The very first thing I noticed was that the trailer has Argus speaking, but there's no actual spoken dialogue in the game. It's a small disappointment, but one that nagged at the back of my mind. Then there's some very curious uses of text in game- sometimes speaking happens in text boxes, and others they have brightly colored text appearing around the screen. It makes a little sense in a way once you figure out how it's working, but putting those into specific color coding or colored text boxes may have helped the strange way it appears.
Zenith's game mechanics have a ton of issues. The combat is really imbalanced and made more troublesome due to clunky controls. The melee combat leads to taking massive amounts of damage because enemies all hit way too hard and fast, the blocks and rolls are useless against constant hordes of enemies, and health potions have an extremely long refresh times for use.
The skill trees has some decent things such as adding a hit to a melee combo, small increases in elemental damages, and even a node to transform the roll into a fire dash. The problem here is that the stats are all weighted towards whatever armors you have with the highest stats- meaning weapons and spells you get aren't given damage stats- the damage is determined by the kinds of armor you are wearing.
The music has volume control issues with it randomly being way too loud, menus need to be opened multiple times in order to actually function at times, and even enemies being stuck in geometry requiring the game to be restarted from my last save point. There's a plethora of bothersome issues, and honestly, a patch could easily balance this up and make the mechanics of the game less frustrating.
Though, with that said, I have to say I still really, really, REALLY liked the game. The reason I say this is what Zenith does right is with wit and humor. That's where the real enjoyment comes from. It's the first game in a very long time that consistently made me laugh out loud. All the gameplay problems aside- the writing is where Zenith absolutely shines. It provides a commentary on the genre, little nods to other things, and funny new ways to view some of pop-cultures most popular series'.
The game has a lot of flaws but I think the writing more than makes up for it. The game is completely loaded with references to not just games like Skyrim, Bioshock, and Metal Gear, but also the communities and mods related to them. I mean the sheer brilliance of the "celebrity testimonials" on the website in itself is absolutely hilarious.
Zenith may not play the best, but it definitely offers a ton of laughs and an intriguing well put together story loaded to the brim with humor, sarcasm, wit, and a dash of charm. It gives us a kind of poor man's version of The Bard's Tale, twisting the conventions of the genre into something new and entertaining. I would very much like to see the developers make another game with the same characters in the same universe, but with a larger budget. This is a game with a tons of potential and could definitely benefit from more time and money to make something even greater.
If you appreciate funny fantasy games like Dragon Fantasy Book, Dink Smallwood, or The Secret of Monkey Island- I would highly recommend you give Zenith a chance- you'll be rewarded with a surprisingly great story and a whole lot of laughs.
Zenith on [ PS4 ] [ Steam ] [ Xbox One ]
Infinigon games on [ Youtube ]
*Review copy provided (played on Steam), thank you!