By Benny Carrillo / June 30th, 2016
I’ve always had mixed experiences with Metroidvania style games. On one hand, I can see their appeal. They focus a lot of exploration, backtracking, and puzzle solving. They’re games that require you to really think, and part of the challenge is trying to see how fast you can complete them. On the other hand, I tend not to like games that don’t give me a least a few signposts. I tend to enjoy guided experiences, mostly due to the fact I have limited time. Give me a story and send me on my way. So upon learning that Exile’s End falls more into the former camp of exploration, I wasn’t sure what to think. However, I decided to give it a try and see what happens. Turns out I’m glad I did.
Exile’s End begins with you crash landing onto a hostile planet in an escape pod. The transport ship you were in exploded over orbit. This is actually where I started to get into the game despite my hesitation. When you first land, you’re not only defenseless, but some of your suit functions are offline, including your shock absorbers. This means you can only fall a minimal distance before taking damage. This made every jump I had to make a nail biter. I can only imagine how much I was cringing as I anticipated that I’d miss a crucial jump and plummet to my death. Thankfully my platforming skills are pretty decent and I managed to not only do get my shock absorbers back online, but survived the backtracking to do so. The reason I’m making such a point about this is it plays to one of the games strengths, its atmosphere.
You feel isolated and alone when starting this, and being both defenseless and very vulnerable only heightens this. I found myself being very careful and doing my absolute best to survive. Shortly after this the attendant of booth placed me in a different part of the demo where I had access to several weapons and a double jump. It was at this point where I became more reckless. I started to notice that I’d be taking damage from enemies I wasn’t before, and now missing jumps I used to make. It’s goes to show just how effective the atmosphere is. As soon as I was able to survive a bit better and defend myself, I would start to get overconfident and I think the game anticipates this. I didn’t get too much further, but as I explored a bit more, there were still spike traps and tricky enemy placements to deal with. With a bit of clear thinking, however, I was able to press on until I once again hit my old nemesis when it comes to these games. I got lost and didn’t know where to go next. But after a solid 20 minutes of playing, I decided that I had gotten a good feel for the game. So what are my conclusions?
I think if you like this style of game, it’s worth a look. The graphics were decent, and as I said, the atmosphere is very well done. There was a sense of dread during that first part that’s just hard to recreate for most games. I’m not sure if I’ll be picking this one up myself, as it’s a little outside my comfort zone. However, I do think it’s worth keeping an eye on.
E3E3 2016Exile's EndHands-OnImpressionsMetroidvaniaXSEED