Flashback 2 from Microids is the latest entry in the classic sci-fi adventure we all know and love. Does it manage to stick the landing? Find out in our Flashback 2 review!
Flashback 2 from Microids is the latest entry in the classic sci-fi adventure we all know and love. Does it manage to stick the landing? After all, Flashback is heralded as one of the best science fiction cinematic platformers of all time and a game that revolutionized the gaming industry. It was released way back in the year 1992, followed by versions for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System and the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive in 1993. With animations created with the rotoscoping technique, it has a similar feel to Éric Chahi’s Another World.
Original Director and Designer Paul Cuisset is back for Flashback 2 to help directly tie it to the events of Flashback while building on what the previous game did. For this one, we’re getting a science fiction cinematic platformer presented from a 2.5D perspective. Conrad Hart can run left and right, but he can also run to the background and the foreground of each layer for a game that certainly sets itself apart from its predecessor. This will be needed for interacting with a variety of objects, such as, say, a control panel that needs to be tapped in order to activate a lift that will allow you to progress further in your journey.
And now, for the twist: while the game is called Flashback 2, this one is actually presented as a prequel that is set eight years before the events of Flashback! You’ll be joined on this new story by AI A.I.S.H.A., which will be hosted by the gun you’ll find early in the game. You’ll find yourself in New Washington, on Planet Titan, inside a makeshift lab set up by your friend Ian Nemeczek. It’s May 22, 2134, and the lab seems to have gone boom.
This throws Conrad for a spin since he was on a shuttle headed for Earth. A.I.S.H.A. was left behind at the GBI – that would be the Galactic Bureau of Investigation – and Conrad was on his way to uncover an alien conspiracy. How did he end up on Planet Titan? It turns out that before you woke up, two men broke into the lab, hit Ian, and took him with him, and then placed a bomb. If you want to get the answers to the many questions in your head, then you’re going to have to hurry up and find Ian before it’s too late!
Conrad has discovered the existence of Morphs, aliens that have infiltrated society while taking a human shape to wreak havoc from the inside. This leads him to join forces with James O’Connor, founder and leader of the Lucanes, a resistance group that will give it their all to beat the Morph’s’ plans that go all the way up to controlling the figure of the President for a war that will take this dystopian world into new and uncharted territory.
Once you get started, you’ll control Conrad with the left analog stick as you run through each area. You can sprint by pressing in on the left analog stick. Jumping is mapped to the X button. Context-based actions are set to the Square button. You can aim your weapon with the right analog stick and shoot with the R2 button as needed. To reload, press the R1 button. You can use your shield with the L1 button, which can protect you against some attacks. The L2 button is for rolling. You can crouch by pressing in on the right analog stick. Grab yourself a medkit or two, and you’ll be able to heal your wounds by pressing up on the D-Pad.
The game features a full trophy list with a Platinum trophy waiting for you. The list includes 6 Bronze trophies, 7 Silver trophies, and 8 Gold trophies for you to work on. The first trophy you’ll get will be for gaining access to your gun and A.I.S.H.A. After that, there are some trophies that will pop up as you progress through the game’s story, with a handful of trophies tied to completing specific objectives that I won’t be spoiling here. Ok, fine, one involves the President, who might or might not be the real deal. Happy now?
At launch, there were some performance hiccups that needed to be ironed out. There were bugs that prevented you from progressing in the game’s story, some framerate hiccups, textures that didn’t load properly, and some lighting issues that made everything look a bit… well, far from ideal. The good news is that these issues have mostly been fixed by the latest patch, making this a very different overall experience compared to the game’s launch.
It’s been over 30 years since the release of the original Flashback, and we’re now getting Flashback 2, which, even though it has a 2 in its name, is actually a prequel set 6 years before the events of the game we all know and love. Flashback 2 is a 2.5D action platformer in which you’ll have to aid Conrad Hart in finding his friend Ian, who has been taken away under mysterious circumstances… all while the threat of the Morphs looms over everyone. While the game’s state at launch was far from ideal, the game has now been patched, and its performance and presentation have received a considerable boost. Flashback 2 is out on PlayStation 5 with a $39.99 price tag.
This Flashback 2 review is based on a PlayStation 5 copy provided by Microids.