August 30, 2019 at 3:57 AM #674
Rating: 0.5 – Unplayable
Like Rain On Your Wedding Day
About a month or two, while writing my review for the infamous Hunt Down the Freeman, I wrote that bad games cannot be as enjoyable as bad films are due to the differences between the mediums. As Gene Rain comes along as a new contender for ‘Worst Game of 2018′, I stick by this statement. Gene Rain isn’t as frustrating as Hunt Down the Freeman but still manages to feel like it wastes your time. While Hunt Down the Freeman was far from even mediocre, Gene Rain seems to make some of its minor faults (such as the poorly done Audio) seem like child’s play by comparison. Saying that Gene Rain plays like a student project that could barely make for a D is an insult to failing student developers. The fact that this game is not only a supposed ‘full game’ but is also a multi-platform release is alarming on all levels. Gene Rain is funny… although, I don’t mean that in any sort of supporting way.
Since I love a good story, I feel like I should start here. The most positive thing I can say about this is that Gene Rain tries to tell a story. The presentation here seems standard on the surface. Under that surface, however, is a level of incompetence that I have yet to see matched. Cutscenes appeared to run below the framerate the game typically runs at, with them swinging around to characters who barely move at all. As a major film-buff, I’m glad to see that games have managed to make their cutscenes more cinematic. That said, as a major film-buff, the cutscenes in Gene Rain look about as cinematic as the home movies I made when I was 10 years old. Even funnier than the presentation is the voice acting. At least the voice actors in games like Bubsy, Ride to Hell: Retribution and even Hunt Down the Freeman sounded like they had good recording equipment on hand. The voice actors here sound like they didn’t even have a Rock Band microphone on hand when it came time to record their lines. The voice acting goes from bad to almost inaudible at points, which is pretty bad as a lot of the dialog here is what tells you the story. I know you’re thinking by this point ‘well, at least the game looks pretty?’ It doesn’t.
The accessibility of visually impressive game engines like Unreal Engine 4 is something that some modern developers might take for granted. Typically, if you have to spend money on a pretty looking engine, you might want to also spend the time and money to make sure the game doesn’t just have pretty lighting. Gene Rain doesn’t even try to do this. The textures here look almost primitive, with them being very pixelated and rough from a distance up to up close. Anything that doesn’t look this way appears to have been lifted from somewhere else. I make no exaggeration when I say that the starting rifle in this game looks like somebody bought a Pistol from an asset store and scaled it until they thought it might look different. The only thing that might look pretty about this game is the lighting, courtesy of whatever engine they used for this. I get the feeling that, again, you’re thinking ‘perhaps the gameplay isn’t bad?’ Of course, it is!
Gene Rain plays like a budget Gears of War… wait, let me rephrase that. Gene Rain plays like a budget Gears of War that is piggybacking off of the success of another budget Gears of War without properly understanding what made either game successful or enjoyable, to begin with. There’s nothing wrong with lifting ideas from other sources. Painters, Writers, Filmmakers, and, hell, even developers have been doing it for ages. That said, it’s one thing to use an idea somebody else had before you and an entirely different thing to use that idea without any flair of your own. Gene Rain has a cover system. Gene Rain has you sprinting from cover to cover to avoid enemy fire. Gene Rain has levels where everything looks destroyed by whatever you’re fighting. If Gene Rain could be any more generic, he’d be getting his name spelled wrong at his local Starbucks. The only original thing Gene Rain has going for it is some of the weakest sounding Sound Effects to ever grace a shooter. The guns in this game sound more like somebody mimicking gunshots with their mouth than they do a peashooter. This makes for an experience that feels bored with itself, waiting to move onto the next incomprehensible cinematic while it flicks the dirt (in this case, enemies) out of its fingernails. I know it feels like I’m using a lot of hyperbole here (which, to be honest, I sort of am), but make no mistake: the gameplay here is truly terrible. The only thing that makes it slightly bearable is that it isn’t filled with enough padding to make it float overseas like Hunt Down the Freeman is. The levels are laid out simply enough, the enemy placement makes sense, and the design overall doesn’t have the feeling of ‘baby’s first game’.
The thing that sucks the most about Gene Rain is that it’s ambitious. It wants to tell its own original story about a futuristic world. It wants to be this next-gen experience that immerses its players into this fantastical world of Fantasy and Sci-Fi mixed with Third-Person Shooting. It is, however, set back by the lack of talent that that type of game would actually require. Gene Rain is a victim of its own ambitions, never looking back to realize that what it set out to do might be better suited to more a more experienced team. Gene Rain sucks simply because it doesn’t know how to not suck. Playing this game in this mindset is like having rain on your wedding day, as Alanis Morissette pointed out in 1995.
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