little more variety.

… a lot of fun throwing a bunch of lockers in the air …
Some are as simple as “jump to the other time”, while others are much more complicated and require the player to use a combination of abilities and switching back and forth between times. There is satisfaction from completing the various puzzles, but there is never that “a-ha” moment from completing that really tough one. I never had that “I am a genius” feeling.

All of that said, I had a lot of fun throwing a bunch of lockers in the air and then watching them all come crashing down at the same time.

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The story connects with the Heroes Reborn: Enigma mobile game and the NBC TV show, Heroes Reborn. For full disclosure, I have not watched the TV show since the first season which aired in 2006. That said, I believe the story of this game would do little for true fans of the series.

For the first two-thirds of the game there is not a real story and even in the last third the story is minimal. The whole point of the game revolves around the last mission or two. There are plenty of collectibles to find, but few are actually worth finding. A good collectible should really add something to the lore.

… it feels empty …
In the email with the review code, reviewers were asked to not rush the review, but to take time and explore. The problem is there is not much to explore. There are only a few hidden rooms or paths to find, and that is where some of the collectibles are hidden. Taking the time to slowly walk around a room and look at every object adds little to the game. There is no story or lore to be gleaned from examining each room.

Visuals:
The graphics are good enough but not great. There is little enemy variety and even less variety among the same enemy type. The enemies in the picture below are identical.

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The abandoned facility is boring and sterile. In the “past” time, this huge facility should have been alive with people and yet it feels empty. For the most part, the only people you come across are the enemies.

It is understandable that Gemini: Heroes Reborn will not be winning any awards for best looking game of the year, as the art team had to design each level for 2008 and 2014. It is interesting to see how the facility changes over the years and how nature is slowly reclaiming it. But that still does not change the fact that the visuals leave something to be desired.

… a completely average and unmemorable game …
Audio:
There is nothing special about the audio. There is some background music that rises and falls with the tension of the game. If you stand still you can quietly hear the facility’s systems running in the background. There is some pop from the sound effects when you use your abilities along with the crashing sound when Cassandra picks up various objects and throws them at her enemies.

Online/Multiplayer:
This game is singleplayer only with no online component.

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Conclusion:
Gemini: Heroes Reborn is not a horrible game, it is just not an easy game to recommend. There is nothing fundamentally defective with it and there are no game ruining bugs. It simply seems to miss every chance to be something good or great. Instead it is a completely average and unmemorable game.

The story is non-existent, the combat is repetitive, there is not enough puzzle variety, and the graphics by no means are pushing the PS4 to the limits, but if you love easy Platinum trophies and know what to expect from the game, there is still some joy to be found.

Score:
5.0

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

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