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Flashback 2

Flashback 2

The original creator of Flashback has returned 31 years later to try and repeat his 90s successes, and Petter has given out a grade ...

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I had just turned 14 when Flashback was released. I remember how much I loved it, I remember how often and how much I played it. The atmosphere was so mysteriously desolate and inviting, the game mechanics smoothly modern and addictive and the graphics, for its time, brilliant. Delphine Software's old classic, like its spiritual predecessor Another World, has a very special place in my memory bank of beloved gaming memories. Now the proper sequel is here, over 30 years later. Can Flashback 2 repeat the same epic success?

Flashback 2 has been designed and written by original creator Paul Cuisset and that alone got me really excited beforehand. Like Prince of Persia creator Jordan Mechner, Cuisset is a somewhat forgotten legend in his own field and someone we should undoubtedly recognise and celebrate more than we do. Or maybe we should just ignore it, given the awful game he spat out just before the weekend.

Flashback 2

You once again take on the role of reluctant sci-fi hero Conrad B. Hart, who is somewhat of a mix between Indiana Jones and Star Lord, with a fresh attitude, loyal, experienced and not afraid to get dirty or bloodied. With this game, publisher Microids pretends the standalone PlayStation sequel Fade to Black doesn't exist and the story itself picks up right where Flashback left off. There is peace in the galaxy. The Galactic Bureau of Investigation has fought and eliminated the threat of the Morph race and a neon light-soaked space world can finally breathe easy. Or so you thought. The Morph villain General Lazarus has been brought back from the dead and is now threatening world peace by all sorts of means and inventions which of course means that you, Conrad, must set out to locate the enemy's nest and kill Lazarus once and for all.

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Flashback 2

Paul Cuisset has tried to get back to the feeling of the first game and this by building a game control and game mechanics that are reminiscent of that smoothly slow and slightly awkward way of moving from the original. This would have worked relatively well if the year had been 1993 instead of 2023 and if it hadn't been for the fact that the number of enemy robots attacking Conrad at the same time here amounts to 25 rather than two, making the whole basic concept fall flat from the first frame. Even worse, Microids Studio Paris added another half-dimension (2.5D) to the pancake-flat layout of the original, which only confuses and irritates as Conrad can never really hide or use the three-dimensional environments in a meaningful way, but mostly just gets stuck in things that get in the way.

Flashback 2

Getting stuck on things is a recurring theme in this game and very much a common thread. Conrad gets stuck all the time just like his enemies and I don't know if I can count all the times that a boss or a regular robot enemy has accidentally run into one of the environmental objects and got stuck, like a quivering pile of junk. Flashback 2 is incredibly buggy, and even though many of today's big games are unfortunately buggy nowadays, and even though we as players are unfortunately often forced to act as beta testers during the first month or so, Flashback 2 feels like a pure work of art that has been thrown together just to be able to take advantage of the classic name.

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Furthermore, the story and narrative baked in here is downright ridiculously bad. There's no connection between the characters' dialogue and the overall story, and the tone is so scattered that it's often comical (even if it's not meant to be). Doomsday prophecies are mixed with Guardians of the Galaxy-esque antics and the dissonance between mechanics and story, between what is said and what actually happens on the TV, is bizarre. You will die in this game, often. You will die a lot and you will wake up again in front of an enemy, who will immediately kill you again. Sometimes the only hope in this bugfest is that the enemies get stuck in the environments, allowing Conrad to run by, unharmed.

Flashback 2

The graphics aren't great either as most of the cyberpunk environments look AI-generated and lack character. Other parts of Flashback 2 seem to be copied directly from Shadow Complex from 2009 while other parts are reminiscent of everything else that has been done in this genre in the last ten years. It's not helped by the fact that the voice acting and sound effects feel like they've been picked up from some reabacks game from 2005, and it would be downright lying of me to claim that I've found anything beyond the original music that I'm prepared to write something nice about. Flashback 2 should instead be called Cashgrab 2.

Flashback 2
Flashback 2
Flashback 2
Flashback 2
02 Gamereactor UK
2 / 10
+
The original music still holds up
-
Hopeless game controls, stupid game mechanics, useless battles, tonnes of bugs, old graphics, lots of loading times.
overall score
is our network score. What's yours? The network score is the average of every country's score

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Flashback 2

REVIEW. Written by Petter Hegevall

The original creator of Flashback has returned 31 years later to try and repeat his 90s successes, and Petter has given out a grade ...



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