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DOGOS Review

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Over the years the Shoot ‘Em Up genre has given us some incredible titles – Radiant Silvergun, Battle Garegga and, of course, R-Type. In comes the small Argentinian developer OPQAM to try and rekindle our love affair with the classic shmup game, but have they done so? Not really.

You know you are off to a bad start when you enter the DOGOS main webpage and are immediately greeted with the spelling error ‘Comming Soon’. The information given online also goes on to say “Running at 60fps at 1080p resolution amid the chaos of alien warfare, this game will truly test your senses and reflexes. So… try not Blink if you want to stay alive.” That’s right “try not Blink.” These sorts of spelling errors are consistent throughout the game in Desmond’s journals (something that is explained later on). Come on guys. This sort of sloppiness and general lack of imagination continues to run its course throughout the game and sadly puts a dark spot on the classic shmup genre.

dogos_01

To add to the already poor effort the game has shown in their marketing, they’ve come up with a mundane, boring and clichéd storyline. Earth is now a baron wasteland, its resources have been run dry and has been overpowered by biomechanical extra-terrestrials known as the Zeetnuk. Enter our hero Desmond Phoenix, a pilot who takes on the role of saving Earth from these foul creatures. This is made possible by combining the alien technology with our own and creating some shiny new ships – the pilots call these the DOGOS. I know there isn’t exactly much you can do with a classic shoot ‘em up style of game in terms of story, but at least try and set yourselves apart from the pack.

One of the slight pluses of the game is that there is a basic level of customisation in which you get to choose the setup of your ship before you start the next stage. You can pick your own ship, either the KZ-72 or the KZ-15, and then pick your armament – air weapons, which include either blaster, plasma, eraser or spitfire, and your ground weapons such as a rocket, sniper or cluster bomb. You can also change the skin of your ship, something which is unlocked throughout the game. This is about as exciting as it gets because the game is so unbearably repetitive that this small change means it will break up the monotony and make the game look slightly different.

Whilst you are playing thorough missions in DOGOS, amazingly, there is a fully voiced cast. That should give it some credit right? Wrong. Every piece of actual speech throughout the missions is drowned out by the loud, harsh, repetitive music that continuously plays for every second. This music isn’t exactly varied either with the game featuring two types – slightly dramatic electro and dramatic electro depending on which part of the mission you are on. Two types of music? Yeah that won’t get annoying at all. The problems with the speech doesn’t end there though, as after each mission and another begins, we get the joy of listening to Desmond’s personal journals. The voice acting is so agonizingly robotic and unnatural – he talks about his missions and his family and the game tries to make the character relatable or try to get the audience to connect with him in some way. This fails spectacularly as the information in the journals is so boring and dull, with it read to us like the teacher in Ferris Beuller’s Day Off. At least you can skip them.

dogos_38

DOGOS was frustrating from the absolute start. Your main point of contact during the course of the game is a female character called Europa and your first mission is to escort her to safety through multiple oncoming Zeetnuks. This sounds enjoyable enough, except Europa is in a tank that never seems to get out of first gear, she moves forward agonisingly slowly and if you go a bit too fast, she stops and waits for Desmond to be right next to her. This meant all you hear for the entire mission was “Desmond stay close” or “Desmond come back.” Just to top it all off, even when there are absolutely no enemies in sight she continues to repeat the phrase “Desmond I’m taking damage!” Why? Why are you saying that?

When it comes to ammo, most games make you conserve it because you will run out and need to collect more. Not DOGOS though. Both of your main weapons (air and ground) have unlimited ammo, so for the duration of the game I just found myself holding down both LT and RT as there were no consequences if I didn’t. Where is the challenge in that? Whilst there are a few items that are possible to pick up throughout the game, whatever you do don’t pick them up because every time you do so a robotic voice tells you what you have collected. For example when you collect energy the voice says, very monotonously and very loudly, “energy” or when you get weapons, the voice will just say what you have collected. The icons that represent these items are very clear, a glowing bomb for bombs, a green cross for health/energy etc and so after the third or fourth time of hearing this, I never wanted to collect another item again.

