9
Our overall verdict "gold"

Zenith is an action RPG from Badland Indie and Infinigon and a pure projection of the Golden Age of Role Playing Games… but doesn’t take itself too seriously. Imagine Cloud Strife running around with the sassiness of a drag queen who’s had one too many porn-star martinis. This epic adventure takes you through a world of excitement, magic and hilarity.

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You play as Argus Windell, a “retired” wizard and ruin-explorer who finds himself in a mid-life crisis. Only instead of buying fancy sports cars he’s trying to save the world from his own accidental apocalypse – when he’s not drinking his memories away in the nearest tavern. You and your team are trying to stop others finding a legendary sceptre, but it all goes a little bit downhill for Argus when the sceptre falls into the wrong hands and delivers doom upon the entire land.

I’ve always loved RPG’s and this one has become one of my newest friends. Not only does it include all the great features to make it your standard Role-Player, it offers so much more. The thing that I love most about this game is the fact it doesn’t take itself seriously. Sure you have to run around casting spells, slashing away at numerous forms of enemies whilst picking up nifty gear along the way, but the humour in this game had me chuckling away to myself for hours.

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Argus isn’t your typical adventuring wizard in any sense of the word. He isn’t a dark mysterious soul casting spells from the back line, nor is he the upbeat spunky kinda gal who sparkles as she twirls her staff. He’s one of a kind who would much rather be nursing a hangover from his bed than actually saving the world.

As far as adventuring goes, Zenith will definitely take you on a journey. The ever-changing scenery goes from snowy mountain passes with giant tenor-singing man-eating spiders (seriously, they sing – I’m sure their album is out now on iTunes) to the depths of hell where you’ll have to dodge flying demons and rivers of lava. The world map itself (what good is an RPG without a roaming world map?) holds plenty of sights to behold as you run from town to town on your heroic mission, and has enough “random” enemy encounters along the way to level your stats and boost your skills.

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Zenith is a parody of itself. It knows it’s an RPG game and there’s plenty of pop culture gaming references which spoof those that came before it. It’s like the Deadpool version of a video-game. It mocks other games a lot; like how can a bikini and tiny shield raise your defence that high? Why do you need a sword that big? There’s even a few familiar faces for those who are fans of good old fashioned RPG’s – three very recognisable (and slightly odd looking) characters are introduced at the start of the game; a young flower girl dressed in red, a rather camp blonde guy who has a liking for Blitzball and a moody chap with cool spiky hair… any guesses?

Apart from the cameos in Zenith, the “normal” characters are just as awesome with plenty of depth and underlying relationships. You even run into a mischief (yes, I Googled the term) of genetically mutated rats who turn out to worship you as their Lord Almighty. Plus, there’s a badass dragon wreaking havoc across the world. Need I say more?

Throughout the game, there’s plenty of run-along and slash moments, but it keeps you busy with plenty of puzzles and challenges – even the battles can be quite the brain scratcher to work out who to kill first or which way to run away and, trust me, there’ll be plenty of running away. The battle system itself is a real-time scenario where you need to choose carefully between your selection of elemental skills and keep an eye on your health/mana levels. It’s very easy to get carried away in the moment and forget to take a sip of a red or blue potion.

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The only downsides of this game, in my opinion, are extremely minor points and don’t really affect the gameplay much. First, the loading screen. Every time you move from one screen to the next, you sit and stare at the game’s logo as though it’s some sort of subliminal message. Other than that, the only thing that got slightly under my skin were the save points. I don’t mind having to let my spag bol go cold whilst I search for the next opportunity to save my progress, but if you die without saving recently, you have a repetitive road ahead. But hey, that’s all part of the fun, right?

Conclusion

I can’t recommend this game enough to anybody who enjoys an adventure. If you like RPG’s, you need to go and buy this game right now. Go on. I’ll wait… Seriously, this is one of the best games I’ve played in a long time and will find myself playing whenever I get the chance. It’s fun, it’s smart, it has a great storyline and, most of all, it has plenty of laughs along the way. This is a game for the generation that grew up during the years when RPG’s ruled the consoles, but beware if you have innocent ears as this game may* contain strong language.

(*Contains enough naughty words to make Roy “Chubby” Brown blush)

Karl Rating 9/10

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Karl

Karl Just your average gamer, plus so much more. Karl has grown up watching gaming change from “geeky” to what all the cool kids do. From SNES and Sega to whatever version of PlayStation or XBox is coming next, he loves it all. Born in Manchester, lives near London. Complete weirdo. Doesn’t own a tiger… yet. Spyro is his spirit animal. Follow him on twitter @arl_with_a_K