STEVE MILES·TUESDAY, JULY 30, 2019
Is this game a “Blast” to play, and deserving a “Glowing” review? Or is not “Rad”, but “Bad, Bad, Bad”?
Welcome to Radiation City. A game that plunges you in a bitter search for a missing journalist, through a radiation infected environment, where nothing is quite as it seems. From the opening cutscenes,you are suddenly taken out of the comfort of your aircraft, that inexplicably plummets out of control and crashes to the ground. From the wreckage, there is just you, some small supplies, and a tablet that acts as a main hub for the game.The tablet displays your character, story,quest objectives, options and settings,and from looking around the area, the floor is scattered with numerous items(your first quest objective!)
First impressions of the environment are stunning! Grasses sway in the breeze, and the sun shines through the trees, leaving shadows across the roadside. So stunning in fact, that I decided to stop what I was supposed to do, and took photos.
In fact, here is one I took first thing in the morning..
What becomes apparent, is that various conditions need to be met,and items to be found in order to survive through this adventure. Food items to stop starvation, Water items to prevent thirst, and Anti radiation items to stop you glowing in the dark, and cooking a frozen ready meal just by touching it!Weapons (like Crowbar,Knife,Frying pan!?) and clothing(like Tops,Jeans,Boots) can be found also, and there is a crafting system in place, should you fancy a bit of DIY. Your character can also level up, by completing quest objectives, killing creatures, and each level earns a perk point that can be applied to areas like vitality, agility, starvation/thirst/radiation prevention etc.
This game certainly promotes exploration, and is pretty deep and realistic, with day and night cycles requiring strategic planning. There’s certainly no time to just stand around,and yet it’s as you walk around the area to explore and enter your first abandoned building, that things start to get a bit well.. Odd! You see, enter each room and every item in it, reacts like you are surrounded by an invisible force field, and lifts and levitates in the air, like a space rocket interior hitting zero gravity! Annoying it seems, but luckily any item that you can pick up and use, is highlighted accordingly and just a case of foraging through the levitated tables, chairs, and teacups, to get to….weird!
Creatures are constantly all around, and will react when you come within a certain distance near them. Each is hideously grotesque from the standard dismembered facial features of chaser monsters,that leap at you with arms flailing. Hunched humanlike forms moving like dogs, and speedy types, that run at you like Usain Bolt on rocket skates! and not forgetting the odd rad ravaged animal as well,to add to the mix. Ghosts also materialise and attack, which prompts me to call the enemies” creatures” and not ” zombies”. I mean a zombie cannot become a ghost, when it’s already dead, can it?! and then, if it was human and became a ghost, then why does it act like a zombie when it actually never became one?
Either way, and to be honest, their reactions and movement are not too great at times. Some will suddenly materialise and attack from out of walls and doors, yet because that’s not right and not expected, I actually think its more positive than any irritation or hindrance, because it ramps up the scares, shock and tension somewhat.
Vehicles can be repaired and driven for faster access to locations, with a note that if you have ever driven a go cart around an ice skating rink, you will be right at home with the handling here. Luckily, no traffic in your way on these barren roads with only creatures to bounce off the bonnet for quick kills.
Overall, its a stunning world, that’s marred by certain things that should not really happen, and could be addressed through updates and patches in the near future. Unfortunately though,this pales in comparison, to a major flaw that exceeds all the others,that I was unfortunate to uncover.
The save system will autosave at a certain location, and there is no save menu or save slots to backtrack to an earlier save either.Enter an area that contaminates you with radiation, and regardless of anti rad pills etc, you will lose energy, then die within a minute! The game will return to the title, then reload to your last location, where.. you guessed it, you are contaminated and will die within a minute again! It’s a vicious loop, where the only remedy was to go to the system menu, delete my game save data, then start all over again! Not good!
Yet, through these experiences in Radiation City, I’ve had laughter, confusion, oddities, and scares aplenty, but more importantly, fun! To be honest, this game was bordering on a 6 or 7 mark, but with the save situation, and with respect to the developers to give them time to fix issues with an update coming soon, an average score will be awarded just for now.
Thanks to Atypical games for the code and the correspondence.