Developer: Visual Dart
Publisher: DANGEN ENTERTAINMENT
Platforms: PS4, PS5, Switch, PC
Reviewed On: PS4 Pro
Release Date: 09/09/2020
Reviewed By: Keith Lavelle
Review Rush was kindly supplied with a review code.
Now and then a budget title comes out, that you like the look of but then you boot it up and are like, “what have I done?” Until you get to a point and you go, at least this is amazing. And all the negative can be overlooked. Ultra Age is just that title.
Ultra Age is set in the year 3174. You play as Age on a mission to recover an old world relic, that will save humanity. In the future, the Earth’s resources became insufficient and after a meteor strike, the entire ecosystem changed. So the humans divided in to two factions; The ones who left Earth and live on the Orbital Arc and the ones who stayed and inhabit The Shelter.
After a disagreement between the two factions, the Orbital Arc decided to try something drastic. They sent Age and his floating robotic companion to earth to fight robots, mutants, and fellow humans. To collect a relic that could change everything for Human kind.
Once the relic is found, the duo are attacked by the leader of the assault squad and Helvis is destroyed. At least Age thinks so. The relic is a prototype version of what Helvis was, a flying robot. Somehow Helvis was downloaded in to the prototype give Age access to new abilities. Now the duo must survive the assault team’s robots and get off the planet before there is no time left.
The story does enough to keep the game moving along. It is not the best, and it is very predictable. To make the story less engaging is the poorly executed monotonal voice acting, one of the worst I have heard in a video game for a long time.
Yes, the story is ok and the voice acting for Age is abysmal, but like I said in the opening paragraph, it is a budget title and the devs have nailed the key aspect of the game. Swordplay!!!
Ultra Age is all about flashy fast paced action and to be honest it is bloody good and hard fun. In the opening scene, Age’s sword is destroyed by in the fight with the good guy now bad guy. So he has no way to protect himself in this killer robot and massive crystal covered tiger planet. Luckily for us, Helvis has a few new powers to help Age. Throughout the world there are different coloured crystals that, once collected, Helvis can produce different blades to fit on Age’s hilt. With this ability, Helvis has the power to control time.
I mention this here as it is linked to the crystals. Once harvest, the crystals will have a timer until you can harvest them again. If you are running low on a blade, you can use this limited ability and basically fast-forward time and harvest them again. (Yes, don’t moan. I know what I said about Age’s time left, just go with it. It’s time travel). I didn’t really use this much, however; I seemed to get on well with what I had.
Let’s Get Slicing
Now Age is ready to take on anything that gets in his way. Starting with his steel blade, the action is a fast-paced hack-and-slash, with dodging. Age has light and heavy attacks that he can combo together to make some flashy moves that will see him and the smaller enemies flying around the battle arena. Age also has a dodge that, if timed right, will make him invincible for a short time while slowing down time. I found this the perfect opportunity to reposition the camera. Combat also has a lock on function, but it is only useful in finite instances, mainly boss fights. As most fights are waves of enemies from two up to a ten plus. So locking on to one enemy is not a good idea. Just don’t stop moving and dodging. While putting together combos there will be a prompt to press Triangle this wil do a high powered finisher. After enough damage has been done there will be a prompt to press R2 doing so will unleash Age’s ultimate move with the currently equipped blade and also destroy that blade.
As Age processes through the world, he will get access to new sword types, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. For instance, the Katana deals more damage to organic enemies and less to robots. The Electric blade will stun robots and remove shields, but does not do tonne of damage. So while battling, it is a case of changing weapons depending on the foe you are tackling. You could stun lock a robot with the electric blade, then change to the Claymore for high damage.
Changing Blades, Blade Brake and Dagger
As you could have guessed, weapons will not last forever, as you re collecting them from crystals. Helvis can only hold a set number of each blade. I never ran out of blades came close. As Age attacks, the durability of the blade will decrease. The cracks on the blade and the UI showed this. Once it hits zero, the blade will explode, causing an AoE attack, dealing a little extra damage.
Changing the blade will do two things, (this amazed me) when you change the blade, the previous blade will be stuck in the ground before disappearing a short time after. Also, the blade change has an attack build it to it. For instance, change to the Steel Blade and Age will swipe up and knock an enemy in to the air, or change to the Claymore he will block. As long as you have charges to do this. Charges are gathered by attacking and are displayed on Helvis’ UI section. Changing blades is done by holding R1 and pressing triangle, circle, X and square for the bound weapon, or press R1 and it will change to the next blade to the right.
Age has a dagger that, if I am honest, I ignored for the first few hours bar traversing the level when it’s useable. But it has a few uses outside of traversal. It can collect weapon crystals instantly and pull small enemies to Age and Age to larger enemies. Allowing for the flow of combat to carry on and slicing up everything.
Helvis has a few abilities of his own that are not to be overlooked, bar his blade producing. He has one of the most important ability to heal. This used by pressing down on the D-Pad, again to not interrupt combat. Heals are useable as long as you have energy (a crystal type). Pressing Right on the D-Pad (if charged) will power up Age and increase his attacks power, speed and his crit %. Up to use time shift powers. With left is used to pick up shards that are used for upgrades.
In Ultra Age, we have a fairly robust leveling system that’s in three parts. The first part I will talk about is upgrading with parts that are found from fallen enemies and hidden throughout the level. This upgrade increases the effectiveness of the crit power up, and how many augments Age can equip boosting his stats.
The next two upgrades both use the shards that foes drop after being defeated, and are used to upgrade Helvis’ abilities, such a heal. And Age’s blades granting different buff and increased combos to pull off.
Graphically Ultra age does not look all too bad. In all honesty, I was shocked. However, Age looks weird as hell, like someone who has had too much bad plastic surgery. His face is just off. I wouldn’t want to meet him down a dark ally.
Overall Ultra Age being a budget title is far better than I was expecting. If you can look past the horrid voice acting, shallow storylines and Age himself (it’s harder than it sounds). The combat is good enough that it would impress even Dante.
Be warned, there are a few massive difficulty spikes that make Ultra Age very hard and you will reply bosses. But for a good old hack-and-slash, I would recommend it.