D/Generation HD is a remake of a PC classic. After being completely stuck within the first five minutes, I had to go read up on the game and watch YouTube videos, which is how I found that out. Like a lot of classics, it’s also very challenging. To people who loved the original, it’s probably a level of challenge that’s incredibly rewarding. I’m just not one of those people.
It’s hard to review a game that you know is beloved by a small but loyal fan base when you are just having no fun playing it. Every room of this game felt like a chore. If I wasn’t shooting enemies or evading obstacles, I was pretty much lost at all times. Watching YouTube videos to help guide me was the only way I could get through the game, and most of the time, I honestly could not see the thing that I was supposed to do that was being done in the YouTube walkthrough. A perfect example is picking up the laser weapon at the beginning of the game. Even after the 20th time the game restarted me at the beginning, I still haven’t actually seen this weapon; I just know where to walk to keep getting it. Anyway, I could complain about how long it took me to find that laser all day, so let’s just move on with the review.
Here’s what I liked:
Great visual design — I wish I liked this game more, because the overall style and graphics are awesome. The updated visuals are a perfect compliment to the classic version of the game. It’s a very retro-futuristic aesthetic, and I genuinely thought it looked great.
Isometric view — I’m a sucker for games with an isometric view. Top-down too, and I really wish more games utilized these kinds of viewpoints. Isometric makes for a unique, very video-game like experience that I think is just more fun than first-person, straight-on or games with dynamic 3D-camera work.
Music — Along with the visuals, the music is great. The soundtrack is full of totally retro, synth-based music that stays fresh and really works with the style of the game. I really liked the music in this game.
Here’s what I didn’t like:
What am I supposed to do — The game begins with you being dropped off on a helipad of the 80th floor of a building. There’s a door. You go through. There’s a hallway. You go through. Now what? Well, there’s a turret-thing shooting at you that you can’t kill. There’s a person you can talk to, but he doesn’t say anything that you really need to know, and he doesn’t trigger any event. Finally you find a button. It makes the turret go away and opens the door. Next room? Again, no clue. Don’t get me wrong, figuring out puzzles is great. But 20 rooms down the line, if you lose all your lives, you’re starting back at that helipad. It makes just trying stuff not very fun, and I can tell that just trying stuff is exactly what West Coast Software wants you to do. I won’t spend much more time belaboring the point about the laser I couldn’t find because it’s basically just a dot on a wall.
Difficulty — Like I said, if you die, you’re going to have to start over. Some people will celebrate difficulty like this, and I don’t mind a hard game either. But at least make the trial-and-error nature start you at the room, or at least a couple rooms back, when you die, and not all the way back at the beginning. There’s only so many times you can stand replaying the same areas over and over.
Controls are finicky — The way the game controls is yet another problem. Sometimes buttons would work as expected, sometimes not. Same goes for saving. Sometimes my saves would work, sometimes I’d load a save and be back at the beginning. This level of bugginess only adds to the annoying job of getting through the game.
If you haven’t figured it out by now, I really didn’t like this game, and at $24.99, it’s definitely no bargain. However, if you’re up for a challenge, and have fond memories of the original — or want to experience a classic and don’t mind playing a game with YouTube open on a second screen to lead you through — then it might be worth a try. Just don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Score: Try It
D/Generation HD was developed and published by West Coast Software on Xbox One. It was released on Februray 12, 2016 for $24.99. A copy was provided by West Coast Software for review purposes.