Folks, we’ve got to face the facts. As we get older, we get progressively crankier. Things that used to bring us joy now grate on our nerves. We wonder about the ‘the kids these days’ and lament about how things were better when we were younger. Well, Zenith is a game that speaks directly to us old farts.
What Is It?
The premise of Zenith is simple. You play as Argus, an aging wizard who’s tasked with keeping a magical artifact out of the hands of a bunch of antsy teenagers bent on saving the world. They don’t know what they’re dealing with, and they don’t have the kind of experience you do because you’ve been around the block a few times. You know what you’re doing. That’s how Zenith begins, and you quickly start to understand that this is a game that doesn’t take itself, or anything else for that matter, too seriously.
The game follows the tried and true action-RPG format: fast paced combat, exploration, a wealth of magical items and weapons to collect, and a fair bit of good old-fashioned style (in this case, profanity, adult themes, nearly blatant IP infringement, and a lot of pop-culture references).
This is a game that is here to entertain, and it does exactly that.
Why Should I Care?
In a lot of RPG’s, when you start out, you always seem to be the weakling that has to work their way up the ranks to become more powerful. In Zenith, Argus is already experienced. You’ll very quickly pick up skills and spells that will make you feel pretty powerful from the start. That doesn’t last though, as once you’ve unleashed the evil forces onto the world you’ll be facing opponents that are considerably more difficult. The game doesn’t strip you of your powers like some games do, instead it introduces you to an enemy you’re not quite prepared for.
To deal with that threat, you’ll have to collect and equip weapons, armor, and gems that will improve your stats and spell effects. Spells can be part of combos, so you can mix melee with magic seamlessly. Skill gems improve the effectiveness of these spells, while weapons change how your melee attacks work. It’s all fairly straightforward and easy to get into.
Aside from fighting monsters, you’ll explore a number of different environments, connected via a large world map. Navigation is pretty straightforward, just make your way from one area to another, defeating enemies along the way. If you venture off the beaten path you may find a chest of loot, or some other fun things. The only real issue here is that it’s a little annoying to navigate at times as there is no mini-map to let you know if you’re even going in the right direction.
That’s the trouble with Zenith as a whole, there’s a lot of fun to be had here, but the game has a few rough edges that chafe after a while. The mini-map is one. There is also the way the game’s frame rate can be unstable, stuttering noticeably. This is strange, as the game doesn’t look like it should be too demanding on the PS4’s hardware. Another minor issue is the audio cuts out while the game is accessing the hard drive. The most annoying issue though is with the game rendering text during cutscenes. It puts the text up on the screen with no regard for what is beneath it. I often though the text was not there, but it turned out that it was simply blending into the background. The rest of the dialog text that comes up is housed within a very readable dialog box with a character portrait to show who’s speaking. During action-filled portions of cutscenes though, that’s when the text can be hard to read. Hopefully this Is something that could be fixed in a patch, as it really does make things more annoying than they have to be.
What Makes It Worth My Time And Money?
Despite these problems, Zenith is a game that should be checked out. There is a good deal of content in here, all wrapped up in an irreverent nearly copyright-infringing package. It’s a fun ride that should take you about 30 hours to play through. Just be aware that at the moment, the game is fun, but it doesn’t feel as polished as it should.