[PlayStation 4] Genesis Alpha One Review
Genesis Alpha One from Radiation Blue and Team17 is a first-person action/exploration roguelike on PS4. Learn more about it in our Genesis Alpha One review!
You play as the captain of a Genesis starship, a new program that has one goal in particular: trying to save humanity before it is too late. Overpopulation, corrupt regimes and war after war has left humanity in the brink of extinction, and it is your responsibility to go into uncharted space. You will get to build and manage your vessel as you seek out to find resources, all while dealing with the deadly alien infestation of the randomly generated universe you will get to explore.
Since this one is played most of the time from a first-person perspective, you will use the left analog stick to move your character while the right analog stick will be used for moving the camera around. You can interact with the X button, while jumping is set, for some reason, to the Triangle button. You can crouch with the Circle button if needed. Your weapon will be fired with the R2 button, and if you need some extra help you can lock onto enemies with the L2 button. Holding down the R1 button will let you collect samples from the locations you visit.
The game is split between the first-person exploration sections during which you can go down to the surface of a new location to try and scan the area around for resources you can take to your ship. While doing this you will need to be on the lookout for any alien enemies (be them small spider-like crawlers, humanoid walking creatures, or more advanced species that pack a punch and will not stop until they kill you or until you are dead. You must always keep an eye open and listen to the environment so that you’re not caught by surprise, because you definitely don’t want to die – even if dying is not really the end.
When you start a new game, the first step will be to select your corporation. Corporations decided the resources, weapons and module schemes (the plans for building modules for your vessel) you’ll have access to at the start, so be sure to pick one that will favor your run. Since you’re new to the game, you’ll only be able to select the tutorial corporation which will launch the aptly named tutorial so that you can learn the basics and get the hang of things. But if you were not doing your first run, you could select other corporations as long as you’ve completed the requirements to unlock them (things such as building Workshop I, Clone Lab I or a Hangar on your ship), as well as your screw and artifacts.
Now, onto the tutorial. You will start by having to build a Greenhouse and a Tractor Beam for your ship. All modules that you build must be properly connected to your ship, so you will need to find the right spot where to set it up. You will also need to have enough materials for it and enough energy. The Greenhouse is important since it will help to create a much-needed biosphere for the shop. The Tractor Beam is for looting resources from ship wrecks and debris you find in space so that you can add some resources to your count. You do need to be careful when beaming debris into the ship since you might run into some enemies that were stuck on the resources that you’ve recovered.
Once you set up the two modules for your ship, and after a weird cutscene, you will find yourself in control of your Captain character. You will be told about the survival guide, which you can aces with the L1 button to open your PDA. This is important since the PDA has a menu of items that you can review to learn more about your mission, your stats as Captain, any transmissions you might need to be aware of, as well as the options to recolor your ship, or to rename it if you want to.
The next step will be to visit the Tractor Beam so that you can learn about scanning debris floating in space, as well as to assign your crew members to each of the modules in your ship to help you manage the different activities that can be performed. Once you’ve assigned a couple of crew member to the tractor beam and start collecting the debris in space, the thing to do will be to create a Workshop so that you can build some defenses for your ship. You’ll take a turret and place it as a defense mechanism for you vessel. Turrets will automatically aim and fire at any hostile target within its range, but it has a limited amount of ammo to use. Once that ammo runs out, the turret will actually self-destruct!
You will also have to create a Clone Lab where you will be able to clone new crew members, as well as use the DNA you find during your adventure to engineer new living entities. It is here that the game tells you something that you might have already stumbled upon on your own. Each module where something can be built or created has workstations setup. Your crew members will use them to speed up processes, and you can also activate them by yourself by holding down the L2 button to considerably speed up any process that is being undertaken.
The big one to build will be the hanger, since it will give you a chance to farm resources from planets close to your ship. Once you’ve build a hangar, visit it to activate its main terminal so that you can review the small, medium and large planets you can visit that are close to your ship, as well as relative danger of visiting said planet. At the start you should stick to planets with a low danger level since you will still be learning the ropes and getting a hang of things, so going into planets with a high danger will just speed up your death.
Add a pair of crew members and enter the launcher, and you will be ready to join your first expedition. Expeditions take you onto small areas on a planet’s surface. You can only explore the area that is protected by a special barrier that makes it possible for the crew members that have joined you and for you to stay alive and well in the hostile environment of the planet, so if you step outside of this protective barrier, you will start to take damage. You’ll need to collect any resources you can, scan any plants you find, collect the DNA samples and biomass left behind by the enemies you defeat, find ammunition for your weapons or find special sites that you need to scan by standing close to them until the scan reaches 100%. Oh, all of this is done while defending against aggressive life forms.
Trophy-wise, the game does include a Platinum trophy for you to aim for. The objectives offer a nice range of trophies for you to unlock. Your first one will, of course, be awarded for completing the game’s tutorial. After that, you can obviously get one for dying in space. If you have a solid run, you’ll be able to get a trophy for refining 60 pieces of iron in a single run, for collecting 1,000 biomass in a single run, cloning your first non-human lifeform, using an alien ability, healing a sick crew member, performing 100 expeditions in a single run, and more.
Overall, Genesis Alpha One is a game that offers a very specific gameplay loop. As long as you have crew members on your ship, you’ll be able to spawn as them when you die, so that you can carry on with that run for as long as you can, grabbing resources from debris, exploring planets where hostile entities will always be ready to kill you, all so that you can hopefully save humankind before it is too late.
This Genesis Alpha One review is based on a PlayStation 4 copy provided by Team17.