Earth’s Dawn is a new 2D side-scroller from developer OneorEight. Using interesting anime-style art with a fun hack-and-slash combat system, Earth’s Dawn is at a lot fun and a little over-complicated at times.
Players are introduced to a future where the world has been all but taken over by alien monsters called E.B.E. These aliens are only able to be killed using their own technology and weapons made from their bodies. Players get to customize (to a small degree) their character, and using a sword and gun, go out on missions to destroy the E.B.E. Players collect more parts to power up and customize their gear and weapons for every enemy they kill and the better your grade, or how you finish the monster, the better your chances at rare materials.
Combat in Earth’s Dawn is very fast paced. Players are given instructions as they move through the first level on how to jump, dash, and combo attack their way to victory. I found that button mashing was my first instinct, but as the game progressed and I got the hang of it, the combat is really fun and my favorite aspect of Earth’s Dawn. Monsters can be knocked up in the air, juggled a bit, shot a bit, and taken out with some impressive moves. Dashing and sliding are key to avoiding damage and getting a good score grade at the end of each encounter and mission.
As I said, as players take enemies out, they drop materials to craft with. This is where Earth’s Dawn gets a little over the top. Crafting consists of gathering a certain number of specific materials and then tossing in special materials to customize the output weapon, such as fire effect or ice effect. Not only must you have the right materials, but you have to gain the plans to make items by finishing certain missions and THEN have enough points acquired to spend as well. It can get a little frustrating and I found the system to be overly complicated. Items and materials can also be dismantled for other materials and points. If you enjoy min/maxing and crafting though, it is a very robust system.
Earth’s Dawn also has a very deep ability customization-tree system. I personally found it rather confusing and overblown as well. As missions are completed and levels are gained, new options open up on the spinal-cord like tree system. Players can link to certain abilities to add more attack or combine moves for what appeared to be hundreds of combinations. You have to choose within a certain amount of skills that increases as your character levels.
The sounds and music are what you would expect in a very Japanese game. The original dialog is kept in Japanese with English subtitles. The story itself is interesting, but a little played out at this point. The art design is one of the high points in Earth’s Dawn. The items and weapons you equip show up on your avatar and generally look very badass. My largest complaint was the repetitive levels, missions, and enemies. There are only seven areas and you are forced to repeat them over and over, in some form, during missions. There are a lot of missions though, so Earth’s Dawn will keep you busy aside from crafting and tweaking your character.
Earth’s Dawn is fast paced, side scrolling 2D combat, but with repetitive missions and enemies. Players who enjoy min/maxing their characters with hundreds of talents and skills along with crafting hundreds of different weapons and items, will get many hours of enjoyment from Earth’s Dawn.
Earth’s Dawn is available for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. This review is based on a PS4 copy provided for review purposes.
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