Earth’s Dawn by Rising Star Games is a sci-fi action, 2D side-scroller that closely resembles the critically-acclaimed hack ‘n slasher Muramasa for PS Vita, and the action role-playing game Dragon’s Crown for Playstation 3. As a super-human soldier and a member of A.N.T.I., the player is employed to help eradicate the hostile E.B.E s (Extraterrestrial Biological Beings) that have recently invaded Earth. Protected by heavy armor and equipped with a variety of weapons, the player must lead a small squad of hard-nosed mercenaries into a blood-soaked battlefield run amok with extraterrestrial adversaries. The adventure that lies ahead is an arduous one, filled with intense action and headache-inducing conflict.
On the surface, Earth’s Dawn seems like an average hack ‘n slasher with very little to offer. This all changes, though, the moment the game starts and the player is introduced to a basic, but difficult tutorial that also doubles as a starter mission. The mission in question serves to familiarize the gamer with the controls, the combat system and the enemies themselves. It also offers advice on how to combat the various types of E.B.E.s that inhabit the landscape. But most importantly, it grooms the player for the difficulties that lie ahead (and there are many of them).
Once the tutorial ends, the player can select story-based missions from the ‘Mission Select’ menu; craft new equipment via Weapon Construction; and enhance their soldier by using the ‘Customize Skill’ system. As the name implies, the ‘Weapon Construction’ menu is the game’s crafting system. From there, the player can use any materials found during the game to enhance their weapons (i.e. swords, firearms, etc.). The process itself is accomplished by selecting the desired material from the ‘Weapon List’ by pressing X button, and then adding the required quantities. The results can vary depending on the items and material being used. When needed, the player can use the provided Dismantle Weapons/Dismantle Materials features to break down any unwanted content into useful, crafting material.
The game also includes five different skill trees that can be accessed via the Customize Skill menu. This skill system uniquely depicts a human brain that is divided into five separate categories — Attack Specialist, Technical Specialist, Defense Specialist, Ability Limit and Balanced. As the player completes missions, they are given materials to unlock skills. These skills can then be equipped via ‘Skill Slots’ (which appear as DNA strands) inside any of the massive skill trees.
Combat is full of adrenaline-pumping, non-stop action, as the player hacks, slashes and shoots their way through a multitude of alien creatures that all possess their own unique challenges. For example: The Nachtigalls are mechanical, bird-like creatures that usually attack in large flocks. When encountered, they will swoop down and attack the player with little warning. These creatures – while common throughout the game – are very easy to kill.
They usually appear early on during a level. Reptalians, on the other hand, are very difficult to defeat. These muscular, squid-like humanoids use large gatling guns that deal enormous amounts of damage. Defeating them can be a challenge since their armor is very difficult to penetrate. The Spinnes – which resemble giant scorpions – are no different. They can easily kill the player in a single blow, especially if their soldier’s skills haven’t been developed properly. This can be said for a majority of the game’s creatures.
Enemies with strong armor (i.e. the Reptalians, Spinnes, bosses, etc) rely on what is called the ‘Break Gauge’. When the armor of any enemy is reduced, they will be forced into a ‘Break’ state. When in this state, the enemy in question becomes paralyzed for a brief moment, making them vulnerable to the player’s attacks. Using weapons with a high Tech value (i.e. a gun) will reduce the enemy’s Break Gauge.
When an enemy is close to death, the player can execute what is called a ‘Fatal Blow’. The enemy in question must have low HP (i.e. Hit Points). This move can be executed by pressing the Square button. A Fatal Blow will defeat an enemy in one blow, and it may also cause rare materials to drop. Health points can also regenerate by killing enemies with this move.
Defeated E.B.Es generate what are called Active Crystals. This becomes the energy needed to craft and enhance weapons. Aside from defeating E.B.E.s in battle, the player can also disassemble materials to obtain Active Crystals. Moreover, defeated enemies can also drop crafting materials. By collecting these materials, the player can develop new weapons. It is possible to collect multiple materials from a single E.B.E. Rare materials may drop, so it’s important to collect as much material as possible.
Earth’s Dawn has beautiful graphics. The 2D sprites are enormous, and they move with incredible fluidity. Even the aliens are impressive, as they fill the screen from all directions. The apocalyptic backgrounds also add to the game’s intense atmosphere.
As far as games are concerned, Earth’s Dawn manages to capture (and even maintain) the stylish, arcade-like action that made games like Dragon’s Crown and Muramasa so popular. And while the game itself isn’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination, Rising Star Games deserves praise for releasing such a diverse (and unique) game for Playstation 4.
Platform: Playstation 4
Publisher: Rising Star Games
ESRB: T (Teen)
Earth’s Dawn Official Website: http://www.risingstargames.com/us/games/earths-dawn/
|Beautiful 2D sprites and backgrounds.|
|Loud explosions and the screams of battle all enhance the arcade-like experience.|
|Bloody, challenging and fun.|
|As far as games are concerned, Earth's Dawn manages to capture (and even maintain) the stylish, arcade-like action that made games like Dragon's Crown and Muramasa so popular.|