Flashback 2

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Flashback 2 (Playstation 5) – Review

Flashback 2 is the very long-awaited sequel to the 1992 release of Flashback on the Commodore Amiga, and since the original release, it has had a few ports to the SEGA Genesis and Super Nintendo, as well as a remake in 2013. Created and published by Microids Studios, Flashback 2 is available now.

Flashback 2 is set in a cyberpunk-themed world, so there are a lot of neon lights, and one thing I enjoyed a lot was the highway used to get between cities. It is more of a virtual landscape than a highway, but the big floating text to signify which exits were coming up made me wish it was the real world – I wouldn’t ever miss an exit again. The story throws you right back into the story of the first game, playing as the hero, Conrad, as he wakes up from a crash back on the planet Titan and starts searching for his friend Ian – he is in deep trouble and needs to be rescued. Unless you know the story of the first one, you’ll be taking a bit of a stab in the dark as you try to work out what is happening and who the people he is name-dropping are.

After the opening segment taught me how to jump, roll, duck, and fire my gun, I hoped the action would pick up a bit, but instead, it slowly dragged me to a job agency. I learned how to find jobs to earn some extra money, and after doing a few jobs and killing a few enemies, I was able to progress my story experience by buying a mech to fight in an underground fight club. It sounded awesome but it performed very poorly as an outcome.

The combat segments play out as a twin-stick shooter, so you’ll need to aim in the direction of the target and wait to see a box on them to confirm you are aiming at a target, and only then can you use an awesome-looking hand canon to fire nerf bullets at them. The gunplay feels very underwhelming and didn’t keep me interested in further encounters with targets. There doesn’t seem to be any incentive to survive as when you die, and you will die, you will stand right back up when you hit resume.

You’ll be in the same gunfight that ended your life the first time, so you’ll need to quickly get your shots in. I hoped that the AI was just as confused as I was when I saw Conrad stand back up after being hit with the wireless hole punches by the police, and don’t get me started on the stealth system.

I have previously played games where I have said the enemies are blind, but these guys must have eyes in the back of their heads, or some sort of witch-sight that lets them see around corners. I was forever being detected by an enemy with their back towards me, but thankfully, stealth can be thrown out the window as you unleash the Nerf darts upon the enemies.

The graphics are the main appeal and I have always loved cyberpunk-themed zones in any game, and this was the only reason I had any fun playing this 2.5D cyberpunk-style game. I just wished there was a way to zoom in to see the smaller details.

The club area was serviceable, but it was barren to avoid flooding one room with background characters. I spent more time than appropriate just driving around on the highway between cities because that’s where I had the most fun. Conrad’s animations while riding his motorbike alright, but everything else on the road had more of a copy-and-paste vibe to it, once again letting it down.

Voice acting brings some life to the story as it unfolds and the cities feature a lot of background sounds such as sirens and people chattering, but these feel like they’re just filling a void. Conrad will occasionally give you some very helpful advice, letting you know when he can fire his gun in a city and when he can’t. So yes, there is audio present, it’s just limited, and it feels like they missed the mark with some background tracks being more featured, especially during combat segments.

Flashback 2 should be a blast from the past, but it seems as though it has not landed well. A stale combat system and being dropped into the story with no background as to what is happening and who people were was a big letdown for me. While there are some good parts to the game, there are many more drawbacks that outweigh them. If you have been a die-hard fan waiting for this release, I am sorry to say but I don’t think nostalgia will keep it alive.

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The Good

  • Highway travelling was fun
  • Has voice acting
  • Nice world design and theme

The Bad

  • Combat is not great
  • No punishment for death
  • Audio presence could've had more
  • Very slow to get going at the start
  • Found a way to ruin fighting robots

Written by: Shane Walsh


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