Apotheon - Review

Author: Lorenzo Antonelli
Date: 2020-07-30 17:17:50
Apotheon is not a two-dimensional God of War, perhaps it is not even a Metroidvania in all respects and it is certainly not an indie masterpiece before which to tear one's clothes. On the other hand, it is an aesthetically fascinating game, quite enjoyable in its entirety (eight hours if you are in a hurry, a dozen taking it easy) and, moreover, free for the whole month of February for PlayStation subscribers Plus, in short, don't tell me that if you took Apotheon's grade at school (peek down below) to the Greek job, one of the really tough ones, you would turn up your nose in disappointment. Besides, do you want to put the satisfaction of killing Zeus for the second time?

Let's proceed with the review.

The glance returned by the game of Alientrap is nothing short of fascinating. If you love the art of ancient Greece, Apotheon will be a moving Hellenic orgy for you. The work done by the development team, as regards the artistic side, is top notch, they are real animated decorations (in a somewhat puppet-like way, but anyway), authentic videogame art. The beauty of the game can be found in the silhouettes of the characters, in the style adopted to give life to the settings and in the soft and typical colors of the vases of the time.

In short, Apotheon undoubtedly captures the gaze well disposed to those forms and that aesthetic.

The gameplay, on the other hand, is not exactly up to the graphic sector and does not charm at all in the first minutes of the game, but is rather appreciated slowly. As if to say that only after a while an adequate "digestion" is able to give flashes of satisfaction.

Let's start from the combat system: the hero can wield a large number of weapons, such as swords, maces, spears, javelins, daggers, bow and arrows and shields with the most disparate shapes. There are also traps, explosive throwing urns and necessary healing potions. You can upgrade your armor and improve your offensive and defensive stats, but attention, weapons and shields are subject to wear and tear and even breakage. Thus, depriving the fallen of all their possessions becomes a fundamental activity, so as not to be short of weapons or long-life elixirs.

Unfortunately - here are the painful notes - often the collisions relating to the fighting fail, there is an abundance of tragicomic curtains (the enemy who frantically retreats and all the empty shots), not to mention the control system (and of aim) that at first it appears a little too imprecise, "woody" and not very intuitive. Among other things, the selection of the weapon in the inventory with the directional cross (and in real time, in the middle of the fray) is not convincing at all, resulting mostly chaotic, perhaps a little stressful and far from being comfortable use. The same applies to the game map (activated via the touchpad), not really user friendly or easy to read.

In short, although the boss fights are sumptuous, well thought out and in some ways even memorable, most of the fights fail to dispense very great playful satisfactions. For those who consider the standard difficulty level too simple, among other things, after the first half hour of play it will be possible to access the "champion" level, with even more tough, aggressive and fast enemies.

Apotheon, however, is able to reserve more than a welcome surprise to those who want to explore every corner, thanks to a successful level design. It is not a demanding platformer and you will almost never need superior athletic skills to visit it thoroughly. Exploring its two-dimensional scenarios in search of precious or secrets, rather, is an "old school" issue, with environmental puzzles ranging from classic to surprising, with the right amount of backtracking (or a species) and the ability to search more and more the scenarios several times.

It is not clear why, however, the version for PlayStation 4 often suffers from inexplicable as much as suspicious slowdowns, which do not completely ruin the experience, but will certainly turn up the nose of lovers of beautiful fluidity.

In summary, Apotheon is an aesthetically valuable game, very pleasant to explore, but with a gameplay that is not always refined, a combat system that is not really immediate and sometimes inaccurate, with some technical problems that on PlayStation 4 does not do justice to its enviable appearance and the potential of the machine on which it runs. However, there is still a challenge that some players will want to accomplish, without damaging themselves for some mischief too much.

I downloaded Apotheon for free on PlayStation 4 thanks to the PlayStation Plus and completed it in about nine hours on the standard difficulty level. The slowdowns mentioned above are there, but they do not completely compromise the experience, which as a whole is enjoyable and also boasts a certain depth.