Earth’s Dawn, the 2.5D action side-scroller is coming to the West after its initial release in Japan in September of 2015. During an invasion from the aliens known as the EBE, your mission is to fight back these invaders and reclaim the Earth for all of human kind.
The sound design is immediately familiar to players of Eastern games such as the Final Fantasy series. A subtle yet pumping soundtrack backs your frantic actions as you face off against the horde of EBE. Weapon and action sounds are thoroughly meaty, allowing you to feel every blow you make against an EBE. Voice acting in Earth’s Dawn is hard to comment on, due to the lack of localisation. All voices are spoken in their original Japanese language (with subtitles of course), I found this made me take a double take at first, but it is easy to see past.
The graphics of Earth’s Dawn are on the whole very good. Characters are modelled from an almost anime style, with the backdrops being drawn with good detail. Characters too have good detail, and are definitely high end, which is impressive with the anime influences being so strong in the design of this game. Weapons and enemies are varied and interesting, with even the smallest and easily crushed EBE having strong details and interesting styles to them. The overall look of this game immediately reminded me of Darkest Dungeon, despite its thematic differences.
The user interface and main hub menus are somewhat overwhelming to begin with, a lot of detail is thrown at the player and it does take some time to learn the ropes, but once this is mastered, you will find a detailed and deep system.
The gameplay is that of a typical action side-scroller in the same vein of titles such as Contra. However after getting to grips with the controls and the menu and upgrades, there is a deep cavern of customisability of combat. Combos can be strung together elegantly with ease, utilising your sword, gun, and dash ability to wipe out a room of EBE’s without ever breaking stride.
Combat encounters are broken up in to rooms, with clearing a room of aliens being the objective before you can move to the next room and closer to your objective. The missions themselves are contained within a fairly small map of rooms, with your objective usually being on the room at the end of the corridor, and because of this each mission can take as little as five minutes to complete. Whilst this has the possibility to detract from the games immersion, the sheer number and variety of missions and objectives on offer in Earth’s Dawn kept me coming back, and allowed a quick ‘pick up and play’ feel when playing time was limited, much like a handheld game would.
The inclusion of boss type EBE’s, which are just stronger versions of the regular ones usually, brings more strategy to the mission, as this enemies cannot be spammed, because they are tough. The emphasis on percentages complete, look obtained, and skills unlocked allows Earth’s Dawn to be a much deeper experience than it initially seems. It is a completionists dream (or nightmare), and will keep pulling you back more than a little Japanese action side-scroller about weird aliens should.
Earth’s Dawn is aesthetically great looking, the anime style fits the story perfectly, and the sound design fits wonderfully in to the games universe. The lack of voice localisation is disappointing, but there isn’t so much text that reading the subtitles becomes laborious. With a wonderfully simple yet deep combat system, Earth’s Dawn is a joy to play, and if you like to tinker with your stats and character, you’ll easily be able to find your money’s worth in this gem.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Microsoft Xbox One code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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