Allow me to save you some time, Gene Rain is a bad game. There, I’ve said it, it’s out in the open. Gene Rain sucks and as far as third-person cover-shooters go, it doesn’t get much more generic and bland than this. Chinese developer Deeli Network clearly wants to impress here. To be fair, there’s a few elements within that manages to stand out, but with that said, in the face of everything that Gene Rain miserably fails at, the end result makes for one hell of a confused and awkward experience. Now, let’s take a step back and go through all of this from the top, shall we?
Gene Rain’s story is so fractured and lacks that much refinement, that I had almost no idea what the hell was going on. The game is based a number of years in the future and centers around the story of “new humans” following a catastrophic in-game event known as the titular Gene Rain. Humans, robots and hybrids have been fighting one another for an age, each of which housing their own ideologies and interests. Now however, they’ll need to finally put their differences to the side in an attempt to put an end to the world conflict once and for all, no matter the cost.
What follows on from this is a story that bounces around more frequently than a flubber in a basketball court, and then some. Seriously, this is the first game in a long while that’s left me not only wildly confused, but totally dissatisfied. Players will take on the role of a character from each of the aforementioned factions; Alex – a human/robot hybrid, Li Ying – a human, and Salman – a robot. Playing as each, the story will move from pillar to post as you move through what I can only describe as a poor Gears of War clone with a far less intriguing structure across the board.
To top it all off, the voice acting is absolutely horrendous. So much so that you’ll struggle to take any of the dialogue seriously. What’s spoken comes across as though each voice actor rushed through their lines with little to no emotion, further letting down the game’s already shoddy plot. When progression is made (should you stick around long enough to witness it) the backstory of each character is delivered to you, as well as flashbacks to bulk up the Gene Rain’s in-game history. Once again, however, the game fails to relay this coherently, making it that much harder to give a shit about each.
I would love to be able to tell you that the actual gameplay makes up for the story’s shortcomings, but sadly, I cannot. The controls are sluggish, and at times, not very responsive. Movement often feels as though your character weighs as much as the Chrysler building. The gameplay’s loop consists of moving from one linear generic location to the next, clearing out enemies one horde at a time. The aforementioned flashbacks or poor voice acting will periodically pull you to the side for more torture before allowing you to proceed further through the game’s repetitive action.
To the game’s credit, there is indeed a nice selection of enemy variations to overcome and the game’s length is quite generous, but that’s all the credit that I’m willing to give Gene Rain. Overall, the gameplay becomes stale and tedious far too quickly. The combat isn’t much to talk about either, being that all you’ll be doing is moving from cover to cover whilst blasting away at the enemy, over and over again. I will point out that each character enjoys their own unique skills (a shield, a drone, and so forth) but again, the sheer lack of originality just robs the game of its identity.
The same can be said about the weaponry at your disposal, they’re just not fun and lack the punch that weaponry in games of this type should utilize. It certainly doesn’t help matters that the game’s locations all look boring and pretty much identical to the next. There’s just no life within, making for a shooter that feels the same on its final level than it does on its first. I’m not suggesting that some spared effort for the game’s level design would have saved it, but it surely would have helped. Mercifully the game’s performance is steady and well optimized, but a polished turd is still just a polished turd.
Gene Rain is a complete waste of storage space. The game’s nonsensical and incoherent story confusingly bounces around like flubber in a basketball court. It doesn’t help that the voice acting is the worst I’ve heard since the original Resident Evil. Grouping that with the game’s sluggish controls, its bland locations and its lack of originality, collectively makes for one of the worst cover-shooters this gen.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox One. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version.