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September 2018


Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Genre: Action
Developer: 10tons
Release Date: Oct. 4, 2017


PC Review - 'Jydge'

by Cody Medellin on Nov. 27, 2017 @ 2:30 a.m. PST

Jydge sees the player assume the role of a cybernetically enhanced law enforcement unit eradicating rampant crime in the futuristic metropolis of Edenbyrg.

Buy Jydge

Judge Dredd makes for a perfect video game character. Much like The Punisher, his modus operandi is to be judge, jury and executioner — all in the name of maintaining justice in the city. Those are essentially the building blocks for most video games and characters, to wavering degrees. However, many attempts to bring about a video game version of the classic comic book character haven't been met with much success. Enter Jydge, a good title from 10tons that's blatant about its inspiration, even if it isn't a properly licensed Judge Dredd game.

In the future, crime is running rampant, and the regular police force is powerless to stop the roving gangs from taking over the city. Desperate to stop the tide, the police chief activates the Jydge initiative, cyborg cops that are designed to take the law into their own hands.

Set in the same world as Neon Chrome, albeit as a prequel, Jydge has some of the same gameplay mechanics beyond being a twin-stick shooter with melee capabilities. While there are still some objects that are sturdy against explosions and gunfire, most of the walls can be blown apart to either give you an alternate path to a room or destroy any cover that someone may be hiding behind. Completing goals gives you all sorts of upgrades, from having a companion bot to deal some extra firepower or the ability to automatically administer a constant electric shock when you're near an enemy.

The tools and abilities amplify the solid gunplay. If you're trying to be sneaky, it's fun to send out some drones to clean out a stage . Various guns modifications are a joy to use when you tire of the more conventional basic and shotgun rounds, so players can enjoy lasers that bounce off objects or orbs that shock people it encounters. The level layouts help in boss fights, as you can try to get some breathing room via the labyrinthine buildings or create an own escape route if you're feeling crowded. Adding to the fun is the fact that the game supports local co-op play, where the second player has access to your weapons and abilities, so everyone is on an even playing field.

The one thing that Jydge doesn't do is take on traits of a roguelike the way Neon Chrome does. Level layouts are static, so you know all of the stage's pathways every time you play. Enemy placement is also the same, so if you were previously ambushed in a spot, you'll know to prepare for it the next time you play the level. Unless you change difficulty levels, there will be no surprises when you go into a stage for the second time.

The challenge is in the medals. Each of the 20 levels has three medals to obtain, but instead of doling them out based on performance, they're all objective-based. For example, one stage may ask players to confiscate all of the goods, rescue the hostages, and complete the stage in a very short amount of time. All of the stages are small, which helps since you'll die often and will be sent back to the beginning. The objectives are also separate from one another, so they don't have to be completed in a single run.

The setup is interesting because there will be times when you'll have to replay a stage due to conflicting objectives. For example, one stage may ask you to kill certain gang officers while also tasking you with not killing anyone at all. The solution in this case is to go after one goal at a time. The method gives each stage a new perspective and approach, somewhat softening the fact that the game isn't packed with stages.

At the same time, some people may feel that the system is overused since level six and beyond start to require some hefty medal counts before they can be accessed. Going for one medal in those first five levels isn't going to get you anywhere, so players are forced to explore the same stage multiple times to obtain the necessary medals for progression. The game helps a bit by opening the hardcore difficulty level once you complete the first five stages, so players have the opportunity to earn more medals while also getting different goals and a slightly different enemy placement. Still, anyone looking for something more straightforward will gripe at these mechanics.

Graphically, Jydge works very well. Much like Neon Chrome, the environments are dark with lots of red to them, but they're also bathed in contrasting lights, punctuating the otherwise dour environments. All of the characters are small, but they have enough colors to make them stand out, so you can tell at a glance what you're up against. The particle effects are nice, but the game could use more of them, considering the chaotic situations you'll get yourself in.  The game holds at 60 fps all of the time, which is a good touch.

On the audio side of things, the soundtrack is a mash-up of rock and techno, but they're played randomly, with one track chosen to play throughout one run of a stage. They sound fine by themselves, but some of the tracks don't fit the situation, making you wish there was a way to uncheck some of them for playback. Elsewhere, the effects hit hard, and the voices are distinct, since it sounds like the script went through a machine instead of being recorded by actual humans. You'll pick up on some of the strange audio tics, and there are parts where the inflections sound strange for the given situation, but the offbeat approach works.

If you can get over the forced replaying of the same levels, then Jydge is an excellent twin-stick shooter. The gunplay and level design are well done, with some real enemy challenge to accompany your ability to destroy a good number of things in sight. The variety in your level approach is a good hook, the presentation is nice, and the tools are all enjoyable to use. Genre fans will enjoy giving this one a spin.

Score: 8.0/10

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