RIVE Review (PS4)
Rive, means to tear or spilt apart violently. It is a good title for a game that was announced as the final product from developer Two Tribes. A game where everything you shoot explodes forcefully sending nuts and bolts across the screen. An ideal title if you literally want to go out with a bang (plus a few thousand)!
Rive is a frenetic twin stick shooter and platformer that really puts the emphasis on its difficulty. The first clue is when you boot the game up and the option you can choose to play is hard mode. This game has no qualms about destroying you repeatedly. It also feeds into the basic albeit flimsy narrative of the game.
You play as Roughshot, a scrap metal salvager who finds himself trapped in a large ship, with a rogue AI called Daryl Lloyd Lancaster or DLL for short, who is really interested in having Roughshot put his various deadly creations through their paces. As you navigate around the ship in your Spidertank attempting to escape, you come across countless waves of enemies that will quickly make short work of you.
Thankfully, these enemies drop nuts and bolts as mentioned before that Roughshot can use at an upgrade station to bolster the Spidertank’s arsenal, improve its armour or improve its magnets to ensure that you pick up every last collectible. Although the Spidertank has a standard machine gun, that you will use to shred basic enemies, you will quickly find yourself needing the missiles and shotgun special attacks to effectively crowd control.
Roughshot can also hack enemy turrets and health drones to bolster his chances against the hordes. These hacks are finite and will eventually explode with repeated use. Even with these skills you will probably find yourself dying a lot. In the middle of the action, with all the explosions going off with enemies dying, you can easily find yourself coming a cropper thanks to the environmental dangers that are ever-present during enemy encounters. In most of the scenarios, you will probably die a few times while learning the patterns and intricacies of that particular encounter.
Thankfully Rive’s checkpoint system is very generous, but not without faults. It’s less of a checkpoint system and more of a quick save system. So you may find yourself in a situation where you die, restart and lose half of your health because the game decided to save halfway through a battle.
While Rive is very demanding skill wise, it is for the most part very fair. Some of the fast paced platforming sections can feel a bit trial and error. Such as scrolling lava sections where you have fractions of a second to make a decision, or really fast waves of enemies flying in from off-screen that will decimate your health. There is no real detriment to the game itself, most of your deaths will never really put you back more than 20-30 seconds to where you died. Also the loading times are minimal, so there are no frustrating long loading screens to contend with. Which is a plus when you want people to fail hard and fail fast.
The only real place the game falls down for me is the actual voice acting. While Darryl and Roughshot’s lines are performed well, the actual humour in the game falls flat. It clearly tries to depict DLL as a somewhat bumbling GladOS, but with none of the wit or sardonic humour that has made that character iconic. The running joke is that Darryl wants you dead and will send a minion to voice this to that effect. The minion will die and Roughshot will fire off a one liner. The lack of a solid narrative in a twin stick shooter like this however does not really detract too much when the core gameplay is so fun. Also, visually the game is great, with nicely drawn environments and effects.
With Rive, Two Tribes have managed to craft a game that will satiate the needs of twin stick shooter fans in need of a visually arresting game, that will test their skills to the limit during its 5-6 hour campaign. Although the difficulty may prove too much for some and the voice acting can get grating when you have heard the same line uttered multiple times before a fight. Two Tribe’s swansong ends with a positive note.
8 bolts out of 10