I’ll be the first to admit that I went into Gemini: Heroes Reborn with zero expectations. It’s a licensed game based on a TV series that had recently been cancelled (again), so naturally I thought I was in for something… well… rubbish. What a surprise I had then when I actually enjoyed playing through Gemini: Heroes Reborn; a game that’s a little rough around the edges but actually has some pretty neat gameplay concepts.
Rather than casting you in the role of a character from the show, Gemini: Heroes Reborn instead sees you playing as a new original character, Cassandra. Along with her close friend Alex, Cassandra explores a mysterious abandoned facility in the hope of finding out information about her unknown family. Of course, things go wrong and Alex ends up being taken captive by a mysterious group whilst Cassandra discovers she has time-manipulating abilities. Thus begins her adventure to rescue Alex and find out about the dark secrets that linger in her past…
There’s nothing in the story you wouldn’t have seen elsewhere, with all the twists and turns the story attempts to take feeling rather predictable. That’s not to say I was bored at all, just slightly under-whelmed. Having not watched the Heroes Reborn TV show, I’m not sure how many references there are to the actual series itself – I did watch the original run of Heroes though, and noticed a neat reference to the time-travelling Hiro Nakamura.
Whilst the story doesn’t offer anything that refreshing, the gameplay on the other hand took me by surprise with Cassandra’s time manipulating abilities integrated into the game perfectly. You’re able to switch between two time periods on the fly – present day 2014 within the derelict ruins of the facility and 2008 where the facility was still intact and operating. What’s most impressive though is how well it time-switching works, with the transition occurring smoothly and the visual effect of the degradation between time periods actually looking quite neat.
This time-switching brings some of Gemini: Heroes Reborn coolest moments. Whilst you’ll use it to simply navigate through the facility (a path that is blocked in one time period may not be in another for example), it’s also useful when solving puzzles. For example, one scene sees you re-planting a small tree in 2008 so that it can be used to climb up and access a vent in 2014 when it’s fully grown. They’re certainly clever and Cassandra’s powers lend to a few neat puzzles throughout the game, though I would’ve appreciated a few more just to bulk out the experience.
Cassandra’s powers are most perfectly integrated in the combat situations that see you switching between time periods as you take down your foes. It’s a satisfying feeling having an enemy pursue you, only to switch time periods and then switch back again when you’re behind him, giving you the opportunity to take him out. Whilst Cassandra doesn’t have any combat skills, she does have telekinetic abilities that allow her to launch all sorts of obstacles at enemies. There’s a certain satisfaction to be found from taking a locker from 2008 and beating an enemy in 2014 to death with it – maybe that’s just me though?
Other powers include the ability to stop time to either out-manoeuvre your foes or even stop bullets and send them back to sender. There are so many neat powers at hand and so many different ways to use them to take out your foes, my personal favourite being grabbing an unaware enemy with telekinetic powers, using him as a bullet shield and then sending him to his demise by throwing him into a huge fan. Yes, it’s sadistic, but with powers like these you have to be at least a little creative!
There are a few platforming elements in the game, and whilst it’s nothing too intense it does actually breaks up the game a little. You’ll be carefully navigating tight vents, jumping from roof to roof… besides being a time-travelling, telekinetic powered beast, Cassandra’s also the athletic type. It just shows the surprising amount of variety on offer in Gemini: Heroes Reborn.
Whilst the gameplay offers a ton of cool stuff, unfortunately Gemini: Heroes Reborn’s aesthetics are a little dull. Character models look like they’ve come straight from a last gen game and aren’t that well animated either. The environments aren’t as bad (perhaps owing to the quality of the Unreal 4 engine), but still feel a little dull and unoriginal. We’ve come across so many facilities/lab areas in previous games that it would’ve been nice to have ventured through something a bit more original.
There’s still room for some neat visual effects though, such as the objects in the game bending out of shape as you use them to beat enemies down, or perhaps the bullets whizzing past you as you slow down time. There are instances when Gemini: Heroes Reborn looks great, it just isn’t as consistent with the environments and character models. It’s not something that can be held against them too much though – especially when you consider the low price point that the game has.
Something that can be held against the game though are some of the performance issues. There’s a fair few instances where the frame rate really slows down, turning the game into a rather clunky affair. There were also a few occasions of graphical errors, along with the physics system going completely out of control, offering utterly bizarre but often humorous moments of pure rag doll insanity. These aren’t game breaking bugs – just issues that became quite noticeable as I played further through the game.
Gemini: Heroes Reborn spans over sixteen fairly short levels, offering around four to five hours of gameplay. The game isn’t that challenging either so don’t expect a stern challenge on the way. There isn’t much on offer to incite players to return after completion, with only collectibles on offer for those who like to 100% each game they play. These collectibles are a neat addition and offer additional story points, though they weren’t enough to motivate me to return for additional playthroughs.
I mentioned at the start of the review that Gemini: Heroes Reborn is a little rough around the edges and it’ll become apparent as soon as you start the game – the graphics are unspectacular and the story doesn’t exactly hook you in. Add to that a few performance issues and there’s enough to put off the average gamer.
Those who stick around though will get to experience some of the most enjoyable powers I’ve encountered in a videogame. Time powers have been utilised in video games plenty of times in the past but Gemini: Heroes Reborn really makes great use of them, offering some great set pieces and enjoyable battles against your foes. It’s far from a perfect game, but Gemini: Heroes Reborn is definitely worth checking out – even if you’re not a fan of the TV show.
– Great time powers
– Enjoyable combat situations
– Graphics aren’t particularly great
– A few performance issues crop up
Format Reviewed: Xbox One