Galerians: Ash
Game Info
Platform(s)
Playstation 2
Publisher
Sammy Studios
Developer
Enterbrain
Genre
Action
Official Website
ESRB Rating
Blood and Gore, Suggestive Themes, Violence
 
Grade
The Good

• Psychic powers are a nice change of pace
• Excellent CG cutscenes
• Soundtrack and voice acting are good

The Bad

• Feels slow and tedious in pace
• Camera needs to be more responsive
• Way too much backtracking

 
Grade
C+

The sequel to the Playstation game, Galerians: Ash has players take on the role of the psychically empowered Rion. The story picks up where the last game left off - Dorothy, a supercomputer gone bad creates the Galerians, an artificial race of superpowered beings, which are to aid her in taking over the earth. Rion defeats her, but is "killed" in the process. His mind is downloaded into the remnants of the computer and he's forced to relive his treachery over and over again. Six years pass until he finally breaks free and is restored to his body. It's not long before Rion discovers that Dorothy has made one final Galerian, Ash, who Rion must face and destroy.

Unlike your standard survival horror/action title, the main character doesn't use weapons to fight off the enemy. Instead, he has psychic powers, which can be used by taking PPECs (Psychic Power Enhancement Chemicals). To start the game, you have four different abilities, including a fire attack (Red), force attack (Nalcon), gravity attack (D-Felon) and a shield, each of which can be leveled up. During the game, you'll also gain new abilities. To use your attacks, you must hold down the Square button to charge it and then release to attack. Using your attacks will deplete the amount of that PPEC in your system, which can be recharged with capsules you find throughout the game. But, you can't just use these abilities without consequence - the more you use your abilities, the more your AP (addiction points) gauge fills. Of course, you can find items to reduce this gauge and fill your health gauge as well. If your AP gauge fills, it's game over. Along with PPECs and other items, defeated enemies will drop capsules that increase your various skills and HPs, giving the game a touch of RPG to the standard combat.

Visually, Galerians is built on a solid engine. The locations have a good bit of size and show an attention to detail. Spell effects and quality enemy and character design give this game a strong visual style that manages to set it apart from the competition. Probably the best part of the graphics are the pre-rendered CG cutscenes which pepper the game throughout and go a long way towards progressing the story. The level of detail and mood in the cutscenes are exceptionally sharp and among the best on the console to date. On the other hand, though, the cutscenes told through the in-game engine seem far less impressive as they show off the more clunky character models in a close-up detail that does them no favors.

The audio portion of the game is well done. Music ranges for ambient industrial to high-powered industrial techno throughout, depending on the urgency of your location. When walking around vacant locations, you'll be besieged with a soundscape that lends itself to the odd, offbeat world of Galerians. While not the best, the voice-acting is fairly good - only stymied by a script that at time can be a little stale. For the most part, though, you won't be assaulted with poor voice acting and script (like many games in the genre that have come before).

Galerians: Ash unfortunately suffers from a handful of issues that keep it from being a topnotch title. First and foremost is the pacing of the game which feels slow and tedious at times. A lot of time seems spent walking from one location to another, and since these areas are sizable and Rion runs so slowly, you'll be wasting some time just in travel. On top of that is the fact that you'll be spending a lot of time backtracking just to initiate the next sequence of events. Throw in a good number of cutscenes, and you may feel that there's not enough fighting being done. The way this game is presented lends me to believe that if the action had been handled like Devil May Cry, where the pace is a lot faster, the game would have come across a lot more interesting.

Also, the in-game camera tends to be a little slow at catching up with you at times, which often leaves you with a less than useful view of the area, especially during the heat of battle. And, while the graphics engine is pretty good, there are still a good bit of "jaggies" (jagged polygon edges). To correct this, though, the developers have thrown in a blurring effect that just makes things look more hazy, especially when turning the camera.

If you feel you can live with the way the game is paced, you should find a good action title that presents a good story and gives action gamers something different the the standard survival horror title. Give Galerians: Ash a rent before throwing down full-price for this game.

- - Vane

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