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  1. #1

    [NSW, PC, PS4, XBO?] Xeno Crisis

    This is a twin-stick shooter available for a number of formats, which recently got a physical release on Switch and PS4. Impressions are based on the former.

    Xeno Crisis stars Not-Corporal-Hicks and Absolutely-Not-Jill-Valentine shooting their way through endless hordes of Not-Xenomorphs and assorted aliens, including Cthulhu. Yep, for some reason the Big C is in this game as the fourth level boss.
    Controls are simple: left sitck (or d-pad) moves, right stick (or face buttons) for shooting in one of eight directions; you have a roll (which covers most of the screen), grenades, a close-range attack, and you can discard extra weapons if you don't like them. Levels are created by randomly linking rooms to each other, although I think enemy waves within a room are linked to that particular room.
    Pickups include dog tags (to purchase powerups between levels), extra grenades, health, extra weapons, and ammo.

    Xeno Crisis is mindless fun: graphics are nice, there's a good variety of extra weapons with special capabilities, and it's not a particularly long or challenging game. However, some flaws prevent it from being great.
    First, there are two difficulty settings: hard and why-is-this-setting-even-here, called easy in the options. The game defaults to hard, and the main difference between the two is how resilient enemies are; however past the first stage this difference is next-to imperceptible, and easy mode doesn't offer more pickups or larger healthbar.
    Second, I don't like how weapons are managed. The standard gun has limited ammo, and the game will spawn an ammo box once you get close to empty, effectively removing any necessity to have limited ammo. Extra weapons have infinite ammo but are time-limited, and it can happen to pick one up after clearing a room and having to backtrack to a closed door after collecting a keycard.
    Third, rooms all blend together. It's not like The Binding Of Isaac where rooms feature different layouts and enemies designed to take advantage of that. Rooms might have a pit or a couple of thin walls, but all just let waves of enemies in and you need to fend them off.
    Fourth, enemies tend to be huge bullet sponges. Even with a fully powered standardgun enemies take way too much firepower to take down...unless you use extra weapons, but those are randomised and if you are unlucky you'll have to fend off attacks with the standard gun. During the last two levels you feel constantly underpowered even with all the upgrades maxed out, and it's not a particularly pleasant feeling. Xeno Crisis also appears to drop health pickups when you're full or right next to enemies when you desperately one, or go for 90% of a level without one.

    To sum up, an average shooter that will get lost in the myriad of other games available.

  2. #2
    This has been on Game Pass for a while but I’ve been enjoying the original MegaDrive release. It’s basically Smash TV with strafing.

  3. #3
    There are lots more enemies on hard, not sure how you didn't notice that.

    Music is decent.

    Because of the ammo economy it isn't just a mindless shoot constantly affair. Dodge roll, melee, grenade are all vital if you want to do well. (Or the invincibility / infinite ammo options haha!)

    Can't recall about health, but weapons only have a chance to drop in rooms once any hostages have been saved.

    7/10 for me. Different enough to Smash TV and other twin stick types to be worth a shot.

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