Story: The basic plot of Final Exam begins without much complications. A crew of four are headed to a party when something goes drastically wrong. Things take a turn for the worst with our party of four ending up on the receiving end of an all-out assault by various types of monstrosities each specialized with different ways to kill you. Turns out, a mad scientist with an ironic and familiar name has unleashed some sort of virus causing normal people to be turned into unspeakably grotesque killing machines once submerged in a pitch black fog.
Gameplay: Final Exam begins with pretty straight forward action-based combat but also evolves to incorporate some interesting takes on side-scroller platforming. There’s melee attacks, shooting (with or without lock-on capability), picking up enemies and tossing them, and eventually a lot more including ramming into enemies, slamming them against the ground, mid-air physical combos, and let’s not forget 3 different kinds of grenades. There’s a good amount of different guns and melee weapons, each with its own pros / cons which must be learned rather than displayed neatly on a chart.
As far as the pacing of the story and levels go, players spend the initial third or so of Final Exam’s plot in a state of climbing desperation while getting a beginner’s mastery over the game’s controls and mechanics. Up against increasingly difficult odds, the player manages to finally begins to get a groove on and just when things start to feel slightly repetitive a completely unexpected chain of events commence quickly culminating into a final exam (no pun intended) of everything the game had to teach.
In many ways, Final Exam is an ode to old school gaming. It relies deeply on the player’s desire to achieve impressive gameplay through developing their skills.
Controls: The controls of Final Exam are extremely reliable and fluid. This is a great thing and helps the fast-paced actions set in motion to provide the player with a method among the madness. When the player is engaged and seasoned in the title’s inner-workings, the controls allow for a seemingly endless amount of combination hits to be connected without the player once taking damage. The responsiveness and cohesiveness of the controls are a vital part of this game’s formula.
Characters / Enemies: The variety of different enemies in the game will keep you on your toes. Each one has a different vulnerability as well as a totally different attack methods. Mastering the best way to play Final Exam consists of matching which weapons work best according to your play-style and the enemies’ various reactions to each weapon. A crude melee weapon might do well to beat down certain enemies with weaker flash quicker, but a blade will be much more effective against those with thick skin.
Multiplayer Aspect: Final Exam is built around 4 player co-op, though it is not mandatory. Players will be able to have a fun experience solo, but miss out on the fact that four unique characters have been crafted. Each character contains its own specialty skill trees which are leveled up as the games goes on through points earned in blood (typically green blood).
Replay Ability: Throughout 8 stages which take about 30 minutes to complete on Regular difficulty, and without getting all of the side-stuff done, players learn how to actually survive and have fun in Final Exam. Acting as a quiz of what the player has learned thus far, the ending to the game invites the player to push onward to unlock the real experience of Rock Hard mode.
After beating the game for the first time, there is a strong sense that finding the rest of the hidden weapons, achieving higher scores, maxing out the combo meter, and experiencing ‘Time Attack’ and ‘Rock Hard’ difficulty modes is very much a worthwhile ordeal to undertake. The quality of the game coupled with the ability to play with up to three friends (or strangers) online gives this game a decent amount of replay value for the price.
Engine Performance: No Glitches were found in our play-through of Final Exam.
Overall Score: 9/10
RGN Rating: Gold Game
Developer: Mighty Rocket Studio
Publisher: Focus Home Interactive
Available On: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Windows PC
Played On: Sony PS3
Review Copy Info: A digital copy of this game was provided to RealGamerNewz by the publisher for the purpose of this Review.