A shift in time.
In this day and age of self-publishing and the indie revolution, lots of games just simply launch out of nowhere. It seems every week there are a palette of new games that I have heard little-to-nothing about. Gemini: Heroes Reborn is the first game that I never even knew was in development. It came out of nowhere, and on the heels of the news that the TV show it is modeled after was not being renewed. On top of being a licensed game, that is a double slap in the face.
Gemini follows Cassandra, who at the outset has no idea she even has powers. Along with her friend Alex, she investigates an abandoned facility where information on her lost family is supposedly being stored. There are twists and turns, and the story is actually pretty interesting, if not a bit predictable. What drags it down is that the voice acting is all over the place. Some performances are great, while others sound phoned-in.
Platforms: XB1, PC
Price I’d Pay: $9.99
The action is pretty straight-forward. This is a first-person game, but it is definitely not a shooter. Think of the oft-forgotten Psi-Ops (without guns of course) and mix in a bit of Singularity and we have Gemini. Cassandra can switch between time periods to combat enemies and solve puzzles. She also gains access to telekinetic powers early on allowing her to grab enemies and objects around the environment to use as weapons. She never picks up a gun, which in itself is kind of refreshing.
This is not a long journey, there are 16 chapters, and each one feels like a brief episode. I finished the game in just under three-and-a-half hours, and the only reason to return is to mop up collectibles, or Achievements on Xbox One. Which if that is your thing, this game is a cakewalk to earn the full 1000 points in. With a guide it can be done on the first play through with ease.
Combat is a mixture of knowing when to run, and when to attack. Being able to shift between time periods allows Cassandra to avoid enemies if they become overwhelming. At first they are simply soldiers ripe for the picking, but later on larger, more armored enemies appear that Cassandra cannot pick up, and eventually there are enemies that block her ability to use powers. It attempts to throw unique combat scenarios into the mix, but most encounters boiled down to the same methodology.
It doesn’t help that enemies are completely brain-dead. They all have a square above their head that notifies the player their status. White means they don’t notice you, yellow means they are on alert, and red dictates they see you. There were times when I was fighting enemies they would go from red to yellow while staring at me. There are also a couple of boss battles that are insanely broken. One glitched out so bad I had to restart a checkpoint, while the other required me to coax the enemy into chasing me, which he would sometimes never do, even if I was standing two inches from his face.
The game is built on Unreal Engine 4, but it certainly doesn’t look like it. Texture pop-in is atrocious, sometimes taking upwards of ten seconds to load in. Character models are stiff and the environments are simply not interesting. The frame rate also takes a dive more often than it should. The game just doesn’t feels optimized on so many levels.
Gemini: Heroes Reborn is certainly not a bad game, it is just excessively forgettable. There are some cool ideas such as the time-shift mechanic, and the combat is certainly fun for a while. Sadly dumb AI and repetition set in long before this brief journey ends. It also doesn’t help that the series it is based off of appears to be in its final form. Sadly the second game in this spin-off series is now likely never to see the light of day.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.