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XBOX 360 XBLIG Review: Ophidian Wars: Opac's Journey

Opac's Journey

Available Platforms

Xbox 360

Reviewed Platforms

Xbox 360

Pros

Badass Ninja
Cave Exploration

Cons

Boring Gameplay
Short

Price

MSPĀ 80

Purchase Recommendation

Try

Gameplay

Opac's Journey feels familiar. Exploring caves, collecting powerups, backtracking to older areas with new abilities to get items you previously couldn't access. The whole game feels much like an homage to Metroid. The abilities you pick up are even stored in little balls held by birdlike statues. There's nothing wrong with taking points from one of the most successful gaming series in history. The question is, does Opac's Journey work as an indie gaming homage, or does it come off as just another Metroid rip-off?

Opac is a cool looking dude. He's a badass ninja type guy who must use his agility to try to reach the surface as quickly as possible. Why? I don't know, his girlfriend is waiting for him or something. Little green cores are dispersed throughout the game, and in addition to serving as checkpoints they disperse little nuggets of wisdom and/or backstory. They keep telling Opac to hurry up, lest the bad guys reach his girlfriend before he does. They don't really explain who's after her, why she's important, or anything too much really. This is evidently the first game of a series and the developers are teasing you with small facts to get you interested. Hopefully they explain what the heck is going on in the following games.

Look at the size of that mushroom.


Although Opac starts off only being able to jump, he quickly begins to rack up new abilities. These include gliding, climbing walls, and the ability to move the camera (I'm not joking). These abilities can be upgraded by collecting "roots" found throughout the game. Opac can acquire up to six abilities, each of which can be upgraded once. I say that he "can" collect 6 abilities because as I found on my run not all abilities are required to beat the game. For some reason I missed the sprinting ability, but managed to make it to the end without it. There are even a few timed sections at the end which I managed to complete under the clock without being able to sprint.

The fact that I was able to complete the game while missing one sixth of the abilities seems like a bit of an oversight to me. Also, this is one of those games where there are constantly multiple doors to choose from and older areas must be revisited once new abilities are acquired. Most of these types of games (that's right I'm looking at you Metroid) have a handy dandy world map to consult when you become lost and confused. Opac's Journey lacks any type of map and suffers for it. Granted, the cave layouts are generally simple enough to bang out where you're supposed to be with a few trial and errors, but it's a frustration that shouldn't occur.

Opac's Journey isn't bad. Some of the abilities are cool, exploring can be fun and the controls are tight and responsive. (It also only costs a dollar, so there's that.) For the most part they pull off everything they attempted to. The problem is that they didn't try to pull off too much. Opac's Journey is boring. Unlike its source of inspiration (Metroid) Opac's Journey has no combat. There are no enemies, no weapons. It's just you and the clock. Since they don't show you the game time until you're done and there's only a few timed sections at the end, this isn't much encouragement.


Visuals and Sound

Opac's graphics are good. Opac himself does look very cool. The cave environments have little variety other than the color of the blocks, but they get the job done. After beating the game you are given access to a "SECRET ROOM" which houses some concept art and 3D models. For me, this was not exciting enough to warrant the "SECRET DOOR" title but maybe it will for you. The music score works well enough, as do the various sound effects. Be prepared to hear the geyser sound effect fairly often throughout your journey.

Go Opac, go!

Final Verdict

Opac's Journey shows promise. I think the next game in the series has the potential to be kickass. This game just isn't exciting enough. Some sort of ninja uses his agility to reach the surface as quickly as possible? It's essentially the plot to the TV show "Ninja Warrior." I recommend downloading the demo if you're a fan of the Metroid genre just to give it a shot. Maybe you'll be more interested in Opac's Journey to reach his girlfriend in time. For me, the idea of busting my ass to make sure my woman doesn't get pissed hits a little too close at home to be much fun.

 

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little too close at home to

little too close at home to be much fun.This is a subject of my attention. I love studying Cheap Walt Disney's 100 Years Of Magic 172 Discs DVD Boxset|chuck Seasons 1-5 DVD Box Set|cane Seasons 1-5 DVD Box Set| True Blood Season 6 DVD Box Set| Suits Seasons 1-2 DVD Box Set|Rosetta Stone V3 Spanish (Latin America) Levels 1-5

Wow, I really like the art

Wow, I really like the art style but ... no combat?  That's a little disappointing!  Will give the demo a try, though.  Thanks for the review!

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