By Operation Rainfall Contributor / October 12th, 2015
|Release Date||September 18, 2015|
|Genre||Action; Shoot ’em up; Vertical Shooter|
The shoot ’em up genre has maintained the same core structure over the years, but has struggled to find different ways to evolve the genre up to modern tastes for some time. Qute and Degica originally made ESCHATOS for the Xbox 360 as an attempt to bring classic shooters to a new audience. Now they have joined forces to bring it internationally for everyone to enjoy on Steam. As the sequel to Judgement Silversword, ESCHATOS attempts to preserve the classic gameplay from its older brother while adding new modes and features to enhance it up to modern standards.
ESCHATOS’s story can be summarized in a single sentence. An alien force has decided to invade Earth, and it is up to you to stop the alien threat with just a single ship. This storyline has worked since the invention of sci-fi and is enough reason to play the game. The goal is to get through each area quickly while destroying as many enemies as possible and dodging bullets. The core gameplay is the same as Judgement Silversword, but it modifies the formula with additional features and modes. Players are able to put up a shield to block projectiles for a period of time. When the shield is not in use, it recharges until it hits 100%. Instead of one weapon, ESCHATOS has two weapons to choose from. The spread shot from the previous game is back, but has been nerfed to only reach a short distance. The other weapon is a forward linear shot. It goes the entire screen, but cannot take care of enemies around the side of the ship. Having two weapons forces the player to switch between the two shots in order to survive. It beats holding down the fire button the entire time for one weapon.
There are three modes in the game: Original, Advanced, and Time Attack. Original mode allows players to play through the game in the original style where the goal is to clear areas, fight bosses, and destroy enemies while not losing all of their lives. Boss fights have been overhauled. Instead of shooting at the boss until it is down, all bosses have weak points to hit in order to be destroyed. The fights also have multiple parts. For example, the first part of the fight against the mother ship is to hit the sides and the second part is to destroy the top. As the player advances further into the game, the enemies become tougher, faster, and shoot more projectiles at a quicker pace. Advanced mode is the same as Original mode, but has a multiplier for the overall score that goes up as more enemies are destroyed and more time passes with the ship staying alive. Both modes allow players to choose a difficulty or play in Endless mode. Time Attack abolishes the life system in favor of a timed system. The goal is to plow through the game until the time reaches zero. The key is to quickly pass through areas with as little time left as possible and not get hit by enemies. Hitting an enemy results in a loss of five seconds There are 26 areas to surpass in all three modes.
Thanks to the advancements of both hardware and software since the days of the WonderSwan, ESCHATOS has bright and colorful HD graphics. The environments are well detailed, and the 3D models are shown off thanks in part to the game’s use of scaling rotation in certain areas of the game. Players can either use a keyboard or a controller as the game is designed with both in mind. I personally went with the keyboard controls for better precision and I could once again use one hand to fire shots at enemies and put up the shield and use the other hand to maneuver my ship. The music is more varied throughout the areas, but again is not too memorable. The emphasis on guitar and other synthetically sounds makes the music more catchy and upbeat than Judgement Silversword’s lack of music.
ESCHATOS is a fun, fantastic vertical shooter that has more bells and whistles than the previous game in the series. Three different modes with the ability to choose your difficulty level or play the game in an endless loop in an attempt to achieve a high score. The new and tweaked weapons forces the player to strategize and not just hold down the fire button for the entire game. ESCHATOS is an easy recommendation for fans of the genre. The game can be purchased for $14.99 on Steam or can be bought for $19.99 as part of a bundle that includes the soundtrack and Judgement Silversword -Resurrection-.
Review Copy provided by the publisher and is based on three hours of gameplay