After fading out of the public’s eye for quite some time, the Heroes universe recently returned for yet another kick at the can, with new characters and a reboot mentality. Unfortunately, for fans of the franchise and those who got into it by watching the aptly titled Heroes Reborn TV show, poor ratings and a lack of viewer enthusiasm led to the project being cancelled just the other day. Still, that hasn’t stopped Universal and NBC from attempting to further capitalize on the brand, by releasing a spin-off game called Gemini: Heroes Reborn, which (surprisingly) doesn’t suck.
Gemini centres upon a young college student named Cassandra, who heads to a destroyed facility in search of clues pertaining to her parents’ identities. She does so in present day 2014, with the help of a friend named Alex and a set of special glasses that allow her to track enemies and read spoken dialogue. It’s a plot line that we’ve seen many times in the past, where a young person goes searching for his or her past and winds up in trouble, and this particular execution doesn’t do enough to stand out among the rest.
What’s interesting to note is that Gemini: Heroes Reborn is actually a follow-up to a tablet game that was released just a couple of years back. The two games parallel each other, and star different characters who share a similar bond. Last time, it was Dahlia, a character from the show, and this time it’s Cassandra, who seemingly never made an appearance on fans’ TV screens.
As you’ve surely suspected, there’s something unique and interesting about Cassandra. She doesn’t know it until she makes it to the Quarry — which acts as the setting for this entire five hour-long game — but she, too, possesses incredible superpowers. You see, not only can our strong female protagonist lift and throw things with her mind, but she can also slow down and travel through time. These powers are all introduced early on, too, meaning that you’ll get to use them throughout most of the campaign.
The general idea here, is that players must switch between ‘modern day’ 2014 and past tense 2008 in order to get through the Quarry. Mostly abandoned and almost entirely destroyed in 2014, it was alive and well in 2008, and functioned as a research facility at that time.
Now, I wouldn’t go so far as to call the gameplay challenging, but it presents minor progression puzzles that require you to navigate within each time period. Cass can also use her time slowing ability to jump extra high and super far, which lets her get across gaps that normal humans wouldn’t be able to handle. Don’t expect anything incredibly unique or remarkably polished, but these mechanics combine to create something that is surprisingly entertaining, despite its dated design and visuals.
There is combat to be found, as well, and each engagement requires you to use your head and tap into Cassandra’s special talents in order to survive. This means throwing things at enemies using telekinesis, or slowing down time and grabbing their bullets as they come at you, before sending them back in the opposite direction. You can also change timeframes during battle, in order to get a reprieve and wait for your percentage-based health bar to replenish. That doesn’t always work, though, because sometimes you’ll find guards in both dimensions and will have to run and hide for a bit. That said, Gemini: Heroes Reborn is never overly difficult on its normal setting.
All of the above takes place over approximately sixteen chapters, most of which are very short in length. You’ll get an achievement for completing each one, too, making this a great game for those who really care about Microsoft’s reward system.
Keep in mind, though, that Gemini: Heroes Reborn is dated from start to finish. It’s a bit ugly and a tad clunky, has the odd mechanical issue (which can sometimes make catching bullets difficult), and sometimes restricts you from being able to jump from one dimension to another. Additionally, there are some performance woes, including frame rate hitches and visual hiccups.
Still, despite its issues and technical limitations, Gemini: Heroes Reborn is not a bad game. Sure, it’s not perfect, nor is it a masterpiece of any sort, but it’s a relatively fun and immersive experience that fans of the canon will enjoy. Pick it up if you fall into that camp, or if you’re someone who’s looking for a half-decent downloadable game to spend several hours with.
This review is based on the Xbox One version of the game, which we were provided with.
Gemini: Heroes Reborn has a bland and forgettable opening segment, but once it picks up and hits its stride, it turns into a surprisingly decent game.