Time Ramesside – renamed from A New Reckoning in order to shadily avoid any connection with that turgid pile of excrement – is one of the worst games I’ve ever played. You might remember that I initially opted to preview it whilst inebriated, which subsequently led to one messy, Unreal Engine asset-laden hangover. Almost to my surprise, Time Ramesside has left Steam Early Access in worse shape than before.
It’s a game that previously towed the line of “so bad it’s good”, but now ultimately feels more like a Battlefield Earth than a Birdemic. A considerable amount of effort and cash has been spent to polish this greasy turd, but none of it was spent on hiring designers, artists, sound engineers, or anyone with a smidgeon of game design knowledge. It’s a game in which shiny, pre-bought Unreal assets float aimlessly across the sky (or clip through walls and floors), in which no single element has been designed with purpose or a cohesive art direction in mind, meaning every enemy, environment and weapon asset clashes to vomit inducing levels.
There’s so much that doesn’t work in A New Reckoning, that it’s hard to believe a human being actually made it, let alone decided it was worthy of attaching their name to. That sounds harsh, but when a game uses stock, bordered JPEGs of calendars, shoddy concept art, and misspelled Times New Roman font to relay what doesn’t even come close to a “narrative,” a certain amount of scorn has to be levelled at such a lazy, haphazard excuse for a game.
Mark Faroh, who looks an awful lot like Gordon Freeman, is “one of the best biological evolution scientists on the face of the Earth,” and has found a way of creating an obelisk that does… something. Then a giant scorpion demolishes an icy cliff for some reason. I can’t explain what happens in A New Reckoning any more proficiently, because Panzer Gaming Studios didn’t bother to even draft a story, let alone adequately tell one in their finished product.
What follows the game’s many hilarious opening cut-scenes (which feel like they’re never going to end) is a completely broken, underdeveloped, over-designed mess of a first person shooter. One in which nauseating guitar tracks pound your ears, sub-Abrams lens flares assault your eyeballs at nonsensical intervals, and giant lava spiders continuously respawn in order to sponge nearly every single bullet at Faroh’s disposal. You read that right – the first (and only) enemy encountered in A New Reckoning has so much health, there aren’t actually enough bullets in the game to kill the damn thing. Oh and don’t worry, after the lava spider kills you ten or twenty times, you’ll be forced to endure the same painfully slow “Mark Faroh exits a random bus for five minutes” cut-scene over and over again. It’s one of the most excruciatingly awful fights I’ve ever experienced in a videogame, and it actually renders the game completely unplayable after just 10-15 minutes of play.
The whole thing genuinely makes you queasy – everything looks so polished, yet so broken, like an expensive stained glass window covered in piss and sick. Rarely do we see games in which absolutely nothing works correctly, wherein every single sound, animation and art asset is irreparably damaged to headache inducing levels. A New Reckoning is beyond a joke at this point, beyond even a few drunken laughs. A New Reckoning has broken videogames. It’s so sickeningly, insulting bad, that it will make you never want to even look at another game again.
In fact, A New Reckoning is not even worth a full review. Instead, enjoy a thorough list of errors, bugs and unbelievably bad design choices this game includes, all lovingly assembled in an easy to digest format:
- Plagued by pre-bought Unreal assets, none of which follow a cohesive art style
- Unreal recording icons appear in opening cut-scene.
- Opening scene features bad grammar, bad spelling, stock JPEGs and Times New Roman font on a black background.
- Ambient sounds constantly cut out, or are mixed/mastered so poorly they’ll actually give you a headache.
- Assets aren’t animated properly, and they consistently clip through floors and walls.
- The game is effectively a series of doors, followed by one boss encounter which is impossible to complete.
- There is not enough ammo in the game to allow for progression of any kind (see above).
- Lens flares appear at random, and are so unnecessarily bright they will also give you a headache.
- Gamepad functionality is listed as a feature, but pressing any button on a gamepad causes random sound glitches, nothing more.
- Trying to skip the opening cut-scene causes the game to freeze and/or crash to desktop.
- Nothing in the game makes sense. At all. Mark Faroh can apparently use spells, as well as lightning crossbows and sci-fi machine guns. Is this game set in the future? The present? On Earth?
- The UI isn’t correctly laid out, and looks like it was designed in MS Paint.
- [Update 1: I have been informed by Panzer Gaming studios that the never ending lava spiders are, in fact, killable, and that they aren’t never ending. They can be killed by collecting ammo pick-ups from zombies. This does not explain, however, why no zombies actually appeared in the area during my first three attempts at killing the lava spiders. It also does not explain why these spiders seem to randomly spawn on top of their dead counterparts with obscene amounts of health, nor does it even begin to repair any other facet of this broken game.]
- [Update 2: It has also come to my attention that one of the game’s opening cut-scenes (the one with the icy scorpion) is a slightly altered version of this Unreal 4 Tech Demo which was released a few years ago. Classy.]
- [Update 3: I just noticed that the game’s executable file is simply called ShooterGame.exe. Unbelievable.]
A New Reckoning is an atrocious blight on an entire medium, one that has the gall to charge £10.99 for something so brazenly undercooked. Everyone at Panzer Gaming Studios should be ashamed of themselves, and should be legally banned from ever attempting to make anything ever again.