With endless movies and books based around the ancient Mayan prediction that the world will end on December 21st 2012, it was only a matter of time before a game came along using the story as a base. The first game from developer Dark Artz Entertainment, Revelations 2012 released on April 23rd on Steam. The first thing you’ll notice is that this is a Source game through and through, even taking advantage of the Left 4 Dead AI tech, which makes a lot of sense, seeing as this is a four-player co-op affair. The developers have made a great effort in the game’s setting, which takes place in the Yucatan region of Mexico, the location of the greatest amount of Mayan ruins. The setting is unique for a game, and not one that you’ll see very often.
There have been a lot of people bashing Revelation 2012 for looking like a bad Left 4 Dead mod, but this just isn’t fair to say. The graphics aren’t brilliant, but they certainly aren’t bad at all. There are some truly beautiful pieces of art re-created in the game world that you can tell much love and attention went into crafting. Revelations 2012 could pass as a Left 4 Dead mod, but it’s not a bad thing. The UI and the way you can see the outlines of your teammates through walls was taken straight from Left 4 Dead, but at no point should this be seen as a negative point. Even if you aren’t that big a fan of Valve‘s zombie co-op slaughter-fest, this mechanic was a nice addition.
The gameplay feels smooth, and the game runs well, thanks in large part to the brilliant Source engine. It’s not just the UI and AI borrowed from Left 4 Dead, but also the menus, game-modes, and the way you have five chapters containing a few levels each. I don’t want to have to keep mentioning that zombie game, but there is a lot of it in Revelations 2012. The question that this begs is what, if anything, does the game do on its own?
If Left 4 Dead serves as the brain of the game, Revelations 2012 makes up the skin and the heart. It has a certain feel to it that makes it a game of its own. The strange gem power weapon attached to your right arm fires beam-like projectiles at relentless, suicidal enemies, causing body parts to fly about the world. It feels very satisfying to use, and something about it makes the enemies in Revelations 2012 much more fun to kill than the undead in “that other game”. Perhaps it’s just personal preference, but murdering the living feels like more fun than the brain-dead; what does that say about me?
While the characters you play as all have their own back-stories and personality, it’s all very cliché and boring. The character models leave something to be desired when compared to the details found in the environment. The environments are fairly varied, and it isn’t often that you’ll find yourself getting bored of your surroundings.
Revelations 2012 isn’t just a run-and-gun shooter: there’s a decent amount of puzzles, too. When playing with AI teammates, all the solving is left to you, and there are times when puzzle solving becomes cumbersome. The solutions to the puzzles aren’t necessarily obvious, and there isn’t enough information given about the puzzles themselves. Normally, it ends up being something silly, but during these times, it does get a little repetitive to fight waves of enemies while trying to figure out where to go next. You’ll need to find hidden skulls to advance to the next area, which adds a little more purpose than just reaching the end of the level alive.
Without a doubt, the game is much more fun with human teammates. We really must stress how valiant an effort the game is when you take into account that this is the first game from Dark Artz Entertainment. With plenty of replay value from the various game modes and great opportunities for DLC, we hope people give it a chance. However, the price is perhaps a little too high for the game, which may very well put people off. But if you’re feeling the urge to play a new co-op title with some friends and want to help out an up-and-coming indie developer, check out Revelations 2012. It’s great fun, and if you can look past the high price-tag, there’s a whole lot of game here.
This review is based off a retail copy of the Steam version of Revelations 2012 by Dark Artz Entertainment
Buy it from Steam here