Title: Gemini: Heroes Reborn
Platform: Xbox One / Steam / PS4 (Reviewed on Xbox One)
Developer: Phosphor Games
Publisher: Imperative Entertainment
Release date: EU: Out Now
TL;DR: Use time manipulation and telekinesis to unravel Cassandra’s story
Family Friendly?: Click here to skip the detail and see if this game is right for your family!
Gemini: Heroes Reborn comes from the writers of the recently aired television series of the same name, and is tied to the mobile game Heroes Reborn: Enigma. The story follows Cassandra as she searches for her clue to her family’s whereabouts in a seemingly abandoned and dilapidated building, with the help of her friend Alex. Soon enough the best friends find they are not alone, and Alex gets captured by armed men. As she watches her friend being dragged away by one guard, the other approaches and then suddenly… she’s somewhere else.
Players are introduced to the main mechanics of the game gradually, mastering each one before being given the next. The first set of powers allow Cassandra to create bubbles of time, allowing her to be in 2014 and view 2008 (and vice versa), without those in the other time being able to see her. Once players have surveyed the alternate time, they can shift into that time and continue on their way. This time manipulation power grows to then allow her to slow down time, giving her room to jump higher and further and control the flow of combat. Fairly early in the game, Cassandra gains telekinesis, granting her the power to stop, lift and throw items around her. If you combine all these powers together, you don’t even need a gun.
I spent a lot of my time exploring in the era without any guards, using the time bubble to observe my surroundings and plan my attack. I quickly figured out that fire extinguishers were my new best friend, exploding upon being telekinetically flung at my enemies and knocking them out, and sparking electric boards were the holy grail of “death traps”. The numerous ways to dispose of and eliminate guards was a huge part of the fun and ensures that different play-styles were catered to – Solid Snake and Leeroy Jenkins would both be happy here. Later on in the game I found myself being braver and relying less on my environment and more on my actual combat powers.
At first I found the game frustrating, with the combat taking a bit of time to get used to, and the objectives sometimes being a tad vague. At one point, I actually had to consult a walkthrough as I spent 30 minutes wandering around flipping between eras, looking for the waypoint – it turns out that the only way to progress was to actually incapacitate the guards, rather than sneak around them. I think the game could have taken a leaf from Deus Ex: Human Revolution’s book and allow the game to be completed without actually killing a single enemy, as it would have added more of a challenge.
Nonetheless, I eventually learned that to get the information Cassandra needed, I had to be ruthless and no-one would stand in my way. Not even that big, heavily armoured bloke with a missile launcher on either arm that is too heavy for my telekinetic throw. And that guy with a little cape that moves the same speed as I do, despite me slowing down time. And the little guy with shock batons that flips all over the place and runs like the wind. It’s okay though, you can take refuge by Time Shifting into the other era and health regenerates rapidly! I played this on the standard difficulty and found it ever so slightly too easy. Upping the difficulty may add more challenge, but if you’re only really interested in playing about with time and enjoying the story, the recommended difficulty will be fine.
I can forgive the apparent lack of transition between animations and textures not loading immediately because this game is visually beautiful. Gemini: Heroes Reborn is definitely not on par with AAA games, yet my first comparison was to The Last of Us. Every environment was atmospheric and the lighting was phenomenal – one room, in particular, had a hole in the ceiling and a tree in the center, and I simply had to just wander around and look at it all for a few minutes.
Despite this game being in the Heroes Universe and having quite a few references to the television show, it can be played as a standalone and still be enjoyed. I have no doubt that someone who has zero knowledge of the Heroes franchise could play this game and understand the story as well as I have, and I made it to halfway through season three before playing this game.
As for the story itself, it feels like one written by the creators of Heroes and that is because it is. Tim Kring is the Co-Founder of the publisher Imperative Entertainment and best known for creating the Heroes Universe. As expected from this writer, there are plenty of twists and shocks awaiting players, and the end leaves you feeling satisfied and curious, which is pretty much how I felt after watching the television series. The only thing that lets the story down for me is that the dialogue shows up in the bottom left corner like an IM conversation, distracting the eyes and filling an unnecessary portion of the screen.
Gemini: Heroes Reborn has around 4-5 hours of play-time, and even longer if you want to get all the achievements and collectibles. I think £12 on Xbox One or £11 on Steam is a very reasonable price for this game and would recommend it to those looking for unique combat mechanics and a visually pleasing setting.
- Atmospheric lighting
- Unique time-manipulation mechanics
- Satisfying conclusion to story
- Health regenerated too quickly
- Could time-shift to safety
- Average animations
Gemini: Heroes Reborn has a PEGI 16 rating for violence, and I agree – telekinetically throwing a man into a sparking electric panel isn’t particularly child-friendly in my eyes.
This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by Xbox UK