I’ve been playing games for quite some time now; a fair estimate would be about 24 years. Now back in my day (that’s right kids, Grampa Will is back with another tale of the better times) the internet was just a thing your dad used to send e mails from, or perverts used to slowly download a single image of a nude Seven of Nine, it wasn’t the all-encompassing behemoth that we live our lives constantly hooked to that it is now. This lack of connectivity meant that to learn about up coming games, you’d need to rely on paper, good old-fashioned magazines. Occasionally if the gods light shined upon you, you’d get a DVD along with your glossy paper. Said DVD was normally rammed with trailers and gameplay of upcoming titles to attempt to sway you to part with your hard-earned pocket money. Safe to say this often worked on me since I was so impressionable. Unfortunately, this clever play of marketing led me to finally realise something. Video games could be bad.
That seems like a statement that we should all immediately understand but to be clear, for years I had lived a safe and woolly existence believing that games were the best and were never bad. Even things other people might have disliked, I seemed to really enjoy! This was great, everything was fun! Then I was hoodwinked. After watching one of the PlayStation Magazine trailers, I was instantly enamoured with EOE: Eve of Extinction, a beat ‘em up from Eidos Interactive. The game seemed awesome, basically a lightsaber game that wasn’t Star Wars starring a main character who looked like a budget Leon Kennedy! After saving up my pennies for a few weeks I was able to pick up a copy for myself and immediately sat down ready to play what looked to be the game of the year 2002. What followed was roughly 4 hours of feeling my smile fade into a moody scowl, realising how I had wasted £35 on what might be the dullest game I’ve ever played.
To those not in the know, and I’m sure there are a lot of you, EOE: Eve of Extinction puts you in control of Josh an employee at Wisdom Company, which based on their skyscrapers and sinister bosses might as well just be called “We’re Evil Inc.”. Josh is getting along just fine alongside his girlfriend when the suits decide to ramp up the sinister and stick her soul into a superweapon, The Legacy, a transforming lightsaber type thing. Josh obviously isn’t particularly stoked about this and decides his best course of action is to take his girlfriend/sword and use her to beat the ever-loving shit out of everyone in the company till he finally KO’s the CEO and gets his girlfriend back into a body so she’s a little less Fleshlight looking.
Usual early 2000’s storyline there, but that didn’t bother me, what did cause grief was just how much this game disappointed in every other area. Combat with a sick energy weapon should be…well… sick! Instead, Josh lumbers from fight to fight executing enemies with “Legacy Attacks” where you’re made to trace an image on screen using the analogue stick which leads to Josh doing all sorts of silly moves to finish off the enemy. Again, all of this sounds great but in practice it handles about as well as a car in a swamp. Graphically things were no better, the game looked and ran terribly even for the generation and screen tearing during the Legacy Attacks knocked the shine off doing them even more. It got to a point where I didn’t even bother to do them anymore just to steam through the game and avoid hurting my eyes. Then there was the challenge, or lack thereof. Josh could easily drop anyone in his path not because he had a powerful missus/weapon but because everyone he met was apparently the lowest possible rung of intelligence. AI was all over the place with foes running around like headless chickens for a while before neatly lining up to be murdered like they realised this was the only way Wisdom Company would finally pay them…
This was all a crushing disappointment to me and left me far more cautious of buying games even now. An eye-opening experience in all the wrong ways, EOE: Eve of Extinction was like a trial by fire for an 11-year-old boy who up until that point had believed that all reviewers were idiots and video games were an infallible force of fun. Of course, now I’ve grown up and realise that all of us reviews actually are idiots, but yes, some video games are just awful… If this has given you an education in a title you never knew existed then feel free to pick up a copy, you can get the game now on eBay for about £4 which really, is about £3 too much but hey, you do you!