Review: Final Exam (PC)

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Final Exam is a single player or co-op 2.5D brawler based off the cheese that is teen horror movies. You can expect lots of blood, generic mechanics and some of the flattest humour in video games.

For a budget $10 game though, it offers a fairly pleasant co-op experience and some average brawler combat, but does it really have any merit of its own?

Gameplay:

Well, Final Exam handles just about the same as any other generic brawler. There is very little – if anything – in terms of innovation and feels lacklustre in every way. The enemy variety is minimal, having been fighting the same enemies for over an hour and the combat feels dull and repetitive.

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Expect to be smacking enemies with the same attack over, and over, and over, and over… Perhaps even pushing one to a wall and just repeatedly smacking it until it dies, that always makes things a little easier. Just about the only other combat mechanics that are of any use is the ground slam and throw – these too become repetitive, as the grenades and gun are practically useless.

The game does however offer a nice upgrade and level up system, which does bring new moves and mechanics as you level up, but there are few and far between. Most perks being passive, there are only a couple of extra moves or abilities such as the charge attack, but these are again as generic as you could imagine.

Graphics:

The game does offer some pleasant stylised graphics that are certainly great for a budget release. Although they appear to be low resolution textures when the camera does a close up for a cut-scene, while playing this isn’t noticeable and it looks very charming. Even if the enemy design and theme is generic, the stylised graphics make it stand out a little more.

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There is some great neon lighting effects too, giving it a very 80’s-90’s theme which is notably keeping with its teen horror movie theme. However, even with its charming graphics and aesthetic, it’s hard to not feel that Final Exam is just a generic brawler with a slick coat of paint.

Presentation:

The “teen horror movie” theme certainly shows this game is all cheese, so don’t expect to find any serious narrative or elements here; saying that, it does offer a nice charm though that you rarely find in games these days.

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The developers had the courage to go all-out-cheese without worrying about anything too much, but the question stands, does the compromise anything in terms of it’s over all presentation? I would argue yes. Although the cheese-factor is certainly entertaining and amusing, it doesn’t actually offer anything in terms of its mechanics – it seems to limit it if anything. The theme seems to set a “generic” tone to the game and because of this, everything else in the game has been made generic to match.

Final thoughts:

There is very little else to say about Final Exam, other than it being a generic brawler “cheese-fest” with its teen horror movie theme. It offers nothing new to the brawler genre and has very limited combat. For the price, it’s not exactly unreasonable, just not exactly what I was expecting from a brawler of this type.

If you are looking for a bit of cheap fun with a couple of friends and you dislike the idea of complex combat, and prefer a one-button brawler then this may be the game for you. However, if you are like me and you like to be able to pull off those awesome combo’s and abilities in brawlers then this may be one to avoid.

Final Score:

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