I’m not really one for Metroid-Vania style games as I usually get bored after ten minutes due their repetitive nature. Thankfully, Final Exam is pure beat-em-up fun that I didn’t want to put down.
You play as one of four best friends visiting their old high school. There they get trapped in an old town infested by monsters, monsters, and more monsters. This is a 2.5D game that uses combos as its main hook. It’s a lot of fun to throw a monster in the air, jump after him, and bash him to the ground. Oh, by the way, there’s monsters. Did I mention that yet? The AI for the enemies is good, but seems fairly easy if you know what you’re doing regarding gameplay and combos. The combat is fluid and visceral as well as exciting. The game’s not all melee combat. You do have a small arsenal of firearms that are a joy to use. In addition to the melee weapons and firearms, there’s also grenades that feel like a bit of a cheat, but are fun to use nonetheless. The locals for the game are well designed and offer a wide variety play styles.
Graphically, Final Exam isn’t exactly impressive, but it gets the job done. I’ve never been a fan of this almost CGI looking art style, but I was a little too busy bashing monsters to notice. Like I already said, the motions are nice and fluid. I was a little disappointed that there weren’t more animations, but in a game like this, I didn’t really expect it either.
One thing you need to know before you buy this game is that it’s centered around co-op. The singleplayer is fine, but multiplayer is where I had most of my fun. Whether locally or online, cooperative play adds a lot to the beat-em-up aspect of the gameplay. Taking on the horde of monsters with a friend is very rewarding. Each player has a tag above their head so you can recognize them among the confusion.
Another thing I’d like to mention is that if you don’t play this game with a controller, then you’ll probably have a bad experience with it. It’s not that the keyboard and mouse layout is bad, but it gets confusing and I found myself not only pressing the wrong keys, but forgetting which key did what. There is a good amount of weapon combos that can get extremely confusing with a keyboard and mouse.
Overall, Final Exam succeeds in what it set out to do, to make an awesome monster bashing game that has slim to no story and instead, replaces it with tons of fun. It’s far from perfect. I ran into a few glitches, but nothing too major. The combat is a lot of fun, even more with a friend, and is what made me keep coming back. I’d recommend this game for those who don’t care about story and are just in to have some fun.