Earth's Dawn is a boring game, and it does nothing to help itself in that regard. The opening scene is stills with a Japanese voice over andEarth's Dawn is a boring game, and it does nothing to help itself in that regard. The opening scene is stills with a Japanese voice over and English text explaining how aliens invaded and almost wiped out humanity because our weapons couldn't harm them. It wasn't until we grafted their guts onto armor that we could fight. Now, this is a promising idea, unfortunately it's horrifically let down by weak combat that lacks instruction, a nonsense skill tree, and a failure of a story.
Let's start with the story which is easily the weakest part. It's weak because after that introduction there's nothing to latch on to. You are a generic create-a-character, either stick leg woman or Hulk sized man, neither of which are really artistically appealing. I'm not the kind of guy that thinks graphics matter, but this looks like it was designed on Newgrounds in 2008. The graphics certainly do, but the art style is this weird mix of anime and Gears of War that comes off as unnatural and awkward when put with what looks like flash animation for gameplay and realistic portrait art for cut scenes. There's no one in the story to latch on to because of this, and the only characters you'll see in the first half hour are boring and generic, which is a good term for this game. It's boring and generic.
The combat exemplifies this point because it's all done with one button (the other button shoots a gun, but the gun is trash because it's slow, nonautomatic, meaning you have to mash it faster than melee attacks for it to serve its one purpose, and you can just make the sword serve that purpose with upgrades) and directional input. Press up and Square, you launch the enemy. Down and square you get another move, etc. The problem is none of these are explained anywhere in the game. I had a whole fight where I couldn't stop throwing the enemy and I had no idea what did that. The worst part were flying enemies where I would sometimes tap a direction before attacking and do something completely different than what I wanted. You can chalk that up to inexperience, but I personally despise when holding forward while attacking isn't "Move forward and attack" but a separate combo altogether.
Combat also grades you based on some kind of criteria, but I also couldn't find that information anywhere. In something like Devil May Cry you can tell what they grade you on, getting hit and doing sick combos. Earth's Dawn I did a whole fight without getting touched, never stopped moving, probably did every combo I could do, and I got a friggin' B rank. It was the fastest and most fun fight I had in the whole time I played, and the game said, "Wow, that was just barely average" but another fight where I mashed Square to get through some basic scorpion enemies was an S. A fight where I used all the systems in the game and didn't get hit, B; a fight where I walked forward and mashed Square, S. What?
Even if this game had a budget and graphics these two core problems would still be there and it would still hamper the game greatly. None of the enemies are unique except in design. If you've played a beat em up in the past decade you'll know what all these guys do the moment they come on screen. The combat has some depth but without anything to explain it, and the apparent ease of mashing your way through a fight, there's not a lot of reason to dig into it. Worst of all was the story that reads like a typical alien invasion movie except for the bio armor idea, and ultimately no characters to latch on to and empathize with. It all leads to a game that had potential and squandered it by doing everything that every other game has already done without bringing anything new or changing up the formula in any significant way. The back of the box gave me promise, but in the end I was let down.
The game gets a 5/10 from me because there's nothing broken here, they delivered a product that works as intended, no glitches or bugs to be seen, but beyond working there just wasn't anything that stands out. The absolute pinnacle of mediocrity, like a bologna sandwich without condiments, it does what it's supposed to (turns on and runs) but fails to be memorable or unique.… Expand