Personal Rating: "Get it while on a decent sale"
Traditional Rating: 5/10
Genre: Action Platformer/Sidescroller
When I first heard about A.R.E.S Extinction Agenda, a small flutter of excitement overcame me. You see, I grew up on Mega Man and his countless adventures on the NES - with some of those games still to this day being able to rekindle a gaming joy within me when I feel the current slew of gaming titles are doing nothing but putting a damp squib on my desire to play and complete them. There is just something inherently appealing to me about 2D platform side-scrollers that I will always love (again this is probably due to my younger years harboring an almost fanatical fascination with games like Contra and Mega Man) so I didn’t hesitate for a second to add A.R.E.S to my collection. At the time it was touted as Episode 1 in an ongoing series of episodes and the price-tag of $9.99 back in 2010 I felt was a little steep for what was essentially a downloadable first chapter.
It appears something went awry as 2013 is almost at its end and A.R.E.S has yet to see an Episode 2. Searching the game developers bare-bones website, http://www.x10interactive.com
, it appears not much has been going on for quite some time which leads me to believe they are most probably now defunct which is sad in any event but after playing through A.R.E.S (once back in 2010) and now recently in 2013 (for the Steam Trading Card business) I can’t help feel that they had much of a future to begin with. A.R.E.S for all intents and purpose tries so desperately to mimic the successes of the past games yet doesn’t even come close. The entire game feels like a cheap imitation of a mid-nineties Mega Man game and the kicker is that is poses very little to no challenge at all. Even ramping up the difficulty levels does very little to put it on par with some of the more challenging Contra and Mega Man fare released almost 20 years ago.
Whilst the 2D artwork may look nice and the techno buzzing soundtrack amiable providing the listener with tunes to hum to while playing, the platform jumping and shooting mechanics are somewhat borked and will have you flinging more than a few unkind words around the room. Boss fights are an absolute joke and require very little tactical thought on the player’s part where it is simply a case of find a corner and blast away until the enemy is no longer.
I had high hopes for A.R.E.S but in the end I can only lightly recommend this title. Since it appears we will see no continuation of the story, if you must pick up the game (particularly if you want the card drops) rather wait until this the game is being offered at a massive discount since currently there are a dearth of more endearing indies games you could be spending a tenner on.