‘Generation Zero’ offers great concert, poor execution

Upon returning home from a short island vacation, you quickly realize that things are not the way they were. Without a soul in sight, and with every car, house, and street seemingly abandoned, the only thing to do is push forward.

“Generation Zero” is an open world, post-apocalyptic shooter where lethal machines have eradicated human life. The setting for the video game is an ‘80’s Swedish countryside setting with a retro vibe and small details that take the player back through time.

Generation-Zero-Screenshot-Tank-02-900x506Between the retro synth-wave music and neon-colored floppy disks lying around, the attention to detail in “Generation Zero” is impressive. The game is not without its issues and oversights, however.

“Generation Zero” falls into the survival genre of video games, but without as much depth as games that require the player to stay hydrated and well fed. The survival tools used are first-aid kits, boom boxes, fireworks and adrenaline shots, all of which are used to outsmart the machines or keep the player alive.

The idea of the game is very appealing, as the setting, the multiplayer options, and the combat against the machines all make for a top-tier game. Unfortunately, the game falls short in many areas. The first issue I noticed is clunky, outdated menus. The menus are next to impossible to navigate quickly and take up the entire screen. The inventory should be more of an overlay that only takes up half of the screen, with a special hotkey to pull it up quickly.

One complaint I’ve seen online is the way missions are handled. The player receives all instructions through old letters, notes, and answering machine recordings, with very little detail or direction regarding where to go and what to do. I enjoy the vagueness of the missions, because it encourages the player to explore and think about what they need to do.Instead of having a point on the map, or an arrow pointing to the objective, the “go here, do this” missions turn into adventures instead of errands.

The Swedish countryside is beautiful throughout all of the weather changes, sunrises and sunsets. The abandoned homes are packed with detail. However, there is not much variation in the homes you find throughout the game’s world. In a short, two-hour session, I visited the same residence five times at different regional locations. The only runnerdifference is where the loot spawns (if any) in the house.

The machines in this game HURT. It is what they were made to do, after all. The combat design and tools provided encourage outsmarting and ambushing machines by using guerilla tactics. But the machines can detect the player much sooner than the player can detect the machines, and set up a proper ambush or trap. This design ruins any actual depth and thought in initiating combat, forcing players to skirmish with the machines by throwing as many bullets and grenades at them as fast as they can.

“Generation Zero” is conceptually an excellent game. However, these issues cloud any good experience that comes with it. The combat is clunky, while the setting is beautiful yet repetitive. The game is much more fun with a team of friends, but playing in multiplayer crashes the game more frequently. It needs some work. Until it receives the polishing and attention it deserves, I rate “Generation Zero” a 4/10.

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