Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions

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Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions
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Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions
Action
PC, PS3, PS4, X360, X1
Review based on Xbox 360 version
Publisher: Sierra
Developer: Lucid Games
Release Date: November 25th, 2014

When Geometry Wars first debuted as a mini-game in Project Gotham Racing 2, nobody knew the beast that it would eventually become. Bizarre Creations noticed the popularity of this simple bonus addition and brought a stand-alone version to the Xbox Live Arcade back in November of 2003 titled Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved. A sequel was released a few years later, as was the spin-off titled Geometry Wars: Galaxies for the Nintendo DS and even the Wii. For 2014, Sierra Entertainment and Lucid Games brings us the third instalment, Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions, which takes the once simple two-dimensional twin-stick shooter in another plain of existence. But does this new entry into what has become a digital gaming franchise line-up to its predecessors, or is it a lifeless carbon copy that doesn’t need to exist?

The previous instalment of this now franchise introduced a couple new modes of gameplay to keep things interesting. Not to be outdone, Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions once again upgrades the gameplay to keep from becoming just a stale rehash, though not all of it really goes as planned. There’s various takes on the original style of “survive until your lives run out” approach both new and pre-existing including a “King of the Hill” mode that leaves you scurrying from one bubble to the next, which are the only places on the grid you can attack from, a new Survival mode, as well as “Gateways”.

The big draw here for single player gameplay, however, is the addition of an Adventure Mode. This is divided into fifty different stages, all of which have different rules to them that often reflect the other modes available. Sometimes they can be blended together, such as with Infection maps. These can be done on a typical two or new three dimensional map, but you can also find yourself under King of the Hill rules, only being allowed to destroy the viral outbreak from inside the bubbles. There’s also a score objective to each stage, requiring a certain amount of points to hit one, two, or three stars, which are needed to activate the boss battles and advance, as well as a drone that has upgradable features like attack, defend, and collect, not to mention special attacks like a black hole. None of these, by the way, carry over into non-Story Modes. The same goes for the in-game power-ups that you destroy blocks to obtain, such as rapid fire or a shield. While only temporary, an option to buy these before a match outside of Story Mode would add a great deal more variety to the title, and a sorely missed opportunity to just have some fun outside the traditional Geometry Wars rules.

Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions

Finally, there is multiplayer, but it’s a win/lose situation. Local co-op is enjoyable for what it is, but the on-line play, however, is pretty much barren and broken at the time of writing this. Having tried since this game was released, I have not been able to join a single match to even begin to comment on the on-line gameplay, but I am quite familiar with the inability to cancel out if there are no opponents to be found in the few brief seconds it looks for them. In fact you get stuck in a “cannot find a match” style screen that only gives you the option to retry the search, which immediately brings that screen right back. The few times I had to exit the game entirely and start fresh, though it seems when you look for a match to play enough times you eventually get kicked back to the main menu screen.

Other then that, not much has really changed when it comes to to core concepts of Geometry Wars. The Techno and Electronica driven soundtrack has a good array of catchy tunes that even the hectic gameplay can’t really distract you from one hundred percent of the time, not to mention the traditional sound effects are present with a few new ones here and there that often relate to the bosses, which happen to be the only new enemy type in the game it seems. Even the twin-stick shooter controls are the same with the exception of a super move function on one of the triggers, and some plains take on a third dimension that have you moving up and down maps that can take the shape of things like a pill or a peanut.

Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions

Basically, Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions‘s only claim to being unique over the last two entries are a local co-op, broken on-line mode nobody seems to play, and a very long Adventure Mode that is fun, but can become boring after hours of gameplay trying to hit enough three star goals in the fifty stages to advance, often forcing you to grind levels to upgrade as well. For such a simple concept, this one feels inundated with content that is better left to a casual playthrough then a dedicated day of grinding and blasting. This isn’t to say Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions isn’t fun. It’s just this title tries to be something its not, probably thanks to this one being handled by Lucid Games instead of Bizarre Creations, leaving even the most seasoned fan of the series burnt out after a while. After a good two weeks of steady gameplay, I can safely report I am one of them, and it began to set in after day three. But, thankfully, the casual gamer side isn’t completely ignored, and after a while you will find yourself coming back to it here and there to see if you can outdo a previous score, or just kill five to ten minutes.


Overall Score: 7.5/10
Digital review copy of this title provided by Sierra Games
via Sandbox Strategies.