As described by the developer:
Earth’s Dawn is looming and the fate of the planet hangs in the balance! Sign up as a member of A.N.T.I. – a squad of super-human soldiers powered by alien technology – and fight to reclaim Earth from the alien invasion known as E.B.E before it’s too late… Packed with super-fast sci-fi action, Earth’s Dawn offers 2D side-scrolling gameplay in a beautiful hand-drawn style. Combat is intuitive, but deceptively deep with combos, finishers and rankings after enemy encounters all adding depth to the game, while RPG-style skill trees, equipment crafting and character evolution open up things even further. Choose your own path through 100 missions, earn rewards by clearing them with style and discover new plot threads behind Earth’s counteroffensive, then fight huge bosses to crush the E.B.E. threat once and for all!
Now, as described by me, a simple man with a controller in his hands:
Earth’s dawn is a very unique game. It’s for sure a direct port from Japan, that is obvious right from the beginning. Aliens (E.B.E.’s) have taken over the United States and the only way to defeat them is to use the alien material (body parts) to create a bio engineered suit that helps you destroy them.
It’s funny, because right from the start every character speaks Japanese. Talking about New York and Wisconsin, referencing to characters as typical American names (Kevin, Steve, Tony, Jim, etc…) sounds very humorous. Knowing they could have just used generic voice actors to do the English translation makes me happy that they chose to stick with good voice acting, even if I don’t understand it.
Earth’s dawn starts off simple, hack and slash your way through the level using your sword and/or your gun. The enemies are unique, interesting and challenging. Each level offers 3 different difficulties and scores you on that weird scoring grid you see in a lot of games. S, A , C, D, E. whatever those mean. I just like to complete the level without dying too much. You will also get combat scores in the middle of the levels as well.
I do want to mention one thing that I find confusing. While you are running through the levels, you have a team of I want to say 3 other soldiers following you around(see image above). As soon as an enemy appears on the screen your team disappears and leave last you to fight on your own. It’s very odd, not really sure why they have them with you at all really.
After completing your first level, that’s where the real fun begins. You are thrown into a lot of reading, a weapon crafting system that’s pretty cool and a character leveling system that at first is very confusing. So much so they I almost gave up on it.
Let’s talk about the weapon crafting for a bit. As you progress through the levels you will earn “currency” from floating “gems”, and you earn material (alien body parts) from defeating enemies and opening the occasional box or two. After the level is complete you can level up your current gear or craft new weapons that slowly unlock as you progress through the game. It’s pretty straight forward and I like the ability to decide what weapons I bring into each level.
Now, let’s cover the character leveling system. If you plays Final Fantasy 10, you might pick up on this quickly. It’s basically a “mode” system worked into your character’s spine. You unlock upgrades like “HP+5” and “ATKx2”, etc…. as you unlock mode you can string skills together to make them more powerful. As I remember, I don’t think there was a sufficient tutorial for this at the beginning, but I could be wrong. I was totally confused at first, but eventually I picked it up.
As far as gameplay goes, the first 30 minutes played out very much the same. It felt like every level was essentially the same level, and those interesting enemies quickly because a chore and a grind. I wasn’t really sure why I was doing what I was doing.
When you start the second mission they give you a countdown close to a big battle that you have to take part in, so you have a certain amount of time to complete the small side missions they give you before the “big” encounter. Nothing too monumental, and I was worrying a bit about where this game was going.
Eventually you get to a Boss fight, and it was a nice surprise. Challenging and punishing. If you die at the boss you have to start all the way back at the beginning of the level, and as far as I could tell you lose all of the items you picked up during the level as well. So you would be wise to not rush into the boss fight and instead figure out the best way to defeat him/it.
As much of a welcome change this was, you are immediately thrown back into the same old grind. It was starting to wear on me. Attack, dodge, attack, dodge…… “yawn”.
Speaking of Dodge, that’s all you get. There is no block button! I can’t begin to tell you how annoying this is. You are constantly being attacked and you cannot block. Ugh! You have a “Dash” button which is the only way you can avoid enemy attacks and get through certain obstacle.
Ok, rant complete, back to the game. As I found myself getting lost in the tedious attacking and dodging, I finally reached Wisconsin, the next phase of this game. There was a big battle at the beginning and it was pretty fun to be honest. They just throw a ton of enemies at you and you get to go to town on them with our sword and gun. Pretty fun.
After the big battle comes a big surprise, a whole new aspect to the game…… and just in time. If you look at the picture above, you can hopefully tell the obvious difference. Like the other boss level, this one has the same downside to losing the fight. You have to start all the way back at the level and work your way to the boss. Again and again I would do this. I found the new level change so refreshing that it didn’t really bother me as much.
I am still grinding through these levels, eagerly awaiting what crazy new things await me in future levels. Earth’s Dawn started off as a chore for me, but as I gave it time and explored a bit more of the game, it has quickly become a favorite of mine.
Think of when a friend recommends a new show to you, and they say “Give it 3 episodes before you give up on it.”, that’s what this game is like. Give it 30 to 60 minutes of your time and I think you will love it. It’s not for everyone though. If you like side scrollers (ghosts and goblins, mega man, etc..) and if you like hack and slash (dynasty warriors, etc.) with the RPG leveling system similar to Final Fantasy, this game is for you.
Earth’s Dawn was reviewed on Xbox One using a code provided by the publisher. You can read additional information about PSVG’s review policy on our disclaimer page here.
Earth’s Dawn is a surprisingly refreshing game that I fully expected to be chore. It gets a very high recommendation from me. I look forward to hearing what you thought, let me know on the comments below.