by Matt Porter
reviewed on PC
Help for Heroes
The season finale for the Heroes Reborn miniseries is going to air shortly after Gemini: Heroes Reborn comes out. The show hasn’t been renewed for a second season, so we probably won’t be seeing another game either. This is probably a good thing, as although it’s competent at what it does, you’ve seen everything Gemini: Heroes Reborn has done before, and you’ve probably seen it done better.
If you’re unfamiliar with the Heroes universe, here’s a quick primer: There are “evolved humans” or “evos,” who have are people with supernatural abilities. Some people, the government especially, don’t like them, and hunt them down. In Gemini, you play as Cassandra, who, as far as I’m aware, isn’t in the show. She has a number of interesting abilities, which she learns of, develops and gains complete mastery of over the course of a few hours.
It’s killing time
As any 20 year old girl would do when they found out they had super powers, Cassandra goes around murdering everyone in sight, all in the name of finding out about her past, her parents and another mystery that becomes unveiled towards the end of the game. There’s a token effort at a love story, there’s a company who might not be completely above board and there’s some betrayal. It’s all in there and it’s all boring.
Let’s move onto the super powers then, which are the best part of the game. The first thing Cassandra discovers she can do is control time. Well, kinda. She can flip between two very specific time periods within the facility you are exploring. This acts as both a stealth mechanic and a puzzle solving mechanic. Guards in your way? Simply go back in time to where there were no guards and walk past. You can even look through time to see what’s going on in the past or future without flicking between them.
In the past, this facility was pristine. In the present, it’s dilapidated. So, you won’t always be able to progress in the present due to pesky debris and blocked off doors. Usually you’ll just have to flip between time periods until you brute force your way past the obstacle, but Gemini does throw the occasional puzzle at you. None of these are very well explained and they’re not helped by a poor waypoint system. I was often faced with a waypoint on the other side of a door, with no visible way of getting through it. A few minutes of searching might reveal a nondescript button I had to press, or a vent in another room that I could crawl through, but bashing my head against these moments wasn’t enjoyable at all.
Back to the future
The time travel mechanic is an interesting idea and it works well at times, but the huge dips in framerate when using it detract from it somewhat. Gemini runs on Unreal Engine 4, but certainly doesn’t look or feel like a modern game. The animations are wooden and you see heavy texture pop-in after the loading times with range from long to excruciatingly painful given how short and sparsely populated some of the levels are. When jumping, you will often grab onto ledges that aren’t really there, taking you up higher than you wanted and dropping you back down to earth with a painful thud. The first guard I killed clipped through a table and started jerking around in a very unsettling fashion.
Back to the good stuff. Cassandra will also gain access to telekinesis and the ability to slow down time. These two combined means that she can pull a Neo and stop bullets in mid-air before firing them back at her assailants. She can also pull a Darth Vader and pick people up and throw them around like ragdolls. On top of that, apparently being able to slow down time means she can jump higher, for some reason. These are all cool abilities, although they do make Cassandra pretty overpowered when she has access to them all. Special enemies are meant to slow you down by being a bit quicker, but they don’t really have an impact. Their AI isn’t great either, with time slow often being enough to confuse them for a few seconds, even if you haven’t really moved out of their line of sight. I ended up breezing through the game in just a few short hours.
Reborn, but for how long?
Licensed games are often terrible, but Gemini: Heroes Reborn doesn’t really fall under that category. It works for the most part and has some gameplay mechanics that mean you can have some fun zipping around enemies in slow motion while catching their bullets and sending them back. However, these combat scenarios don’t last long and aren’t varied or challenging enough to have you play through the game again after you’ve finished it. There aren’t any other modes, so the only reason to replay are the 36 hidden items that grant you a sliver of extra story flavour.
I don’t know how much Gemini: Heroes Reborn ties into the television show, but it’s hard to recommend to anyone except the most die hard fan. Better first person gameplay can be found elsewhere and the technical issues and loading times are downright offensive at times. Given the original show’s excellence in its first couple of seasons, I’m sure many people, Bonnie Tyler included, have been holding out for a Heroes game. Sadly, this isn’t the one they wanted.
Abilities are interesting, and can often be fun to use
No originality, technical issues