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Flashback 2 Review (PS5) | Push Square

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Flashback fans curb your enthusiasm, because Microid’s 2023 Flashback 2’s not even a 2D cinematic platform game. This PS5 pseudo 3D adventure doesn’t have any of the subgenre’s gameplay traits that Push Square noted when reviewing a title like Another World. It also doesn’t continue in the tradition of great sci-fi themed video games, so this buggy, slowdown ridden mess will be a shock to the system for Flashback fans, which breaks their Conrad B. heart.

At least Microids involved Paul Cuisset from the original Flashback’s development team, and the story, while convoluted, finds a believable way to avoid disregarding the continuity of the 1996 PS1 sequel, Fade to Black. Plus, Raphael Gesqua’s music compositions are moody and atmospheric. Yet, the voice acting is cheesy and overly gabby — in a similar complaint to Actraiser Renaissance — although it’s not as though the voices in the Mega CD version of Flashback set a high benchmark.

Conrad’s Total Recall inspired mission is to assist a mutant uprising against a corrupt Titan Corp, which is under the influence of alien Morph invaders. In the future year 2134, death seemingly has no consequence — as you journey from New Washington to New Tokyo, then through a mutant village to Morph territory — because you restart in the precise spot that you died, even if that exact location continues to be under heavy gunfire. There’s a boringly basic one-on-one mech fighting section, and a battle with a Morph Assassin cloaked enemy in the jungle that feels like it diminishes the iconic opening area of the first game.

We were meticulous in playing Flashback 2, but after eight hours of beating the game — as well as backtracking to a motorbike Ring Road save slot through Blade Runner-esque cities, and manipulating old saves to switch between killing an innocent human and his doppelganger Morph for the Platinum Trophy — we observed that the game becomes worse the further you progress. The prevalent graphical clipping of Conrad to become trapped in scenery, or falling through both the foreground and background of environments became increasingly commonplace. Also, the camera doesn’t frame the game’s final task properly, which confuses combat and traversal.

It’s an abysmal end, resulting in a controversial sequel, leaving fans of 1992’s rad Flashback most likely preferring to return to Conrad’s previous amnesia in the original’s plot to forget that Flashback 2 ever existed.

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