Earth’s Dawn slipped onto the store last week, but does the 2D hack-n-slash title deserve a place in your collection?
At first glance, Earth’s Dawn has a certain charm to it. Big beefy male characters and suspender clad female characters are clearly geared towards gaining your attention, and while the characters seem somewhat out of place in the battle torn surroundings, there’s enough appeal to keep your eyes on the screen.
These characters are part of an elite fighting force and it’s their job to battle the invaders known as the E.B.E. The E.B.E are aliens that vary from anthropoids to quadrupeds and everything above or between.
Fighting this alien invasion with weaponry created from the E.B.E’s own technology seems like the only way to defeat them. So your character heads out with their extra-terrestrial saber on a flurry of missions to perform the repetitive task of clearing a screen full of enemies, before walking for a while to meet another screen full of enemies, before you reach the last screen which finally displays your mission completion stats.
Soon enough the story takes a back seat, and the list of quests become quick bite-size blasts which are thankfully fun and rewarding.
Gameplay is best described as a 2D Devil May Cry (DMC). The ‘X’ button is your sword attack and ‘Y’ fires your gun, and with a similar level of reliance on sword-play as you’ll find in games like DMC and Bayonetta, bullet juggling proves just as important when it comes to maintaining a combo. With a little practice, even some of the strongest enemies can be taken down quickly with a more advanced combination, and there’s a great feeling of accomplishment when you chain from one enemy to the next without taking damage while dealing plenty of your own.
The variation of enemies help to mix up your approach, and while you may find a few simple combos you prefer; mixing things up will help when you’re forced to face numerous enemy types at once.
It’s unusual to see such a complex battle system in a genre that would usually house more basic combat techniques, but this does help to appeal to a wider audience.
Games like Destiny and The Division have come under enough criticism in the past due to their reliance on the loot grind, but Rising Star Games and developers Oneoreight obviously felt those two sold well enough. However the question remains: does Earth’s Dawn hold enough appeal for people to bother with the grind?
To give a straight response the answer would have to be yes, but it’s not always that easy. Sure enough the upgrades you’ll obtain feel powerful and effective, and finding great new loot provides more of an accomplishment than your average 10 gamerscore; but retreading your steps time and time again, over the same area, to battle similar enemies, performing the same selection of combos doesn’t sound as appealing when the story comes across as so distant. It boils down to your only accolade being the chance to do the same all over again with a slightly more powerful weapon.
Earth’s Dawn proves a competent title both audibly and visually but there’s a few design choices that don’t quite make sense. Nothing is advanced enough that they couldn’t have offered more variety in locale; and why on earth you have to head out as a mob, only for your comrades to disappear every time there’s a sign of battle is beyond me. It just makes you feeling like a child getting bullied as his ‘friends’ disappear into the shadows time and time again.
Thankfully Earth’s Dawn certainly does carry some appeal; partly for its inherent charm, but also thanks to the drive for loot and the feeling that the rewards are actually worth the upgrade.
This goes some way to make up for the repetition, but it’s worth taking into account if this could be a problem or a blessing when deciding on the purchase.
I found the combat fluent, fun and rewarding and gaining a good mission rank, and the relevant loot made it a rewarding experience. The limited background and locations quickly start to wear a little thin, but I found myself able to play more and more purely because of the strong combat and loot system.