We got our hands on the newest iteration of Blasting Agent:Ultimate Edition for PlayStation 4 directly from Ratalaika Games this week. How does the 8 bit, run and gun homage game fare on the big screen? Let’s find out!
First, let’s have the fine folks at Ratalaika Games give a break down of the premise of the game, so that you get a sense of what’s going on:
‘Trouble in Antarctica!
The Black Hand of Fate, an international Terrorist Group has constructed a secret base within the heart of a Volcano, and have built a massive army of bio-engineered soldiers and genetic monsters to take over the world! You are the only one that can put a stop to their dastardly plans. You are the Blasting Agent!’
Then we also got a break down of the features within the Ultimate Edition of the game as well, so that you can see all of the greatness that you’re spending your hard earned $2.99 on:
- ‘Classic jump-and-shoot gameplay
- A variety of levels, enemies, and secrets
- Challenging and unique boss fights
- Collectible upgrades and power-ups
- Unlockable Hard Mode with costume rewards’
So this game did something brilliantly in terms of sound effects. I didn’t notice it my first time I was in a level that was set outside, but I did the second time. What Ratalaika Games did was take realistic sound effects for the outside world in an Antarctic setting. So they have the sound of wind and snow rushing past your ears. That realistic howling sound on top of the crisp 8-bit midi sound effects and music created something that I had never experienced within the confines of a video game before. They almost created a haunting scenario that raised the suspense level of when baddies were running at me. Almost as if the weather was a baddie too. Very freaking cool. 10/10
The only thing negative that I can say about the soundtrack is that since the levels can be so daunting, you find yourself listening to the same song again and again after a while. And even though the songs are on a per level basis, you may find yourself getting mad at the music only because you’re getting mad at seeing the same characters kill you over and over again.
But aside from that, if you can get through a level in a formidable pace, you really shouldn’t experience anything but enjoyment from the music. I found that the music was nice and complex as well as fast paced and super enjoyable. I was so surprised that they composed different music for the different levels within the game. This also holds true for when you’re fighting a boss at the end of each world. 8/10
The visuals are obviously supposed to take you back to a place and time from your youth. Or if you’re younger, then the visuals may just be a retro style that you might particularly enjoy. If you’ve noticed the gif files and screenshots, and how could you not, you’ll get the basic general idea. The only hiccup that I’ve found with the style of the game is how it appears on a large screen. The game plays and appears just fine, to be clear, what I actually really had a problem with on my 40″ screen was the words. It was the font on the main screen, the overworld screen, and the pause menu that wasn’t impossible to read but just was not easy on my eyes. That may even be why on the pause menu the resume button is green and the quit button is red. They had to have known it was gonna be rough. Certain other retro games keep the wordage crystal clear and the gameplay retro, but Ratalaika Games went all out and made it 100% 8-bit. My suggestion to them would be to have an option when starting the game for the first time to choose between a retro and an HD menu system, showing you an example of both and then always keeping the option open in the settings so the user can change it if they so choose. 7/10
You have a character that is Duke Nukem-esque. He runs, he guns, he upgrades his weaponry as he goes. Heck he even has more than that. He has strafe shooting, he will continually jump if you hold the jump button, loads of features. He’s great on the surface. His enemies are also great. They’re dramatically varied. Some move quick and have weak hits, some shoot from afar with a big blast radius, some shoot up close with a little gun, some are just turret style robots that pose little threat. There’s just a multitude of things to remember and depending on your gun set up in that level. Did you find all of the power ups for that gun? If not, you may be stuck with a peashooter. And that is an unfortunate truth if you’re a gamer like me. What I mean by that is that the way that I like to game is push forward and kill all in my path. By the time I got to the second boss, I knew that I couldn’t keep that strategy.
There really isn’t anything to say about this game in terms of gameplay that the features didn’t really already mention. It’s very true to it’s word in all of the features that it advertises. My suggestion to everybody, each and every one of you, is that with the second boss specifically you collect every gun power up that you can before getting to him. The second boss is for all intents and purposes the hardest boss in the game. It seems very unbalanced comparatively or it just wasn’t well thought out. Or maybe they mixed up bosses and that was meant to be the last boss. Whatever the reason, it’s very disheartening to spend 3 hours trying to beat a boss after you just beat the first boss in less than 10 minutes. Furthermore, I know that it wasn’t just me, as I looked on the internet at other reviews or walk-throughs or play-throughs and every time anybody mentioned the second boss they had the same feelings about it as me. It is singlehandedly the reason that I’m reducing the score that I give it’s gameplay. So take heed, dear player. Do not just get to the boss as quickly as you can. Take your time and get everything you possibly can and you stand to fare better against it. 6/10
I feel as though once you’ve beaten this game, you’ll feel satisfied and not really want to go back through the game again. However, there are reasons to do so built into the game. Finding all of the power-ups for your gun and getting all of the kills in the level. This goes for collecting all of the golden “triangles”, I’m assuming they’re supposed to be gold bars (maybe?). So, if you’re someone who just likes to beat a game once through just to say that you have, there isn’t much reason to go back through. But if you’re someone who likes a challenge you can either go back through on the same difficulty and try to collect and finish everything in each level or you can crank up the difficulty. The other thing to remember is that this is the only version with Trophies (Achievements) and so that also might give you ambition to grind away at it some more. But overall, the base game itself doesn’t seem to me to have enough reason to give it another go. 5/10
If you would like to buy the game on PlayStation 4 (which also is a Cross Buy for PS Vita!), no need to worry, click this link here and you will be taken to the PS4 page for it!
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