Blasting Agent: Ultimate Edition (EU) Reviews

AuthorReview
AtsumaKarin
601,092 (413,370)
AtsumaKarin
TT Score for this game: 1,286
Posted on 23 April 18 at 15:10, Edited on 23 April 18 at 15:26
This review has 7 positive votes and 0 negative votes. Please log in to vote.
  • Introduction


Being a fan of old school type games and a pretty big trophy hunter, it's safe to say I was quite looking forward to playing this game. Would it turn out to be a great way to relive the good old days? Or would it have been better off left in the past?

Also: this is the first review I've ever written, not just for TT, so feel free to leave some constructive criticism into how I may improve for the future should I decide to write more. toast

  • Story


"Trouble In Antarctica! The Black Hand of Fate, an international Terrorist Group has constructed a secret base within the heart of a Volcano, and have built a massive army of bio-engineered soldiers and genetic monsters to take over the world! You are the only one that can put a stop to their dastardly plans. You are the Blasting Agent!" - Taken from Steam description.

The game's story is pretty run-of-the-mill for the Run and Gun Platformer genre as you might expect and is only really told in a handful of cut-scenes throughout. The intro, which gives the game context and 2 cut-scenes after beating Level 3 and 6, the former serving as a: "false" ending. I'm guessing this game was originally only 3 levels long and they expanded on it later but might be wrong.

For the type of game that it is, a massive story isn't needed but nonetheless, it would've been nice to perhaps expand on it a little more and make you excited to see how it progresses.

  • Graphics


As it's an old-school style game, you certainly don't expect photo-realistic graphics nor would you really want them. However, despite this, I feel even with that in mind, that they're pretty bad.

The character models are pretty ugly to look at and the levels themselves are very bog standard for a game of this style.

There have been just so many far better looking retro style games that we've seen released over the last few years (and even back in the day imo) that this one really doesn't do enough to make it stand out in that department. Graphics may not make for a good game in themselves but they can certainly help make them last longer in the memory.

  • Sound


For me, this is the one part of the game that's actually pretty good.

The game includes a Chip-Tune style OST that compliments the game rather well imo. In fact, some of them, I wouldn't mind listening to again outside of the game, the first section of Level 6 (Moon Base) being a standout for me personally, though the loop comes a bit too early for my liking.

However, one annoying part occurred in the game where no music played at all. Technically, this happened at the beginning of the game too but that I could understand, the whole: "Calm before the Storm" type thing.

The 2nd time, though, was during the 2nd phase of the 3rd boss. That fight could've been made so much better with a pulsating piece to go with it. As it is, it just felt very out of place and tacked on in a way.

So whilst this may not have been the greatest OST I've ever come across, even for a game of its kind, it was still a good effort.

The sound effects are pretty standard, though and nothing out of the ordinary but do the job well enough.

  • Gameplay


Unfortunately, this is where it all fell apart for me. I'll start with the not-so-annoying aspect first.

The controls themselves are OK, you can customise which buttons you want to shoot or jump with, though it's slightly confusing how it displays in the menu but it still technically works.

The game itself runs pretty smoothly overall as well, very little in the way of frame rate drops, except when you use one of the abilities for the 2nd character you unlock, which I'll cover in more detail shortly.

That's where the good part ends.

Firstly, the enemy AI/placement in this game makes the game pretty unplayable in a lot of places. Time and time again, you'll enter a room, only to be ambushed by an enemy you had literally NO chance of avoiding and be forced to take a lot of damage or even be killed if you had little health upon entering.

Even from the very first level, this is a problem in the game but becomes much worse later when the super-fast Samurai-type enemies appear.

The other thing that makes this an issue is the fact you get NO invincibility frames after being hit whatsoever, meaning you can quite easily be juggled by them and forced to die. This can pretty much happen throughout most of the game and makes some of the bosses that you can't exploit (such as the 2nd one) very annoying to deal with.

As such, this turns what is technically a Run and Gun into more of a Stop and Shoot as the only way you'll be able to progress is to be much more careful and exploit their lack of jump height to pick them off one by one, then backtrack to the last door you entered, which acts as the game's checkpoint system and then try again to kill some more enemies.

