Future War: Reborn initially released on mobile devices back in early 2016 to a relatively lukewarm reception, which begs the question, why bring it to console? Recent mobile to console releases have taught us one thing, a game needs to stand out on the original platform if it expects to be taken seriously on the latter. Blue Angels Aerobatic Flight Simulator is a prime example of this. Whilst Future War: Reborn may well indeed be cut from an entirely different cloth, the same concept can be applied here. Future War: Reborn certainly seems slightly appealing on paper, but the reality here is that that alone is nowhere near enough to save this game from its cheap nature.
The story isn’t much to write home about. The game is set in the future, a time in which the planet has gone to shit and all that remains are hordes of undead mutations roaming the land. You take on the roll of a Genome Fighter that’s tasked with defending the human race, one blood-soaked shot at a time. It’s your typical post apocalyptic plot, one I might add that’s been done countless times before to a much better extent. There aren’t any major differences between this game and its mobile counterpart, save the removal of microtransactions, sharper visuals, and an altered control setup. If you’ve played the original version you’re not missing out on anything by skipping it this time. In fact the same can be said if you never got around to playing the original game, because it’s just not that compelling.
The game is described as a third-person twin stick shooter but it’s actually closer to a top-down twin stick shooter than a TPS. It’s very easy to pick up and play thanks to the simplistic control scheme, with movement tethered to one stick and firing tethered to the other. You’ll also be utilizing attacks that are mapped to specific buttons, but outside of that, there’s little else you’ll need to keep on top of. Your Genome Fighter has the ability to purchase and upgrade a total of six gun types, ranging from lasers to assault rifles. Rounding that off is the added capability of being able to enjoy features such as titans and auto-cannons for a secondary attack. Safe to say that you have enough tools at your disposal to wipe out anything that stands in your way.
The question here is whether or not you can endure the sloppy presentation long enough to care. It didn’t take long at all to suss this game out as a cheap cash cow. As aforementioned, barely anything has been done to ensure that this game suits console play. Screen hogging layouts are present periodically, with some missions even overlaying large dialogue boxes in the center of the screen. The problem this creates is that nine times out of ten, the enemies will spawn near your location, forcing you to dance around the dialogue box if you want to withdraw the mission intel. It’s not a major gripe but it’s certainly something that stood out for me throughout the entirety of play.
Gameplay tends to revolve around completing a band of mini-objectives. These can be as simple as making your way to an evacuation point, surviving for a set amount of time, or holding ground whilst you capture a point of interest. With this being a mobile port it’s hardly surprising to see this sort of mission structure. That’s not a bad thing by any means, but you would do well not to come into Future War: Reborn with any expectation of in-depth play. Prior to each mission you’re usually given a briefing via what can only be described as the slowest scrolling text known to man. It’s not game breaking, but it’s absolutely infuriating to wait roughly 20 seconds just to load one paragraph of dialogue.
Each mission takes no longer than five minutes to complete, even on a moderate run. That being said there’s not much of a difficulty curve to lean on seeing as how each stage is equally as difficult as the last, which sadly isn’t set very high. This is mostly due to the fact that the enemies don’t pose much of a challenge unless you allow yourself to be boxed in by them. So long as you mow them down at a distance and keep them at bay, Future War: Reborn shouldn’t give you much trouble. It doesn’t help that the enemies (depending on the variant) all behave exactly the same at all times. It makes it all too easy to work out their movement and attack patterns, which inadvertently removes the element of surprise.
As you make your way through each stage, you’ll be earning EXP and money. This collectively gives you access to better weaponry and buffs, but once again the game falls short of the mark in this regard. There’s just not enough depth to justify the system within, and I dare say that the prospect of earning money alone would have done the trick just as well. Oddly enough the store description states that Future War: Reborn houses “awesome 3D graphics design”, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s worth pointing out that the Xbox Store description is identical to the iOS store description from the game’s original release. These visuals may have been something to boast about back in 2016 on mobile devices, but here in 2018 on console, it most definitely doesn’t apply.
Despite some diverse environments and map design, the visuals are hardly impressive. The truth is the game has very basic graphics and equally as basic character/enemy design. The soundtrack is just as bland and doesn’t really do much to add energy to the experience. Moving back to the leveling up, I cant say that I noticed much benefit to any portion of the progression system. In truth I felt as though this was merely implemented to extend the replay value, and nothing more. Leveling up anything in a game that adopts this approach should be something that the player can feel, not just see. Future War: Reborn struggles to achieve even that.
Future War: Reborn will leave you feeling robbed of both your time and money. The gameplay is basic and overly repetitive, the visuals are poor, and everything in between is equally as disappointing. This game fails to achieve what it has set out to accomplish and is lacking on almost all fronts.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox One. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version.