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Final Exam Review

…Results are in!…

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Final Exam is a 2D/3D (2.5D?) side-scrolling beat ‘em up much like the classic Streets of Rage developed by Mighty Rocket Studio. I don’t really have much to say about this release. It’s kind of barebones. I mean, reviews are usually supposed to be a cavalcade of humorous anecdotes about the writer’s experience, but my experience with this game was far from noteworthy. It wasn’t even bad, I happen to think that the game is fun. It’s just not very memorable or all that interesting.

Final exam is a game with very little plot. It starts with four friends on their way to their old high-school’s alumni ball, when all of a sudden *BLAMMO*, their car crashes when they avoid the silhouette of a giant beast. The game quickly throws you into a tutorial where you learn to battle aliens with a plank of wood, a gun, and some grenades. The plot is presented in true comic-book style. As you can see, the story isn’t very engaging. Nor is it meant to be. The game is simply supposed to be a fun romp you can play with your friends.

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The combat in the game is quite well done, linear as it may be. Mashing X will initiate 3 hit combos, holding up and X will launch aliens in the air for bigger combos a la Devil May Cry, and holding down and X will smash them into the floor. There are guns in the game, you aim with the right stick and press the right trigger to fire. This is how aiming works in all side-scrollers like Serious Sam Double D XXL and Contra. This is of course before you consider upgrades that are unlockable in the game.

The characters have the same four stats. The stats are HP, Grenade Damage, Melee Damage, and Firearm Damage. Again, much like Streets of Rage, each character has different statistics for each one. Three of the characters each have a defining statistic that makes them prolific in one area, this leaves only one character being completely well-rounded. You can increase these stats by finding collectibles hidden around the levels. This means that playing for the stats is eventually useless, as you can max out each character.

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The combat in the game is quite well done, linear as it may be. Mashing X will initiate 3 hit combos, holding up and X will launch aliens in the air for bigger combos a la Devil May Cry, and holding down and X will smash them into the floor. There are guns in the game, you aim with the right stick and press the right trigger to fire. This is how aiming works in all side-scrollers like Serious Sam Double D XXL and Contra. This is of course before you consider upgrades that are unlockable in the game.

The characters have the same four stats. The stats are HP, Grenade Damage, Melee Damage, and Firearm Damage. Again, much like Streets of Rage, each character has different statistics for each one. Three of the characters each have a defining statistic that makes them prolific in one area, this leaves only one character being completely well-rounded. You can increase these stats by finding collectibles hidden around the levels. This means that playing for the stats is eventually useless, as you can max out each character.

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The skill tree is upgraded by using SP. You earn one SP by clearing a level. For the third time, very much like Streets of Rage, each character has a special move that deals great damage. You use the SP you unlock to upgrade these abilities. You can unlock other abilities such as air-dodges and better air-combos.

The levels are massive and have different tiers. The design is a lot like Castlevania, nowhere near as complicated, mind. Just like Castlevania in the way that you can move up or down different planes of the level. They throw a catch-22 into the game mechanics. You earn more CP by exploring the level and finding more pickups. However, you lose CP for taking too long on a mission. This is a mechanic that I assume is supposed to make the game replayable. Each level has different objectives to complete, such as finding a pickup or escorting missions. These aren’t intrusive or boring or anything, but I don’t really feel that they add anything to the game whatsoever.

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The game has online and local co-op. These aren’t different modes, just the campaign with your friends thrown in. I only had the opportunity to do this once for a half hour or so, but I could feel that this was how the game was supposed to be played. A half hour in co-op and I had ten times more fun than I did playing any other part of the game.  I call it co-op, but it is definitely more of a competitive game. The person with the most points at the end of each round is rewarded much more than anyone else. You also cannot see your friends’ health bars. It’s a shame that I didn’t get to play this part of the game as much before writing this review. As once again, this is what the game was made for.screenlg5

To sum up, Final Exam was a good little bit of fun. It’s not excellent by any stretch of the imagination, but it is certainly adequate. The comic-book style has been done before, but there’s a reason for that. It works, fantastically. Level design is multi-tiered but there’s really nothing to that whatsoever. It seems to be in for the sake of being in. Combat is simple but very well-done, and the game will take you a good 5-8 hours to finish. Do not buy this game if you don’t think you’ll get a chance to play the online cooperative mode, as that alone is where all the fun is.

Final Exam is a game that tries to fool you into thinking it’s more than it is. It’s a bog standard side-scrolling beat ‘em up with the illusion of mass exploration and created combos. It’s like they do these extra things, but with the bare minimum. It’s isn’t bad by any stretch of the animation, it can definitely be a spot of fun. But it most definitely isn’t all that great. For fun with friends, turn to Final Exam. If you’re an introvert, just lie down and cry instead.

Review Score

Pegi Rating

 

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Halim joined the thisisxbox.com team as a news writer and reviewer Dec 2012. Is a huge fan of Capcom's fighting games and is an avid gamer on both Xbox 360 and Xbox One
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