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Generation Zero review for PS4, Xbox One, PC


Platform: PS4
Also On: Xbox One, PC
Publisher: Avalanche Studios
Developer: Avalanche Studios
Medium: Digital/Disc
Players: 1-4
Online: Yes
ESRB: T

I was pretty excited to play Generation Zero. After all, it was made by Avalanche Studios, who are responsible for some of my all-time favourite games via the Just Cause series. Add in the fact that this game promised battling giant mechs in a pretty sizable open world, and I figured it was a recipe for awesomeness (or, at least, some fun explosions).

You can imagine my disappointment, then, when I started playing Generation Zero and discovered it was a dull, plodding game that had precisely zero of the elements that made Just Cause so much fun, with 100% more aimlessly wandering around in search of things to do.

At first I thought maybe I was just playing it wrong. The game does describe itself as a co-op shooter, so it stood to reason that I needed to stop playing offline, get over my dislike of playing with other people, and hop into an online co-op match.

I probably should have taken it as a sign that it took a long time for me to find any open matches. A long, long time. That right there should have been a big, flashing warning signal that something wasn’t right.

When I did finally get dropped into an online match, I quickly discovered that it didn’t matter whether I was playing solo or with other people, the end result was still the same: Generation Zero is a bad game.

Or, more accurately, it’s a deadly boring one. Yes, there are giant mechs, and yes, there’s a pretty sizeable map to explore, but that’s all the game has to offer. For the most part, you spend all your time here walking around empty countryside, looking for things to do. Occasionally you stumble across a house or a car or an little village, and in every case, you do the same thing over and over again: wander around, looking for things to loot, and then take what you can while dealing with the game’s horrible inventory management system.

When you do come across mechs, it’s not nearly as exciting as the premise promises. You just shoot and shoot until either the mech explodes or it tramples you to death and causes you to respawn in some far away spot. There’s not a whole lot of strategy to it, though given that your guns are kind of underpowered, particularly at first, there’s something to be said for simply ducking and hoping that some mechs don’t notice you, rather than charging headlong into every fight.

Playing with other people doesn’t change any of that, apart from making it a little easier to take down mechs. You’re still wandering aimlessly, hoping to discover points of interest, only this time you have someone else nearby, also wandering aimlessly. If you die, you’re instantly rendered useless to your teammates, since the game spawns you far, far away from everyone else. The first time I started an online match, in fact, I popped into the world a ten-minute walk away from my nearest teammate — and yes, that’s in real-time minutes, since the many vehicles scattered around this alternate history version of Sweden are all useless.

Generation Zero seems to think that it’s got a compelling enough story to make up for all this, but it really doesn’t. There’s a bunch of stuff about a post-WWII series of events that led to Sweden building giant mechs, but everything is so scattered and so inconsequential, it hardly seems worth the effort to hunt it down.

In other words, just about all Generation Zero has to offer players is a rolling countryside, and lots of it. If you’re the sort of person who enjoys aimless wandering but doesn’t like the idea of getting up off the couch and actually doing it, then you might be in luck here. Otherwise, don’t bother, because it’s absolutely not worth it.

Avalanche Studios provided us with a Generation Zero PS4 code for review purposes.

Grade: D+