Sometimes you just know that a game is going to be bad after watching its trailer but you give it a crack anyway because you hold a slither of hope that it’ll turn out to be the next cult hit. More often than not though pangs of regret quickly set in once you’ve booted the game up and witnessed first-hand what you’re store in for. That is Gene Rain in a nutshell. When I first saw Gene Rain I thought it looked bad, but you know, it couldn’t be that bad, because I’ve played that bad before. Well I was wrong. Gene Rain is that bad. It’s never enjoyable sticking the boots into a developer who’s just starting out, but sometimes criticism is the best form of motivation (or so they say), and when you’ve made a game that is as bad as Gene Rain it’s only fair that the world should know to avoid it at all costs.
It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s Gene Rain
Gene Rain is a third-person shooter made by Chinese developer Deeli Network and is set in a futuristic world where players play as three different characters who are fighting to end conflicts within the world. Why? I don’t really know because the story is based on one of the most farcical premises (if not the most) I have ever tried to understand. Even the game’s official synopsis makes no sense. There’s something about a fella named Bill Feynman who has changed the human gene and developed an airborne fog (or something like that), and then there’s a chap who kidnaps an older lady for her memories for some reason (something about wind towers). It’s made even more convoluted thanks to some hysterically bad voice acting, which is at times hard to understand due to the thick Asian accents. I understand there are budget constraints, but surely if they knew they were going to release the game with English voiceovers they would have planned to have English voice artists. Instead, the characters are voiced by individuals for whom English is not a strong point and as a result it ends up sounding ridiculous. Furthermore, the subtitles are littered with grammatical and spelling errors, making it a chore to read.
You could almost forgive the game’s garbage narrative if the gameplay was somewhat enjoyable, but sadly it is nothing more than a cheap Gears of War knockoff, with the game’s linear path simply an endless wave of shooting galleries. You’ll go from area to area, engaging in some ham-fisted cover-based combat before doing it all again in the next area. The mechanics themselves are very basic and do very little to stand out in a tired genre. You have a handful of weapons at your disposal, none of which are fun to use and they all have comical sound effects, making the production feel even cheaper. There’s an upgrade system but I never had any need to use it, plus I never really understood what the currency was, as almost three-quarters of the way through I can’t afford a single upgrade, but like I said you can complete the game’s 3-4 hour campaign without using it. Each character has their own special skill (shield, slowing down time etc.) and all are about as exciting as a fart in a bathtub. The cover system is probably the biggest offender, with my character frequently being unable to fire and reload behind cover as well as randomly exiting cover while trying to shoot behind an object.
Guns and implants, yes please
There are a few enemy variants, who all have different attacks and health amounts, but sadly their AI all seems to be cut from the same cloth, as they all typically hide behind cover, popping out of cover when they want to shoot or be killed. Every now and again they’ll rush your position and put up a modicum of a challenge, but ultimately they’re all just cannon fodder. Making things even more tedious is the fact that if you die doing a wave you’ll have to start the sequence all over again. A frustrating feature considering some sequences can include up to four waves of the same enemies.
If there’s one thing that Deeli Network has achieved it’s that the game is fairly stable, with no crashes or major performance issues to complain about. Occasionally the audio will go a little out of whack and cuts in and out during cutscenes but that’s about as bad as it gets. Visually it’s an apposite affair, with some fairly generic and lifeless environments, but it’s not the certainly not the ugliest game that’s been released. One baffling feature is the addition of a rain on the screen effect. Why Deeli thought this would be a good addition I have no idea as the only purpose it serves is to frustrate the player.
Who did it better, Gears of War or Gene Rain?
Although it’s a new release, Gene Rain feels like a dated and tired game. It’s laden with generic game design, and those ideas that are worth exploring are poorly executed. There’s no gameplay hook at all; nothing that makes it stand out from the myriad of other third-person shooters. Hell, even Inversion (another Gears clone) had a unique gameplay hook which made it somewhat exciting to play. Couple that with the fact that the game’s story is beyond nonsensical, and that the English voice acting is terrible and you’ve got one of the worst games of the year.
Reviewed on PS4 Pro | Review code supplied by publisher