Aztech Forgotten Gods from Lienzo is an open-world game set in an alternate distant future where the Aztecs have developed a technological empire. Check our Aztech Forgotten Gods review!
Aztech Forgotten Gods is the cyber-stone action-adventure following Achtli, a young woman who battles the colossal Forgotten Gods. To uncover the truth behind her far-future Mesoamerican metropolis, she’ll have to turn the Gods’ power against them, as she soars through the city with power and grace.
It is always disappointing when a game fails to meet your expectations. It is easy to argue that as a gamer, we often hold too high an expectation for some properties, and said expectations often bleed into being unreasonable. On the other hand, it can be argued that by expressing expectations in a property, we are showing our faith in it or seeing the potential of what could have been, sadly for Aztech: The forgotten Gods, it seems to be the latter.
Mexican developer Lienzo stays true to its roots by creating an alternate history adventure where the Aztecs were never “introduced” to their European neighbors. By extension, we are introduced to a distant future where the Aztecs have developed a technological empire. Researcher Nantsin is close to a discovery. She has been working for a long time to find out the secrets of a mysterious gauntlet believed to not only be tied to the gods but also wield unimaginable power… well, we know all of this because the prologue neatly wraps all of this up in a nice little presentation set in the past before transporting us to our real protagonist Achtil who finds her with a gauntlet about three times the size of her arm unwilling to let her go and an ancient Aztec god talking to her inside her head…so a typical Tuesday for a videogame protagonist then?
Whilst the premise might sound interesting, the game falls flat nearly everywhere else. I say nearly because there is genuine heart here. Lienzo is definitely trying to tell a story with heart and value, but the execution is faulty most of the way. Aztech Forgotten Gods is an open-world 3D adventure with elements of Saints Row and Shadow of the Colossus. The Saints Row element comes from the fact that your gauntlet, as well as being great for punching enemy robots in the face, also doubles as a jet pack for you to travel around the city. You can never accuse Aztech of lacking in ambition! The game has a small city that you are free to explore at any time. Whilst the space is small, the plot will mostly have you traveling back and forth between a couple of destinations. This soon becomes tedious as it just ends up highlighting the lifelessness of the city. Yes, there are a couple of combat challenges and jetpack races to seek out, but apart from those five or so activities, the city is completely sparse. Sure you can go to the hairdressers to buy new hairstyles or the dress shop to buy new clothes but… that’s not that interesting.
The plot tries its best to maintain your attention, but I found myself cringing with discomfort early on when it became apparent that the game would not be voice acted. Let’s be fair since this is a small studio, and voice acting would be asking too much but did they really need to mask it by replacing every piece of dialog with the occasional “Ah!” “Oh!” or “Ack!”? It gets jarring very quickly, especially when they pop up on occasions where they are not warranted.
I admit that the dialog complaint is something that can easily be overlooked. However, what I struggle to overlook are the controls. Aztech Forgotten Gods is not the only game that has a character with an oversized gauntlet. On the one hand, others have farmed this fertile ground and returned with interesting results. On the other, for Aztech Forgotten God, the results are mixed at best.
At any time, you can press the L1 button, and Achtil starts to boost around the map. You can press the X button to jump to give her a little bit of height, but the gliding from the boost is generally smooth and enjoyable. There is, however, a tiny problem when you want to come to a sudden stop.
Credit to the game, since it understands momentum as a concept and simulates this well when it comes to your rocket arm, but it really should be more forgiving or relaxed to make it easy not to miss your mark when traveling or in combat. Something I do need to bring up is wall-running when it is time to interact with obstacles. You are told that you are able to wall-run whilst boosting, but it seems no one told the game this or how to accurately do it. It is easy to get stuck in the scenery when wall-running, and a few times, I even went through them, unintentionally breaking through the world map. Admittedly when it does work, it can be enjoyable, but most of the time, it is just an annoyance.
Another issue is that the basic combat is dull. You literally only press the Square button for your combat moves. Whilst, later on, you do get a ground pound and launch ability, the problem of momentum comes into play, thereby making both abilities nearly useless. Ironically the boring but reliable Square button attacks end up proving far more useful.
Whilst most of this is me complaining about the game, there are some things that are worth salvaging. I mentioned the game takes elements from Shadow of the Colossus, and by that, I mean it has really big bosses. The bosses here are clearly meant to be the highlight of the game, and they are, but when you put into consideration the janky controls and basic combat, some of the shine is definitely taken off from the boss battle.
In fairness, Lienzo saw this and tried to make the boss battles interesting. Each fight feels unique and puzzle-y, so much so that you get genuine satisfaction when you actually beat them. Speaking of the boss battles, a special mention should go to the soundtrack that plays during some of the boss fights… a genuine and well-deserved round of applause because they truly capture the feel of the combat.
Aztech: Forgotten Gods is clearly a game made by a passionate and ambitious indie team, but it is also proof that passion and ambition do not always guarantee a perfect execution. Aztech: Forgotten Gods is out tomorrow on PlayStation 4 with a $29.99 asking price.
This Aztech Forgotten Gods review is based on a PlayStation copy provided by Lienzo.