It's 2020, and the world must confront an apocalyptic crisis. The fourth horseman of the Apocalypse is preparing to doom Earth, and Angie Prophet is humanity's last hope. Psychotoxic follows Angie's quest as she battles zombies, horribly evil cops, and other forces of evil. Players can choose from an assortment of weapons, but must also take advantage of Angie's special powers, such as invisibility, slow motion, and a knack for entering other people's minds.
Psychotoxic is a first-person shooter from Germany that's been in development for a long time. Finally released after years of development, it's hard to understand what took them so long. Marred with bugs and simply boring gameplay, it's surprising to see how this game could have even made it past the QA stage, let alone released to the general public.
The story throws you into the near-future year of 2022, a time of great turmoil. Obviously, it's up to you, Angela Prophet, to save the world. You're a half-angel, so it's no surprise that you're tasked with saving the world from the apocalypse all by yourself. You're the "Chosen One", after all.
Your journey will take you to a variety of places. Most of the interesting places you visit will be "dreams" that other people are having, but at least it's a nice break from the otherwise monotonous urban levels. Too bad all of these levels suffer from just as many design problems as the other levels do. Although the levels look interesting, they play almost completely identical to the other, less inspired levels.
Your major enemy throughout the game is the fourth horseman of the apocalypse. It's your goal to stop him, or something, from completing his sinister goal. There's also some cultist called Aaron that you need to stop. Regardless, most of your levels will involve shooting hundreds of the same monotonous enemies again and again. Enemies that show only the smallest fraction of intelligence needed to call this a game.
The graphics are at least quite decent, and it shows that the most effort went into them. This graphical prowess is most apparent in the dream levels, which all have a different style, and thus turn out looking quite inspired. One takes place in a cartoon-colored world that is bursting with flavor, while another is a gothic world complete with a monochrome cinematic effect enveloping the screen. It's too bad more levels weren't like this, at least they are visually engaging, even if they don't play so well.
The downside of the graphics is that the animations are rather pathetic and unnatural looking. This is most apparent in thugs that barely react when you shoot them, among other curiosities. The downside to the decent graphics is that they result in the framerate being all over the place, even on a top-end computer. When hitting an area not enclosed in small corridors, the frame rate bombs.
The sound is nothing spectacular, and is not memorable at all. Voice acting is mediocre at best, and sound effects hardly make you feel like you're firing an actual gun most of the time. The sound on a whole is functional, at least, unlike the rest of the game.
The gameplay is in one word, atrocious. The major problem with the gameplay would be undoubtedly the game's multitude of game-stopping bugs. There are times when your save game corrupts for seemingly no reason. This happens fairly often. Then, there are times when the game just crashes to desktop sporadically. Other times, the game will become unplayable as the frame rate randomly drops to the teens until the end of the level, making it excruciatingly difficult to play.
As if the bugs weren't enough, the core gameplay is not very strong to begin with. Most of the game involves you navigating narrow corridors and confronting enemies that are content with standing there and shooting at you. Seeing movement in an enemy is a rare occurrence, and usually pointless. They don't bother to take cover behind the hordes of objects surrounding them, anyway.
The gunplay itself is fairly tedious and dull. On the bright side, being that your character is a half-angel, she has access to some 'powers' like invisibility, invincibility and other expected things of the sort. These are mildly interesting, but can't save the game from its numerous shortcomings.
It's always nice to see a new developer entering the gaming world, and it's a shame their overambition doomed the game to failure. I would have much rather seen an entertaining and bug-free five hour game than a boring and nearly unplayable twenty hour one. The bugs and errors may be fixed by an upcoming patch, but that's not good enough. The game should've been released at least six months later.
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