Avalanche Studios, best known for their Just Cause series, have released something of a head-scratcher with Generation Zero. This alternate 1980’s Sweden overrun by death robots offers an intriguing setting, but not much else. One thing they certainly got right is the visuals, which are stunning. God rays pierce the tree lines brilliantly while lightning will set the sky ablaze. Weather effects are spectacular, including trees and leaves blowing in the wind realistically and a rain effect that simply blew me away. Playing Generation Zero is like playing an E3 tech demo, and the visuals alone could be worth giving this game a look. Hostile robots look cool, but their animations leave a bit to be desired, ultimately softening their threatening nature by appearing too clunky. However clunky, these bots can make short work of you if you aren’t well equipped or don’t have friends backing you up. The game supports up to four player co-op and co-op is definitely the best way to play. The shooting is merely serviceable, but utilizing different ammo types can spice up combat.
The story is almost non-existent, told through a handful of tapes and notes scattered across the massive map. This game world is absolutely huge, almost intimidatingly so. I was over a dozen hours before I started to scratch the surface of the game’s main landmass. Honestly, you’ll know what this game is all about long before you get into the thick of it. At the same time, there is something to be said about the world itself. Abandoned towns feel lived in, to the point where I could imagine kids playing in the street and families sitting out on the deck to enjoy the night sky. It’s an almost impossible task for a game so otherwise light on world building, and yet it is pulled off masterfully. Generation Zero feels more like an extensive demo than a fully fledged game, but given its discounted price, it’s not a game I’d just write off. There is something here for the right kind of players, a massive world full of intrigue, and if that’s enough for you then Generation Zero is well worth the time and money.