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Flashback 2, Review

Back in May, I saw the first gorgeous gameplay trailer for Flashback 2 and I was SOLD! I played the hell out of OG Flashback on the Sega Mega-Drive and a modern take of this classic would totally be my jam. Well….to say I am disappointed is putting it mildly.

I have made a concerted effort to evaluate Flashback 2 on its own merits. As if I’m honest, my recollection of old games is always through rose tinted glasses. So, in the cold light of 2023 how does Flashback 2 fit into the modern game landscape? Well, not well and it is made all the worse as there is a strong tinge of regret, for what it could have been. 

This is shown best with the comparison of the afore mentioned “Gameplay Trailer” against the actual playing of the game. It looks great, with all the cyber-punk, sci-fi goodness any self-respecting nerd could hope for. But when controller is in hand… it feels terrible to play. Character movement is slow, if a little laggy. There is constant character catching and clipping on the environments and supremely unsatisfying shooting. I felt like I was forever fighting the controls.

Flashback 2, forget your rose tinted goggles.

Mechanically it is a 2.5D action-adventure game, with twin-stick shooting, basic platforming and puzzles. But as said, looking gorgeous does not fill ones gamer belly. There needs to be some meat of them bones, and every part of the game just feels terrible to actually play. If anything, I feel for the games artistic team, as they have delivered in sci-fi spades. But he mission design, story and voice acting is poor if not just down right dull.

The shooting is a twin-stick mechanic, but unlike leaders in the space, there is no obvious targeting laser. So being able to tell if you are on target or objects in the environment are blocking shots becomes trial and error. Not whats needed mid firefight. Enemy A.I. is painfully poor, with glitching and clipping also being the norm. And to top off the ‘unsatisfying’ feel, is the sound of the gun. I think it was supposed to sound futuristic, but just sounds like a hillbilly picking on a banjo with loose strings! 

If you want a game in this space there are other places to go. Shadow Complex would be the obvious superior choice, if you can get a copy. For a newer 2.5D / top down action shooters in the sci-fi space, I would go to The Ascent or Ruiner all day over this unfortunate little game.

I soooo wanted to enjoy Flashback 2, and if I’m honest when I saw the early Reviews out there from the “Big Sites”, I thought they were likely being harsh as it’s a Indie type game trying to use some nostalgia to make sales, which would likely be an affront to their delicate “I’m a professional game journalist” sensibilities….

But no, Flashback 2 is just not very good.