Avalanche Studio is back yet again with a massive open-world adventure game! This time around we are playing as a teenager in the late ’80s that have come back home from a weekend away with friends to discover that your town seems to have been under attack. Nobody is around and the few people that you do find have been a feast for crows. Generation Zero is a game that shows your character finding themselves in a lush Swedish countryside full of robots that want to end your life before the era of Grunge music sees the light of day!
The game starts off with a few texts boxes about your weekend getaway and when it loads up, you are on a beach with instructions to go to the nearest house. After that though, there is very little hand-holding. I honestly feel like this is where Generation Zero will lose a lot of people. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to play a game where you can beat it by rolling your face across the controller, but it gets to be downright ridiculous once you start exploring.
The enemies can be quite cunning. If you are spotted, you are likely to be swarmed by every robot in a 5-mile radius! This is all fine and dandy until you realize there are not many places you can go for cover. Generation Zero also wants you to be conscious of the fact that you should not engage with every robot that you see, but if you have to fight your way out of a situation, you have limited ammo, so make those shots count! The enemy AI is smart enough to know that if it is going to lose in a fight, it will try to run away from you. This is obviously good for you because when the tables are turned, they can be VERY aggressive. The enemies can be very quick and if you don’t aim at the right spots, can be quite the bullet sponges. I only wish that Avalanche added an enemy difficulty slider as I did feel like every fight I got into could be the one I die in. Speaking of which though, as long as you have adrenaline shots, you can continue to come back to life. If you do end up dying, you can resurrect yourself at any of the safehouses you have unlocked with your inventory fully intact.
It is a good thing the world is absolutely breathtaking because you will be spending a lot of time travelling the wilderness almost blindly. Looking back at other games that were developed by Avalanche, I find that the biggest repeat offender is that they construct these incredibly massive worlds and then put a whole lot of nothing in them. I’m not expecting the rollercoaster from Mall of America or anything, but it just seems like you will do an awful lot of walking around and unless you found a new safehouse, if you die, you will have to do that walk all over again. Let’s face it, if you are only encountering the smaller robots, you might be alright, but if you encounter the Tanks, you may as well kiss your progress goodbye and never go back to that spot ever again, because there is no way you will defeat those guys by yourself.
Which leads me to one of the major issues I have with Generation Zero. The multiplayer option is hot garbage. Let’s pretend you and some friends pick the game up to play together. You are all at the beginning of the game and you all sit down and play for 5 hours and really get a good handle on the first island. You will find out real fast that the only person that gets to keep that progress made was whoever hosted the game that the first time. I find myself scratching my head as to why, in 2019, this is even something that was considered. Also, getting into a group with randoms was near impossible for me as well. It would’ve been nice to go into the menu and see a list of anyone playing that have an open group. All you can do is go in and hope for the best. And that is if you don’t have the same issues that I had with getting kicked from the game as much as I did. I do admit that when I finally played with one other person, the game was a lot more enjoyable.
I really want to like Generation Zero. It has everything in it to make it a decent survival horror game. The lack of enemy variants but the sheer amount of them in the open world makes combat go from exhilarating to exhausting fairly quick into the game. Having the host be the only person that has anything to gain from multiplayer makes it so there is very little incentive to join other peoples game. There is a ton of promise in the game though!my hope is that Avalanche goes back and adds things like a difficulty slider to the game as it really is very difficult on solo. I really hope that a future patch takes care of the crashes as well. I found that the game would crash every 60-90 minutes for no reason at all. Really takes you out of the little fun you were having from the get-go. Generation Zero HAS potential though and with the right moves from Avalanche Studios, the game could get to a point that it is a lot of fun to play.
*Code kindly provided by the publisher for review*