By: Jeff Cater
Unfortunately, the show that this game was based on met an early demise; on the bright side, the Heroes Reborn universe has a damn decent closer with Gemini: Heroes Reborn. In it, you play as Cassandra Hayes, who quickly realizes that her life might not be as simple as it seemed.
The look, spring and movement feel just fine, and manipulating objects in your environment with triggers feels natural. Jumping with “X” works just as it should, but sometimes it feels like she doesn’t have enough “oomph” to a jump — which isn’t really the controller mappings fault. Pressing triangle will let you slow time down, which is completely invaluable as you could expect; more on that below.
This is a tough area to score, because the game does indeed look damn pretty at times. Running on the Unreal Engine 4, you can expect to see some very attractive shaders and wonderful particle effects. When using Cassandra’s ability to push enemies, nice juicy blue trails of unknown power stream out. Stopping time also is an impressing experience because you get to see particles of dust suspended in air, and bullets leave a Matrix-style wave of distortion behind them.
On the flip side, there are simply too many janky animations. For example, when you partner Alex is jumping off of something you can see that there are several missing frames of him going from standing to jumping to landing, and it’s not exclusive to him.
Enemies will regularly clip through the environment upon death, after stuttering through a few quick frames of combat animation that are also underwhelming. When an enemy shoots at you, there’s virtually no recoil to their animation so most of the time it seems like they’re using pop guns or party poppers. Stuff that pops, ya know?
The soundtrack serves the game well, but it doesn’t truly stand out at any point. Cassandra’s voice actress (Diana Taweel) does a great job keeping the player engaged through self-narration. Some sound effects are absolutely hilarious, too, like when you have a guard lifted up and drag him into a spinning fan, it lets out a resounding *PING*.
Other than that, the sound is pretty spot-on. Guard dialogue can be a tad uninspired, but ya know they’re just guarding giant fans and sewer pipes, who wouldn’t be uninspired?
Gemini kicks off with you and your pal Alex exploring some barred territory. It’s not long before you find a secret complex filled with military-type characters who quickly subdue Alex. When this happens, Cassandra’s powers manifest themselves and she’s allowed to peak, for whatever reason, between the years 2008 and 2014.
While exploring the complex, you’ll use this time-shifting ability to traverse broken (time restored) walkways and gain access to restricted areas. You can also use the ability to escape quickly from guards and better plan out your approach.
You’re quickly introduced to her other time-manipulating powers as well, such as the ability to slow time. So when the bullets start to fly, slow time and snatch one out of the air with your Telekinesis (I know, and Telekinesis, Cassandra is quite the bad ass) and shoot it back at them!
Pick up a guard while you’re at it and chuck him at his friends for some hilarious (and sometimes unintentional) physics, and do your best to throw literally every object that’s not nailed down at them. Fire extinguishers are probably the best thing in the game when it comes to throwing.
You’ve also got a stolen pair of SMART GLASSES (Google Glasses) that help you track enemies and feed you hints in case you are stuck. It also captions the spoken dialogue for you, which is incredibly handy when a mouthy enemy can be heard but not seen.
The core gameplay of Gemini: Heroes Reborn is solid, there’s no mistaking that. The trouble crops up when silly physics break the immersion of the game, and it happens all the time. Sometimes if you close a door on an enemy who has spotted you, their hands will be stuck through the door. A guard mashed by a trap will often clip right through it, ragdolling away into infinity. So yeah, it’s solid, but it’s definitely rough around the edges.
It has its quirks, and Gemini: Heroes Reborn isn’t the longest game (It’s doable in five hours), but then again it’s not the most expensive, either. For what the game costs, it’s exceedingly good. It just has some small visual issues that are easy to get past considering you’ll be throwing bullets and chairs at people for much of the game while manipulating time to pull off some extreme trespassing in a secret complex!