RTX Red Rock Review

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Graphics: 8.0
Sound : 6.5
Gameplay : 8.0
Multiplayer : N/A
Overall : 7.0
Review by Bucky
It is 100 years in the future and Earth has just fought and won a desperate struggle against alien invaders known as L.E.D.s (for Light Emitting Demons).

While this is certainly good news, the military is very concerned about the recent loss of contact with the Mars colony. In order to gain intelligence while a rescue mission is organized a highly trained officer is sent to Phobos moon to gather intelligence on the situation on Mars. This, of course, is where you come in. You take on the role of E.Z. Wheeler, a highly decorated officer in the US Army Rangers with a distinguished family history. Because of an accident
during his last mission, E.Z. has been outfitted with a biomechanical hand and eye and is accompanied by a faithful A.I. module named Iris.

E.Z.'s biomechanical enhancements play a central role in the game and give a unique look to the world. You will be able to view the world through any of five views: Normal, Navigation, Heat sensing, Electrical, and Biological. In addition to the views granted by his enhanced eye, his artificial hand acts as a kind of Swiss Army Knife. Eventually, he will have a broad complement of attachments: torque wrench, taser, fusion torch, and grenade launcher. While the different hand attachments add nothing new to the game (these items could have all been handled by different inventory items), the enhanced eye adds a new twist. By scanning in Heat sensing mode, for example, you can see enemies through doors or walls. Electrical view highlights containers and hazards. You aren't forced to use most of these views, but they do make the game easier to finish. It is very useful to know that a L.E.D. is hiding behind that container, for example.

RTXRR is a third person adventure game that takes place on the surface of Mars. There is a tremendous variety of environments you will find yourself in, along with quite an impressive array of vehicles to drive. The environments range from roaming the arid surface of Mars, to water treatment plants to the "Mall of Mars". When you leave buildings to explore the surface, you will have to don a pressure suit and pay attention to your oxygen supply in order to survive. For all of this exploration, there are two different vehicles to drive, an alien spaceship to fly and a variety of robots to tool around in. The final environment to discuss is one that could have been left out, and that is the "Iris World", which is a hacker type game that annoyed me immensely.

The game's website describes the music like this: "The music goes beyond enhancing the environment; it actually reacts to the player's actions." What this means in practice is that the music will change tracks with no transition, and for no apparent reason. Doing something as innocuous as climbing a ladder can cause the music to make a jarring skip that is anything but "enhancing".

Fortunately, the voice work is well done. In an ironic twist, the best voiceovers are for your AI buddy (Iris). Somehow the actress managed to be amusing while at the same time coming across like a computer. Perhaps the biggest weakness of the game is that there are so few characters to hear from. The vast majority of people that you encounter are little more than mannequins. They do not speak a single line.

Graphically, I found the game to be quite pleasing, although they are far from perfect. You're not going to find dynamic shadows or multiple light sources here. But you will find environments that are visually appealing as well as intriguing. The surface of Mars is red, and bleak. No surprise there, but the jagged cliffs and buildings partially buried in the sand are nicely done and add to a feeling of "being there".

The character animations are very reminiscent of something out of a Pixar movie. In fact, the Martian pressure suits seem to be inspired by Buzz Lightyear. The animations were smooth and for the most part clean. On rare Occasions clipping issues with doors did occur, but they weren't enough to cause real concern.

Which brings us to the biggie: how does it play? That question is a bit of a knotty one to answer. On the one hand there are parts of the game that I detested. Driving some of the vehicles or negotiating the paths in the "Iris world" is aggravating. On the other hand, the sheer variety of challenges, and the sense of exploration kept me up 'til the wee hours of the morning night after night. The storyline is also notable simply because it is coherent and somewhat entertaining. I will tell you, the story takes a very slick unforeseen turn on you that makes the game all the more interesting, but that's all I'm gonna say about it.

Some people may find the difficulty level a little bit too low, since I was never forced to resort to the Internet to search up a way through an area. There were areas that were challenging, but the fact that dying just restores you close to where you died with all of your equipment intact means that it won't take long to figure out what you should be doing. The map view will always tell you what your next objective is, so you are never stuck in a spot where you just have no idea what to do. While the path to complete the game is linear, I never really had a confined feeling. There are a lot of areas to explore that are optional, which adds to the length of gameplay, should you choose to look around a bit.

I mentioned earlier about the driving and the "Iris World". There are three vehicles to pilot, a crawler, a "spider" and an alien scout ship. Navigating all of these vehicle is hampered by the third person camera, which doesn't allow for reversing. In tight quarters, this reaches extreme levels of frustration.

The "Iris World" that I keep discussing was, to me, absurd. There are certain areas where you need to accomplish some electronic task, like bypassing a door lock, for instance. For these tasks you need to assist your artificial intelligence module (Iris) by navigating electronic paths, grabbing a signal bit and delivering it to the proper gateway. These paths are mazelike, and you have to figure them out as you go. As I said, very annoying segments.

The robots available to play with, on the other hand, are fun to play with. Again, using Iris, you can take control of robots to navigate areas you aren't able to reach as a human. These robots give access to otherwise fatal areas or places too small to fit. In one case, a robot will even ferry your character through vacuum in a pressurized container.

There is no doubt that this game has its flaws, but I thoroughly enjoyed playing it all the way to completion. While the few interactive characters made the game feel shallow in areas, you still get the feeling that you are in fact on Mars, which is a novelty. The one feeling conveyed very strongly here is one of exploration. You are constantly entering new and interesting areas, and are forever encountering new challenges. The biggest downside here is the lack of replay. I would definitely recommend this as a rental, or if you find it for a good price.