A.R.E.S. Extinction Agenda

Jul 14, 2012 No Comments by

When I think of A.R.E.S., I can’t help but think of S.T.A.L.K.E.R.. They’re totally different games; ARES is a 2D action-platformer and STALKER is an open-world FPS, but they share one critical thing: nobody expects their acronym to actually stand for anything. It’s the name of the main character; any further explanation is left to the imagination. However, with only four letters, it’s not terribly difficult to guess what they might be.

Always Riddling Enemies with Shots

ARES: Extinction Agenda plays something like the Megaman series if it was invented twenty years later. Controls boil down to variations on jumping and shooting, the former feeling fantastic and the latter feeling less so. The combat is fast and frantic; if you manage to get a bead on them, enemies die in seconds. You aim & fire either via mouse cursor or analog stick, making attacking & dodging independent. This is for the best, as ARES moves a tad too ridigly for its own good especially when it comes to the air.  The designers seem to have been at least somewhat aware of this, and tend to stray away from insta-kill death pits, which can swing the difficulty from challenging to frustrating. Overall, the gameplay remains solid and plays to its best points, though there are speed bumps along the way.

The game also includes a ranking system for each level, influenced by a number of simple factors. Did you find the secret area? Did you get hit? Did you go through quickly? It also takes into consideration a combo system, which counts the number of consecutive shots you’ve landed without taking damage. It’s a simple system that rewards skill and practice well. The issue, however, is that it trivializes slower weapons when you can get six hits on enemies that would normally only take one or two. It’s a small problem, but a definite oversight.

Animations Rarely Exceed Substandard

ARES‘ aesthetic appeal is a mixed bag. In screenshots and stills, the game look marvelous, and rightfully so; the environments are carefully detailed, maintaining a consistent art style that’s a pleasure to look at. Sadly, this means little when half of the animations look like something off of an old Flash game. Most of the time, you’re too preoccupied by the fast-paced gameplay to notice a laughably strange wiggle-to-death animation, but it becomes hard to forgive when some of the main bosses disassemble in the same spectacularly shoddy fashion. Overall, the graphics are well done but inconsistent.

A Really Excellent Soundtrack

One of the best aspects of the game is its soundtrack (which is free to listen to here.) Electric guitar combines with industrial synth to amplify the already intense environment. It’s a really standout part of the game, definitely worth picking up separately.

Actually Rather Enjoyable; Short

At its best, ARES is explosive. Satisfying shooting, detailed graphics, and a supercharged soundtrack all combine to make ARES‘ high points memorable. However, the game fizzles out far too soon, lasting only a couple hours. Enjoy it while it lasts; its replay value is limited.

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About the author

Amateur games journalist looking to expand his portfolio. When I'm not writing for Super Combo, I'm editing articles for others or goofing around in Dota 2. If you enjoyed the article, let me know! I always appreciate feedback. You can learn more about me at WillUhl.com.
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