Collision detection is also very hit and miss, pardon the pun, as sometimes you can be hit and were nowhere near whatever it was that apparently hit you.

You can pick up upgrades, such as health extensions and gun power ups to increase your chances but even when you've picked every single one up, there will still be many instances where you die because the design of the game is just so bad.

It's also almost impossible to get 2 lumps of gold in the very first level of the game due to the need to be pixel perfect and it's not entirely clear where the hit box for the spikes are.

By beating each level with 90% enemies killed and 90% gold collected (or more), you can also receive other character upgrades that make the game easier, from double jump to charged shots but the game gives you zero indication how to actually USE them/how they work and you have to figure them out for yourself by playing. I still don't know what effect the spike boots have, I'm guessing they halve spike damage but don't know for certain.

There are also quite a few instances where you can fall into a pit with spikes or lava and have literally NO chance to get out, forcing a restart from the last checkpoint you got to.

All of the above describes Normal Mode. If you want to fully complete this game and get the Platinum trophy, though, you'll have to endure Hard Mode...and all of this is magnified tenfold on that difficulty. Though you do unlock a new character to play as and this is mighty important.

Playing as the default Blasting Agent you had to play as on Normal difficulty, the already super-fast Samurai type enemies become literally impossible to deal with unless you can find ways to exploit them, usually by standing on a higher ledge to kill them. You get fewer health pickups as you might expect, normally an understandable thing to occur but this also makes the game vastly more unplayable due to the terrible AI and erratic patterns it has.

In the end, I got to the 3rd boss on Hard after fluking the 2nd one before I had to give up and look at a YouTube video to see why I couldn't get him past half his health...only to see that the 2nd character (Sting) utterly BREAKS the game!

Basically, if you keep tapping the shoot button, he does a spinning attack that makes him all but INVULNERABLE to attack, unless he's hit from behind or below. When the power meter is fully charged, he can scythe through pretty much anything, though this also slows the game down greatly when ploughing through a lot of destructible blocks.

However, Sting has a nasty bug, whereby if you accidentally do a diagonal downwards attack, he won't stop until he hits an object or the bottom of the screen and there's NO WAY to cancel it.

So you accidentally do that on Level 4, which is also terribly designed anyway due to having a long trek to a door for a checkpoint, then your progress is forfeit and you have to kill all the enemies/collect gold again because he'll just fall uncontrollably to the bottom of the screen if no platform/enemy stops you beforehand.

Oh, another poor design choice: while you can re-enter every room and backtrack in MOST cases (apart from one instance in Level 5, I believe it was where you can't go back up), you enter the boss room without the requisite amount of enemies/gold (90% on Normal, 100% on Hard) for the trophies, you have to do the entire level AGAIN if you want them as there's no turning back and the game gives no indication that a boss is in there whatsoever.

I believe this is everything that I wanted to cover here but I may have forgotten something, there were just so many design flaws I lost track, honestly.

  • Trophies


The trophies are pretty straightforward, at least, if you can put up with the terrible game design for long enough to get them.

All you need to do is beat each level on Normal and Hard and do so with 90% enemies killed/gold collected on the former, 100% for each on the latter.

However, though I didn't have issues with them myself, multiple people have reported that the level trophies don't unlock properly when playing online, so if you want to be safe, be sure to play offline.

  • Verdict


Overall, it's safe to say I was very disappointed with this game. While I didn't expect it to be that good, I thought, given the low ratio and completion times I saw, that this would be a pretty quick and fun completion and the very cheap price tag made me think it would be worth it.

I was wrong.

This is one of the worst games I've ever played and if not for the music (and indeed TT not permitting it), it's one of only a handful of games I'd give a 0/10 to. What little good stuff there is in this game is totally outweighed by the most atrocious design I've seen in any game I've ever played and this is coming from someone who has played MANY poor, easy games for trophies.

So unless you are a hardcore trophy hunter or a genre leaderboard enthusiast (I am in both cases), give this one a miss. Unless it comes out for free with PlayStation Plus and you're feeling especially masochistic.
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