Hey gang, Valkor here. There are plenty of games that bring a smile to your face and many that will make you cheer. However, there aren't too many that are laugh out loud funny. Now, I've run across my share throughout my TOV life such as "Weapons de Omasse", which is funny in its own way. And then there's "South Park: Stick of Truth", which is non-stop hilarious. Next up on the GameView chopping block is a title that sits somewhere in-between the two called "Zenith". And it's not only funny but also one entertaining adventure, with its share of faults.
"Zenith" is an action/RPG that centers on a guy named Argus, an arcanologyst who is taken out of retirement to retrieve a scepter that he kept hidden for reasons that will become apparent as the game progresses. Once the scepter's location is revealed, the evil that was seeking it makes its presence known and it relates to an event in Argus’s past – a past, it would seem, he’d been shying away from for some time, which you’ll revisit in the form of flashbacks. But now that evil wants the scepter and will do what it takes to get a hold of it. Throughout your adventure, you’ll come across an eclectic group of characters, some with reference to popular anime and video games (such as Claude, who cares for no one and wields a huge sword… sound familiar). As well as plenty of pop culture references, which are fun to point out, some you might get and some that might go over your head. One of the funniest references, to me, is from Dumbo, where Argus and his crew use an elephant as a mass anchor to close a portal. The scene ends with someone saying something like “I’ve seen just about everything…” as the elephant flies across the screen towards its target. Now that was hilarious! And Zenith is filled with plenty of moments such as that one. Some are laugh-out-loud funny, but there were some that hit the dry mark.
Gameplay in Zenith is very simple and easy to get into; your basic move is smashing the “X” button to attack, but you can expand on that as you spend points on your “ability tree” to gain access to new moves (or better defenses). Next, you have the “O” button, which is for dodging, the triangle button uses a scroll ability, which is a massive attack that affects all enemies around you, and then there’s square button, which will launch a projectile attack. Next, you use “R1” to interact with people and objects and you use “R2” to perform a shield move. And if you press “L1” it will give you a quest reminder, so you’ll always stay on track. Finally, you can map out the D-pad buttons like hotkeys, so you can have quick access to potions and such. From the equipment screen, you simply highlight the item you want to map and press the button you want to link it to.
Speaking of equipment, you’ll find plenty of helpful items throughout the land, most of which you’ll get from fallen foes, while others you can retrieve from chests. And since there’s no minimap to help you navigate, you’ll do plenty of exploring, which will lead you to those helpful treasure chests. There are also plenty of potions lying around, especially when you’re close to a big battle. And if you need additional items or to update your equipment, you can almost always find a merchant, even in the most desecrated of areas (which is another funny scene that needs mentioning). And managing them is even simpler as you're not burdened with too much on-screen detail, but given large images that represent each piece of equipment, with weapons and armor giving you stats to help you discover what piece is best suited for you.
While Zenith doesn’t have too much going for it, it isn’t necessarily a bad thing as it’s very easy to dive right in and start enjoying straight away. But is this the type of game you’ll want to invest time and money? I’ll tell you all about it in the TOV Breakdown.
If it’s fun you want, then its fun you shall have as "Zenith" piles on the laughter and then some. Sure it’s not as funny as “Stick of Truth”, but the jokes within are evenly spaced and nicely timed with a story that’s easy to follow. As an action/RPG, it’s just “OK”; I don’t feel it was great, but it also didn’t come across as a waste of time. Zenith is very easy to pick up and play straight away, and it doesn’t bog you down with too much detail. Controls aren’t all that complicated and while the main character progresses at a sluggish pace; you can perform his attacks with ease. The graphics aren’t great, but they work with some nice detail and animation. The music gets a nod in the positive direction and most of the tunes match the scenes where it’s being played. I especially enjoyed the beats when Argus enters this castle after passing through the portal of "The Unexpected” as it has a rich bass with some nice drum beats to it. In the end, I wasn’t disappointed with Zenith as it made for a unique and entertaining experience.
While Zenith has a lot of good going for it, it does have its negatives too; for starters when you leave the first town, you enter an overhead where things go from smooth to framey. Plus there are creature characters that roam the land and should they touch you, you’ll then enter a battle area… but first, you have to sit through about 15 – 20 seconds of loading. Then you have to sit through again when the battle is over. Next, at certain times when you enter the menu screen, the game locks. You can move the cursor around but you can’t select any of the items for some reason. This is bad, especially if you just found a sweet piece of armor or in need of health/mana, but you can’t use it because the game won’t let you. With potions, I find it easier to lock them in on the D-pad, so when their cooldown phase is over, then you can access them straight away. Finally, combat can get repetitive real quick since it's mainly just slashing and dodging, with the occasional tossing of a fireball; I didn’t have too big of an issue with it, but it would be nice to toss in some variation. Also, your companions are of little to no help at all! Most of the time they stand there and when they do attack, they give only a little damage.
Zenith is available now for Playstation 4 and Steam. And if you’re looking for a decent title with plenty of laughs, then this is the one for you. But if you need something with a bit more bite, you might want to look elsewhere, but I’d suggest giving this one a shot. Out of TOV 5 stars, I’m giving Zenith a 3.