In this day and age, game developers usually put all their attention into a game’s gameplay and presentation, leaving other game aspects like the story as secondary priority. Zenith is a game that is a complete opposite of this trend, as it focuses on delivering an entertaining story with humorous writing and several references to other games and series like Final Fantasy, Skyrim and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. While the story does an excellent job, the same can’t be said for the remaining aspects of Zenith, such as gameplay and overall presentation.
Developed by Infinigon Games, Zenith is an action RPG and tells the story of a young mage called Argus. In order to win the war against an invading elven army, the emperor tasks Argus with finding a magical scepter that offers its wielder immense power. Argus succeeds in his mission and it looked like the war was going to be over soon. Without spoiling what happened immediately after these events, something that will be revealed as you progress through the story, the game then fast forwards seven years into the future, with Argus now living as a potionist in a small town. However, all this changes when a mysterious girl shows up in town searching for the same scepter.
The story is as simple as it looks, but it’s the dialogue and the humor that makes it amusing. There were several moments that are genuinely funny and made me chuckle, although most of these moments came from references to other games. One such example was a character named Fifus that claimed that he’s from a dream world and no one believed him, a reference to Tidus from Final Fantasy X. The only negative thing I can say about the story and dialogue in general is the fact very often relies on coarse language and lots of swearing, making Zenith a game that is best advised to mature audiences.
The combat system is simple and straightforward, but also full of flaws and issues. You can attack enemies using your melee weapon or spells, and avoid the enemy’s attacks by defending using a magic shield or dodge rolling. You can restore your health and mana by using potions and ethers. Both potions and ethers have cooldowns of approximately 40 seconds, which adds some challenge as you can’t just rely on having lots of potions.
Whether you are attacking the enemy using melee attacks or magic, aiming is always an issue. I felt like the game needed a lock-on feature, especially for magic, as I would often miss the target because the aiming is done manually using the left analog stick, the same you use to move Argus. In addition, although the game features a dodge roll ability to evade enemies attacks, it doesn’t work properly at times, resulting in you getting stuck in the enemies and taking damage during the process, something that happens very often when facing hordes of enemies.
Zenith also leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to customization and levelling up your character. For starters, while you are allowed to equip different melee weapons and magic spells, the game doesn’t offer much variety to begin with as you’re limited to a handful of weapons and magic. You also don’t receive experience for defeating enemies, instead, you receive points to purchase upgrades in available in an ability tree. However, for the most part, the ability only has upgrades that slightly increased elemental damage and elemental affinity. If you want to increase your character’s HP, mana and defense, you will have to do so with your gear.
In classic RPG fashion, after the first few hours you will have access to an over-world. Although not massively big as other RPGs, it offers enough optional areas and sidequests for players to sink in a few hours. In addition, you will also find several portals scattered around the overworld map. These acts almost like challenge/survival areas where you face several waves of enemies and earn a treasure chest after completing every wave. If you are looking for more action after completing the story mode, which takes approximately 10 hours to complete, theirs is certainly a lot to do in terms of sidequests and exploration.
The game doesn’t do much better from a presentation perspective. Visually, the game looks alright for the most part, offering a good variety of detailed and colorful environments. Although the over-world map, and some locations and monsters definitely needed some work, the game does a decent job here. As for the soundtrack, I found it to be a bit of mixed bag. There were tracks that I definitely enjoyed listening, but at the same time, there were also tracks that were just so repetitive and irritating that I just had to nearly mute the game.
I couldn’t finish this review without talking about all the bugs, glitches and performance issues. This is definitely one of those games that needed an additional month of two of development. Frame rate drops happen way too often, something that becomes very noticeable when fighting several enemies or walking in over-world map. Loading times also break the flow the experience, as you often need to wait 30 seconds or more to enter a new area or start a battle in the over-world map. I also run into other issues like menus frequently becoming inoperable, the game crashing every time I entered specific optional areas, the camera getting stuck and I wasn’t able to see where I was, among other bugs and glitches.
Zenith is a game that showed a lot of promise, but ultimately feels like it left the development stage too early. While the story and dialogue is fun and entertaining, the repetitive limited nature of the gameplay and all the bugs and technical glitches just drag down the experience. Overall, it’s a game that I can only recommend to players who enjoy a good story and manage to overlook all the game’s problems.
|Entertaining story with a lot of humor.|
|References to other games/series.|
|Decent amount of optional areas and side quests.|
|Combat lacks a lock-on feature.|
|Long loading times.|
|Framerate drops, bugs and glitches happen often.|