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Official XBox Magazine
While its gameplay and visuals are better than they were in 1992, what was groundbreaking back then feels merely average 20 years later. If you’re willing to slog through a mediocre game to enjoy some slick visuals, Flashback is worth a look; otherwise, you’re better off sticking to rose-tinted memories of the original.
Unfortunately, whilst competent in execution and steeped in nostalgia, this remake of the 1992 classic Flashback doesn’t quite have the firepower or ingenuity to measure up in its own right against the current standard in platformers. It lacks the combat variety of a Shadow Complex or the distinctive art style of a Deadlight, and while its story still manages to intrigue there’s not enough moment-to-moment gameplay payoff to sustain it along the way. Flashback will certainly bring back some good memories, it just won’t create any new ones.
The problem with Flashback is that despite having faults that can be overlooked, the remaining execution feels flat and average. There is absolutely nothing special about Flashback. And that in itself is one of the worst sins that a game can commit.
Chip Power Play
Vor 20 Jahren bot Flashback — The Quest for Identity ein atmosphärisch dichtes, einzigartiges Spielerlebnis, das mich lange an mein Mega Drive fesselte. Die Entwickler des Remakes haben sich merklich Mühe gegeben, das Original zu modernisieren. Das bedeutet in erster Linie mehr, mehr, mehr: detailreichere Grafik, extra Schauplätze, neue Bosskämpfe, vertonte Dialoge. Leider bedeutet „mehr Geschwätz“ nicht automatisch „bessere Handlung‘: Protagonist Conrad wirkt eher selbstgefällig als heroisch, in der deutschen Fassung klingt er geradezu weinerlich. Auch am Schwierigkeitsgrad wurde stark gedreht: Bedeutete im Original ein falscher Schritt oft den sofortigen Tod, ist das Remake durch die flott wieder aufgefüllte Lebensenergie fast schon zu einfach. Das neue Flashback fühlt sich wie bemühte Durchschnittsware an: nicht schlecht, aber nur unter Aufbringung von reichlich Nostalgie-Wohlwollen genießbar.
That's something you could never say about the original Flashback, for all its faults. It might have been obtuse, fussy and frustrating, but it had a clarity of purpose and vision that this anniversary edition struggles to match. Time may not have been particularly kind to Flashback, but 20 years on, it hasn't been forgotten. It's unlikely we'll be able to say the same for this remake in 20 days.
A saving grace is the included 1992 original, but even that feels weird, encased in this arcade-style screen rather than being a full-screen experience. Flashback was never an arcade game, so I have no idea why this is featured. It's a shame that such a revered classic has received such a soulless re-imagining, especially considering the people involved. It's never awful, but its lack of personality is almost worse than being all-out dire.
Stripped of its namesake, Flashback is a middling action game rife with bugs and small annoyances that add up to an experience that is perhaps best wiped from any player's memory.
It all just makes no sense. The original Flashback was beautiful in its simple cutscenes and nuanced storytelling, relying on imagination, solid platforming and environmental exploration. In this modern remake, the original vision is lost in favor of trying to reach a new generation of potential fans with some half-baked ideas on what would make A Cool Sci-Fi Game™. And in the process of doing that, Flashback has lost its identity entirely.
Flashback is a tremendous disappointment, and a reminder that fond memories are often better left as just that: memories. The original game is included in emulated form with each copy of HD, but it's easier to appreciate for its influence on future games than it is to enjoy the act of playing it. Just skip this particular excursion into the past.
In 1993 Flashback was a fantastic blend of well told, tense story with revolutionary visual flair. In 2013, it’s a bit of a confused mess. There was an opportunity – given some time, cash and care – to remake a classic game in a modern way. That opportunity has been almost entirely wasted and instead what we got is an insult to the memory of the original. For newcomers to Flashback this will likely be an unappealing, disjointed experience. For those of us who remember the original with fondness, it’s a slap in the face.
When attempting a remake, developers should always respect the source material. It is sad to see that this was clearly not the case for this title. This buggy, poorly conceived joke is an insult to the original game. A simple HD re-skinning of the original would have been far more enjoyable and probably less work. The only positive change made to Flashback in this remake is that, due to the altered story, Fade To Black can never happen. If VectorCell can do what they have done to a game as great as Flashback, the horrors they could create with the godawful Fade To Black would conjure nightmares that no living creature should ever witness.
With beautiful environments and intelligent level design, VectorCell did most of the work of making a memorable puzzle-platformer. But awkward controls and frustrating bugs keep Flashback far away from the classic status its 1993 forebear earned.