LifeisXbox’s 41 Hours: Prologue preview | Looking at the trailers for 41 Hours: Prologue, I see a nice variety of robotic enemies, high octane action and fluent gameplay. Alright, I think to myself, let’s hit download and dive right in. Scientists with guns, cyborgs, robots, alternate dimensions, developer Texelworks is probably paying homage to some of the greats like Half life. Boy was I in for a surprise. And not the pleasant kind, sadly enough.
About the game
In 41 Hours: Prologue you accompany Ethan, a gunslinging scientist, and his Cyborg companion for the first two chapters. This took me about 2 and a half hours to go through at the second difficulty level. Developed by Texelworks and published by Valkyrie Initiative, I get some Serious Sam and Crysis vibes while playing.
Like any game I begin playing, I go to the games options menu to set myself up. The graphics settings are plenty and the keys can be rebound. But the sound. The sound option might as well not exist in the options menu. Instead of the usual sliders for background music, sound effects, voice or cutscene volume, 41 Hours: Prologue has only a single button for its sound options. It toggles the music. Okay, so maybe the menu is just kinda loud. It’ll be fine right? Oh how I wish that was the case.
In-game you’re constantly bombarded with not only live ammunition, but also the sound of everything, near constantly. Cows, goats, birds and bears are constantly making noise as if you were standing right next to them. Pair that with equally loud sound effects, and the assault on your ears will be rivalled only by that of the many enemies.
Not so locomotion
So, once I’d taken off my headphones and could actually play 41 Hours: Prologue, I wasn’t exactly pleasantly surprised. Movement is quite rigid, but still fluent enough to pull off some evasive manoeuvres during a firefight. Running does require you to keep holding the desired button down, which makes sliding a tricky thing to pull off since they need to be held down simultaneously to work. You best also take it slow when in an indoor environment, since you’ll get caught on nearly every corner you try to take, or table you wish to pass.
On a more positive note, the combat was passable in 41 Hours: Prologue. The guns all felt very realistic, and the many attachments made sure I could kit out my firearms the way I liked them best. Mind you, I have very limited first person shooter experience, and thus not much past experience for a frame of reference. But it felt natural to me, and at this point that’s a win.
… and magic!
But next to guns, Ethan also possesses a handful of special powers he gets to play with, given he’s got the energy to pull it off. Given to him by his cyborg companion is a device that will allow Ethan to cloak himself, predator style; a time dilation gazebo, allowing him to sidestep most incoming fire; and a telekinesis ability, which is mainly used out of combat when you need to stack some stuff. Oh, and before I forget, his cyborg friend can also deploy herself as a devastating EMP device with a pretty big range. A range I totally didn’t nuke myself with at least twice. No sir…
During my two and a half hours of playing 41 Hours: Prologue I did not have a good time overall. The movement is nice when it works, and once you get the time dilation power things get a lot more fun too. However the obnoxiously loud sound and overall very shallow gameplay and world had me looking forward to the end of the demo. Given that, at the time of writing, the price for the full game is not yet shown on steam, I can not say whether it will be worth it or not, but I will not be picking it up myself.