ZHEROS and The Forgotten Land DLC Review

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Posted May 2, 2017 by Josh Brant in Video Games

Developer: Rimlight Studios

Publisher: Rimlight Studios

Release Date: April 25, 2017

Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC

ZHEROS was originally released back in 2016 for the Xbox One and PC. Now with the release of the first DLC The Forgotten Land over a  year later, Rimlight hopes to reinvigorate the classic beat ‘em up formula for the PS4 audience. While the DLC does add some nice new locales, a new playable character, more varied move-sets, and other minimal additions, the core gameplay hook just doesn’t hold up if you don’t have friends to play with.

                                        

Traveling To Distant Lands

As previously mentioned, The Forgotten Land DLC per Rimlight’s official site, adds a new playable character, eight new levels ranging from wilderness areas to cities, a new vehicle, new moves to expand your arsenal, and powerful/mystical creatures trained to help you on your journey. The story is basically the same as the original game with Dr. Vendetta coming back once again to get his revenge on the squad, just this time the setting is in an ancient mysterious land. More or less, the story is just there to push the action along.

The fighting and combat for the most part is quick, if a bit stilted at first as you get to grips with the combo layout, but once you play past the first few levels which serve largely as the games tutorial, enemies come thick and fast enough to achieve high multipliers through well placed button presses. A few enemies require certain attacks in order to make them vulnerable, such as the shield carriers who need a charged heavy attack directed at them before they drop their shield, but each new enemies weakness is easy to exploit as they are introduced and does not cause too much of a problem if taken out accordingly.

A Tedious Occassion

While the characters and animations are nice to look at, the level design displays all of the hallmark signs of recycled and reused. Pathways repeat endlessly, with nothing to differentiate one area from the next. The levels will repeat ad nauseum, leaving you hoping for the repetitive stages to just end. This is a problem as is, but add the generic swarms of “same-y” enemy types to fight over and over again, there is just not much to look forward to.

As you progress through the game, you can add more combos to your arsenal by smashing crates and picking up the gems contained therein to earn upgrades, which you can then select between levels, assuming you’ve collected sufficient gems to do so. Each hero can also jump and dodge, and fire a special weapon if their weapon bar is charged up. It’s a quite comprehensive and varied movement system which works well, however, the execution is exceedingly poor. It does not really matter to unlock new skills as you can take on most of the enemies the same way. While each hero has different fighting styles which were intended to feel different, the strategy for fighting remains the same with each character.

Beating To A Pulp

The main problem I find with ZHEROS is not how the characters or enemies are presented, as they give off a nice Saturday morning cartoon look, but how much style and soul is missing from the experience. None of the humor you would expect to see from the zany visuals happens here, and a few of the jokes which do work aren’t enough to provide respite from the doldrums of the environments. Luckily, the music features a nice dubstep ring, providing a spark to an otherwise average side-scrolling fighter.

Overall, ZHEROS has some good exterior elements, like the combo system and flashy graphics. Unfortunately, though, the gameplay is just too repetitive with the lack of varied settings/environments and enemies, and difficulty spikes just too frustrating for the game to be worth recommending to anyone other than hardcore beat em’ up fans who are looking for a challenge. It’s good to see Rimlight Studios trying to bring back the classic feel of side-scrolling beat ’em ups, but sadly it’s just not polished and varied enough to hold your attention for more than a few gameplay sessions.


About the Author

Josh Brant

I love God, my family, friends, sports, and the greatest hobby of all: video games! You can reach me on twitter @minusthebrant.