[PS4 Review] Axiom Verge
Perfect Metroid-Vania Game10
Long Awaited indie title Axiom Verge is finally here, combining elements from Metroid and Contra to deliver an awesome Metroidvania!
This is the action-adventure you’ve been waiting decades for. You play the role of a scientist who seemingly perishes in an accident, only to awaken in a mysterious, alien world. Is this a distant planet? The far future? Or a complex virtual-reality computer simulation?
Plumb the recesses of a large, labyrinthine world in order to learn what it is and why you are here.
Discover tons of weapons, items, and abilities, each with their own unique behaviors and usage. You’ll need your wits to find them all.
Combat bizarre biomechanoid constructs, the deadly fallout of an ancient war, and the demons of your own psyche.
And finally, break the game itself by using glitches to corrupt foes and solve puzzles in the environment.
Axiom Verge on PS4 and PS Vita — Announce Trailer
I have been waiting for Axiom Verge since I first heard the concept and saw the reveal trailer. I knew this game was something special and after playing 25 hours of the game boy was I right.
One of my big regrets early in my NES life, was not playing the original Metroid (or Super Metroid on the SNES). At the time, titles like Zelda and Mario seemed more alluring to me However as I have gotten older I have found myself attracted to the Metroidvania titles like Guacameele, Terraria, and Cave Story. I purchased both Metroid, and Super Metroid from the Virtual Console to give them a try, and couldn’t get into them due to the outdated game mechanics. They just didn’t have the freedom that I am used to having with the current generation of games.
Enter Axiom Verge. This game was developed by one man over the past four years. At its heart, this is a spiritual sequel to the original Metroid with a very similar visual style while using modern game mechanics and weapons. It is a perfect marriage of old-school and new-school gaming. Axiom Verge also uses all of those old Nintendo glitches and screen flickering you remember but in a unique way making it part of the gameplay with part of your goal to explore the world in strange and unique ways.
The game opens with you mysteriously waking up in a large egg-shaped cylinder after a large explosion at your lab. There is a voice that guides you to finding a gun called the Axiom disruptor. It’s a standard single bullet gun that you are used to seeing in games like these, but it’s more than enough to take on the early enemies you will encounter in the game. As you begin to explore this unique and different world, you will find situations where you cannot proceed further, stopped because you do not have the right item to keep on going. The first such tool you will receive after beating the boss is a Drill, which can be used to destroy bricks and parts of the environment that you may not realize can be destroyed. This is your main tool for exploration., and along the way you will receive special abilities that allow you to teleport through walls, hack glitched areas, grapple ceilings, and even send a little drone out for those small areas.
Some of the weapons include a standard shot, a shot that makes a fire rise from the ground, lighting that locks onto enemies in the area(this became my main one once I found it), once that send a pulse out then the pulse shoots pulses below and above it as it goes across the screen. There are over 20 weapons in the game overall, and I still have to find a few. Axiom Verge has tons of variety, giving you creative ways for you to move through the levels, especially once you start backtracking, to find things you had to miss.
Often you will find yourself using these abilities in conjunction with each other to reach out of way areas. At one point I had to throw a drone into the air, grapple to the ceiling, jump past a ledge, and then throw my drone higher into the air again to reach a pipe to an out of reach area. You will have to learn how to use your abilities together, or you may not be able to proceed further.
One of the weapons the I mentioned above is called the Address Disruptor. It is almost the equivalent of a game genie in some ways. You can use it to get past pixelated which are unexplorable until you have it, or use it on enemies in the game which will cause them to glitch out. Each enemy gets a different effect when you use it, and typically their visual style is altered as well. One would destroy walls which I couldn’t, and another let me control it so I could use it to hit a switch. This is a really cool addition to the game, making you think how can you use your enemies to your advantage.
The game visuals in the game are awesome, pulling from that old NES era of games. They are really reminiscent of the original Metroid on the NES. As I said earlier, the game really needs to be in this era as it uses those old glitches and screen flickering as part of the game. Your character looks cool and means business, all of the enemies in the game are really unique as well, giving me different challenges when I hit different areas. There are a few enemies that are palate swaps from older ones, but only in a few locations which is a great. The sound is awesome using those old chiptunes and sounds from games gone by while still giving it a very eerie sounding feeling really adding a lot to this atmosphere, while you explore this abandoned world.
The game has a map that is very simple representing each room with a box. It helps you navigate throughout the large map, but I would have liked to see some more detail in the maps themselves. Often I would find items or weapons that I could not reach, as I didn’t have the right abilities. It would have been great if it marked the map for you to come back or let you make your own personal notes on squares to help you keep track. Definitely not a deal breaker, but would have been a great modern addition. Also I should mention while most people will experience the same maps laid out the same ways, about 15% of the map is randomly generated ensuring that people see different areas and add some uniqueness to each playthrough.
The game also had a speedrun mode which keeps track of how long you have been playing for with a timer, removing dialogue and the random elements in the game so you can focus on beating the game as quick as possible. Really cool for those who love to do that, and this should provide for some really interesting twitch streaming.
The game is cross-buy with the PS Vita version… which isn’t ready yet. That being said when it is ready you will be able to download to your portable handheld, and I suspect that this game will be great on that platform if not better. Hopefully, the game will support cross-save as well when the Vita version launches, that way you can take your PS4 game on the road.
There are 30 trophies in total. 1 Platinum, 7 Gold, and 22 Bronze trophies. A bunch you will get from playing the story, some are for getting 100% completion on the maps, as well as all weapons, items, health, and powerups. There are some for speedrunning and completing the game with less than 40% of the games items. If your insane, or really skillful, there is a trophy for completing the game without dying! I have a feeling that one will keep people from the platinum as I died 69 times in my 25-hour playthrough.
I obsessed over this game. When I was playing it, I would explore each room often using the drill against every wall, attempting to teleport through all of the walls, and finding any secrets I could. When I wasn’t playing I was thinking about how to get past areas that I couldn’t get past, and what was coming next. This game took over my life, and there are not many games that have managed to do that. This is the best game I have played all year, and might possibly be the best come the year’s end. Any issue I had with it was small, and, for the most part, this is a perfect game. Everyone owes it to themselves to play this game and experience what I did. For some added value, play without using any aid from the internet like I did – It feels even more rewarding when you play that way.
This review is based on a copy of Axiom Verge provided by Thomas Happ Games.
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