After every couple of stages you will encounter a “boss” which seems to pose some kind of challenge, I use the term loosely, to Desmond as it tries to stop him on his perilous journey to save Earth. These have to be the most uninspired and boring bosses that I have come across to date. To defeat these “bosses” all you have to do is hold the fire buttons whilst simultaneously dodging its oncoming fire which comes at you in a repetitive pattern which you learn very quickly. That’s literally it. Hold down two buttons for around five minutes and BOOM! Boss complete. Next level, next boring journal entry. *sigh*

dogos_97

Another disappointing aspect is the way that every mission ends. When you complete the final objective at the end of each level, the game just cuts straight to “level complete”, no slight fade out, no voice over saying the clichéd “great job”. Just a harsh cut straight to the screen where there is more than likely still people shooting at me or explosions still happening on screen. How was this sort of thing not thought through?

OPQAM have not done the genre justice and have tried to create a homage to the classic shmup. But this style of game has been more than tried and tested and seems to have exhausted itself through countless years of repetition, and it is trying to spring new life into a genre that should be left to the classics. So after only a few hours of game play, very few deaths and spelling error after spelling error, I was happy when the credits finally rolled and I could put down my controller, begging for there not to be a sequel.

 

Ethan Palmer
Ethan Palmer
An avid player with nearly 20 years of gaming under my belt. When I'm not gaming I'm......I'm literally just gaming.

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chimpmeister
chimpmeister
7 years ago

OK, let me be the first to comment on this review. Even though I already posted a comment criticizing the review, and TXH removed it! So much for freedom of speech on this website, if you post anything negative about their reviews, they’ll just remove them.

This review is very unfair and not well researched. The author makes a big deal about misspellings in the game (it’s apparently his biggest gripe), but fails to thoroughly cover the main aspects of the game. No mention of graphics (which are very nice), weapons, upgrades, strategy involved, etc.

A review score of 1/5 should be reserved for a completely broken game. This game is FAR from “completely broken”, there are many improvements made since the previous shmup by this company.

If you want a much fairer review, check out Defunct Games review of Dogos on YouTube. It’s much more thorough and fair, and covers all aspects of the game.

TheXboxHub
Reply to  chimpmeister
7 years ago

Thanks for your comment (s). You’ll find your original was hidden behind the Disqus spam barrier due to your decision to include a link to what you think is a fairer review. It was never deleted and like any other comment on TheXboxHub never would be deleted (unless it borders on the offensive of course). Freedom of speech is all well and good from where we are sitting – something we have in spades with our DOGOS review – and are more than happy for all to see your point of view as well.

A review score of 1/5 shouldn’t be held for a completely broken game…much in the same way as a 5/5 score shouldn’t be held for a perfect game – because if that were the case, then 99.9% of reviews would sit with a 2,3 or 4 attached, rendering the whole system useless. Instead they should be held for very poor games and very good games. Now, it would be a different matter if we scored out of 100, but we don’t, so we’ll save that for another time.

If the reviewer in question has issues with a title in multiple aspects (ie, in this case, Constant spelling errors, Unimaginative enemies and storyline, Terrible, repetitive music, Not challenging), then that is his prerogative. Believe me, I’m pretty certain Ethan wouldn’t be making these problems up and I’m also pretty certain that he’ll happily come on here and help clear things up even further if you so wish. Although his review does a pretty damn good job of that in itself.

Thankfully, as well as focusing on the negatives, he has also picked up on the few good points (Actual voice acting, “Customisation”) but I’m at a loss to understand how those two things could make a game worth a purchase. He’s also picked up on the ‘strategy’ required in order to beat the bosses, but that is a term that can seemingly be used loosely.

Hence the 1/5 score.

chimpmeister
chimpmeister
Reply to  TheXboxHub
7 years ago

@ TheXboxHub – I bought the game yesterday and played it for a while, and really enjoyed it. Most other reviews for the game are in the 6-8 range, out of 10 (all the Steam reviews are positive as well). Your website’s review is way out of line with the majority of reviews, and very unfair to the game.

TheXboxHub
Reply to  chimpmeister
7 years ago

There are also other reviews of the Xbox One version of DOGOS which sit around a 2/5 rating. A quick google shows that, so it’s not really that far out of line with the majority of reviews. It’s out of line with some reviews but not others. I can’t speak for the Steam opinions.

One thing that a mixture of review scores points to though is that it’s quite obviously a game that divides the community. You know, much like Goat Simulator did. We only gave that a 1/5 score too whilst in some strange alternate universe a few people liked it.

Out of interest – other than the score – what do you feel is factually incorrect about the review?

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