While playing the game, I kept trying to think of the word that described this game. That word is generic. About the only stand out part of this game was the level design. The protagonist, Conrad B. Hart, is nothing special at all. While playing through the game you don’t ever really feel anything at all towards Hart and he just seems like a combination of the most bland gaming main characters. The gameplay is just point the gun and shoot with a lack of anything to spice it up at all. The game technically has a level-up system where you can upgrade certain abilities throughout the game, but it never really seems to make much of a difference . It will be discussed in further detail in the next section, but one of the other generic aspects of the game is the story.
As mentioned in the last section, the story is about as generic as it can get. The original had a little story spread out throughout the game, but it wasn’t what made the original game good. This one seems to try a little too hard with awkward conversations and a plot that is pretty much nonsense after awhile. The original game’s way of giving a little story made the game a more mysterious experience. This one just seems to be pandering to the modern gamer that think has to have an intertwined story throughout, which this type of game really did not need. The point of a game like Flashback should be the gameplay, and while the story isn’t terrible, it just really didn’t need to be expanded upon like it was.
Made Too Easy
The exploration style of the original game reminded me a lot of the classic Metroid games where you really don’t know where to go and just have to explore the world and figure it out on your own. However, the remake takes pretty much any of this away in an attempt to make the game easier, in what I guess was another way to pander to the modern gamer. This version now gives you a map on the screen at all times that essentially always shows you where to go. As you move, the line on the map shortens until you arrive at your destination. This pretty much means you won’t be doing any exploration while going through the levels, which is a real shame considering one of the game’s highlights is its level design. Oddly enough, it is very reminiscence of another Metroid game, Metroid Fusion. However, it was done much better to where it didn’t ruin the experience.
VectorCell Studios tried to bring a classic game back from the past, but this was just a case of a remake that did not work out well. It just seemed outright clumsy throughout various aspects of the game that should have been improved on, especially the control scheme. They also tried to appeal to a wider audience with an expanded story, but it just feels unneeded most of the time. As said above, a game like Flashback just needs to have solid platforming and controls, with a little bit of story to compliment it. However, it seems that they chose to focus on the less needed elements more this time around. Luckily the game is only 800 Microsoft Points ($10) so it isn’t a terrible buy at that price, but it really just doesn’t stand out from the crowd whatsoever. Flashback is available now for Xbox 360 and will be released on Playstation 3 and PC in the near future.
[Editor’s Note: Flashback was reviewed on the Xbox 360 platform. The game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]Flashback (Xbox 360) Review,