Final Exam (Xbox 360) Review
Zombie side scrolling beat-em-up title
The story of how the strangely named Final Exam got its title is quite a strange one. While you would assume it may involve a school in some way, you couldn’t be further from the truth. There was previously a series of games titled Obscure, which was developed by Hydravision Entertainment. Many of the people who worked with this company came together to create Mighty Rocket Studio. They announced that they were making a 2D sidescroller titled Obscure, which seemed kind of strange as it was the same title as the very different looking original series. The title was eventually changed to Final Exam this past July to avoid any confusion between the game and the previous series. The title seems fitting considering it really was a test to develop a game that could feel different and not just like more of the same with the over-saturated zombie market these days.
With any multiplayer side scrolling beat-em-up, it is vital to make the game be as easy to pick up and learn as possible. This allows for you to jump right in at any time with anybody, regardless if they have played the game before. Luckily, Final Exam is excellent at this due to a very simple overall gameplay system. The game provides a fairly short tutorial stage, which I recommend any newcomers to play first, but even if you choose not to, it really shouldn’t take you long to get used to it.
As with most beat-em-ups, you will have a main melee attack. With my character, that weapon was a bat that you never lose while playing. You also will start with a gun and grenades, both of which you can pick up ammo for as you play. Throughout the game, you also have the ability to find and unlock new weapons to use, but they are pretty well hidden as I hardly came across any through my full game playthrough.
When reading up on what the game was about prior to playing, one comparison I heard was to the Left 4 Dead series, and I couldn’t agree anymore. The Left 4 Dead series was always built on great multiplayer gameplay and customization with weapons. Final Exam provides something similar to what you would expect from a 2D Left 4 Dead game with a different types of zombies to face that can attack you in different numbers of ways
There are multiple different types of enemies, but the problem after awhile becomes repetition. A new creature type pops up ever so often, but you end up fighting so many hordes of enemies that they get old very fast. This is especially the case in the “Approaching Pack” segments where you are attacked by multiple groups of enemies in a row without a rest between. After awhile it begins to feel more like a button mashing contest rather than skill, which can lead to annoyance and tired fingers. It also doesn’t help that there is no health bar for any enemies outside of a few bosses during the game, so you have no idea how much you have left when in the middle of these long fights.