It seems appropriate to start this review with a confession: I’ve never watched Heroes in my life, either the original show or the more recent mini-series that Gemini: Heroes Reborn ties into. With that said I got a lot of enjoyment out of this game, even as an outsider to the series. It’s far from a masterpiece but it takes gameplay conventions and combines them in interesting ways, making for a fun experience.
The story is perhaps this game’s weakest point. It’s cliché, predictable, and left me with little desire to actually start watching the series it’s based on. It follows a young woman named Cassandra attempting to save her friend Alex from a shady corporation’s supposedly-abandoned headquarters. Along the way she discovers that she has superpowers and begins uncovering secrets about her past.
It’s a decent enough premise, but every plot point, every twist can be seen from a mile away if you’ve ever watched an action movie in your life. Not to mention some cringe-worthy dialogue, including “so baller” and “you likey?”
It screams of middle-aged writers sitting around a conference table and talking about what they think those young’uns say nowadays.
Despite that, the story and gameplay interact in a way that feels unique. In many contemporary action games, story and gameplay exist parallel to each other. You watch a cutscene, play a level, watch another cutscene, repeat. The most story you get in the level is maybe a line or two of dialogue between characters, but that’s typically about it.
Despite that, the story and gameplay interact in a way that feels unique.In Gemini: Heroes Reborn, Cassandra discovers and unlocks new powers as she further explores the facility, including telekinesis and time-travel. Both of these inform how Cassandra moves through the story.
To be more specific would give a lot away, but it makes it feel that what happens in the end is inevitable while also giving Cassandra lots of agency as a character. Her experiences drive the action, which makes it feels less like you’re just moving from waypoint to waypoint as many linear action games do.
The gameplay itself encourages you to weave together Cassandra’s different powers. A typical combat situation may consist of you scouting through time to see where the enemies are, jumping in, throwing a barrel at them, catching their bullets and throwing them back, slowing time, time jumping to retreat, and repeat. Weaving these powers together is great fun, but the controls on mouse and keyboard feel clunky – I started really enjoying myself when I switched to a controller.
There are also some platforming segments. In the past, first-person platforming segments such as in this game have been terrible. And they still are.
Fortunately these sections are relatively short, but they resulted in a lot of frustration and I frankly wish they weren’t a part of the game at all.
There are also quite a few technical issues with the game. The graphics themselves are decent, and the game’s sound effects are pretty good , though the music is unremarkable. But even at lower graphic settings, the frame rate could barely keep up with action at times, and there was a lot of texture pop-in.
The most egregious problem has to be the brain-dead AI. Enemies will look right at you and say things like, “where did she go?” making for some unintentionally comical combat encounters. In the final boss encounter, I stood directly in front of him while he just stood there doing nothing. They truly take the intelligence out of artificial intelligence.
Despite all this, it’s overall a pretty fun game. It’s short, but with a $15 asking price it’s a reasonable buy for enthusiasts of the Heroes series, newcomers, and even people who have never heard of it.
3 out of 5 Stars
Joel Wallick is currently pursuing a degree in film studies at Bowling Green State University with a minor in creative writing. He has been gaming since early childhood, beginning with Pokemon Silver. Follow him on Twitter @SuperNerdJoel.