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Evidently, Jydge is a game based on Neon Chrome. I’ve only played a little bit of the latter and haven’t really formed an opinion on it yet. But Jeremy and I decided to jump into Jydge which contains very similar gameplay. Developed and published by 10Tons Ltd., Jydge was released for PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Switch in October, 2017. For this review, we played the PC version. Jydge is a twin-stick shooter with a focus on character customization, it supports local co-op, and most of the text in this game seems to have the letter “Y” in it.
Let’s just say the story in Jydge is not very in depth nor does it really need to be. You play as a Cybernetic Jydge and must eradicate crime in the megacity of Edenbyrg. The Cobra gang is running wild in the city, taking people hostage, and committing all sorts of crimes. You’ll stop bank robbers, secure evidence, and blow away tons of bad guys on quest to clean up the streets. There’s no real cut scenes and the little voice acting that is here is far from amazing. Luckily, the gameplay is pretty fun.
Jydge plays out in acts and each act contains multiple missions. Each mission has multiple difficulty modes with their own objectives and higher difficulty modes are unlocked as you progress through the game. Completing objectives rewards you with credits and medals. Medals are extremely important since they unlock everything. You need a certain amount of medals to unlock modifications and missions. The game supports drop-in, drop-out multiplayer and playing with a friend can make things easier. The challenge increases with each difficulty mode and unlike Neon Chrome, the environments are not procedurally generated. Your Jydge only has a certain amount of health and if you die while playing solo, you must restart the mission over. If playing with a friend, your friend can keep going. Autodocs are located in some areas and they will heal you for a fee.
There are two major types of modifications; Cyberware and Gavel mods. Cyberware applies to your actual Jydge and the Gavel is your weapon. Both your Jydge and Gavel have slots for mods which need to be purchased with credits before they are unlocked. You can then place modifications in the slots but they, too, need to be purchased. As you complete missions and earn medals, you’ll unlock new mods. You’ll always feel like you’re making progress because after completing any mission, you’ll usually unlock something. You can equip your Jydge with mods like drones and goons that assist you in combat, stealth mods like the the ability to hide in plain sight while standing still, or maybe you want to equip yourself with a shield that blocks frontal attacks. Your Gavel has a primary firemode which is basically your weapon type and it does contain infinite ammo. You can equip your Gavel with shotguns, a laser weapon, plasma shots, lead bullets, and more. You can also decide on your Gavel’s special weapon which includes things like missiles, grenades, a shock orb, bolts, and other powerful weapon types but these do all consume ammo. All firemode weapons and specials can be upgraded which improve their stats making them more efficient in combat. The Gavel can also be equipped with up to three mods which include things like faster reloading, explosive first shot after a reload, more powerful melee attacks, kills heal you, and other useful stuff. You must buy everything before anything can be equipped but, luckily, credits are not hard to come by. You can set up custom loadouts which is highly recommended because there’s a good chance you’ll be swapping out mods often and the only thing we don’t like is that in co-op, each player can’t customize their own Jydge. Whatever mods are applied are applied to each Jydge.
Each map or area is relatively small and you can view where your objectives are in the map from the pause menu. The environments are destructible which is really cool, allowing you to try different strategies and approaches each time you play. The objectives, themselves, include things like defeating all enemies, don’t get spotted, don’t take damage, rescue civilians, defuse bombs, secure evidence, and a few others. You’ll have to complete the same objectives frequently which can make things feel kind of repetitive at times but you may not even notice due to the addictive gameplay. The stealth objectives can be real nuisance, though, since they usually require you to take things slow and carefully. When I think of twin-stick shooters, I think of constant running and gunning and the stealth objectives just make things not as fun. And the higher the difficulty, the less exciting the objectives become. There’s a lot of missions that require you not to get spotted, or only use melee, don’t break anything, and it’s like you have to go through the environments in very specific ways. I think the developers were trying to mix things up a bit but I feel the best parts of the game are when you can blast through walls, blow away bad guys, dodge projectiles, and blow shit up. It’s just more exciting and fun. We love how the game gives you options on how you want to tackle objectives, we just don’t like how it forces them on you to basically progress. Failing a main objective will cause a mistrial which means you fail the mission and explode, forcing you to restart. Having a buddy to play with can reduce some of the challenge like when swarms of enemies come rushing in and overwhelm you, maybe you want to infiltrate an area from different positions, it’s just nice to have someone watching your back.
You’ll primarily contend with gang members but you’ll encounter turrets and some kind of spider droids which I guess are like bosses. Most of the tougher enemy types are just bullet sponges and some missions include enemy spawners where enemies will just keep coming. Tougher enemy types can wield rocket launchers, some of them rush you and will basically melee you to death, others may throw grenades, and you’ll occasionally have to watch out for wall turrets and land mines. Some areas contain thick walls that can’t be penetrated and doors of a certain color that require keys to open. Sometimes you can blow through walls around these doors but most of the time, you have to go key hunting. However, once you acquire the key and open the door, it will remain permanently open for that difficulty mode. Containers will be scattered around the environments and can be looted for credits. Purple containers and terminals can be hacked but hacking does require a specific Cyberware modification. Looting containers, completing missions, and killing enemies all reward you with credits.
We would say Jydge looks okay. I would say it’s on the same level as Neon Chrome when it comes to the visual presentation. I think what makes the combat satisfying is the gore effects and watching characters explode into bloody gibs. If you slaughter an entire group of enemies, you can basically cover an area in blood and guts. Explosions look pretty cool and the environments have a sleek look to them. The amount of music in the game is quite impressive and while we liked some songs better than the others, the ones we did like were catchy and really added to the atmosphere and tone of the game. When it comes to the sound effects, most of what you’ll hear is people screaming and yelling, weapons firing, and explosions. All of it sounds pretty good and does compliment the visually satisfying combat. On the technical side the game ran smoothly. There’s an option to run Jydge using the D3D11 Renderer but we found that launching it that way from the Steam menu didn’t work. However, launching the executable directly worked without issue.
To say we didn’t have fun with Jydge would be a lie but we do feel some of the objectives aren’t as fun as others. Some are even more frustrating than they need to be. We also think a few more objective types would have been appreciated. Trying to sneak around areas without getting spotted can become tedious and many of the timed objectives are just purely trial and error. But Jydge does offer a great sense of progression and experimentation thanks to all of the unlocks and different kinds of mods you can equip. Between the Cyberware and Gavel mods, there are tons of combinations you can try and the different objectives will basically force you to try different combinations of mods. You may not be able to complete an objective the first time but you can always complete others and come back to it later, maybe even with different firemodes and mods. With the satisfying combat and all of the objectives, mods, and firemode upgrades, Jydge should keep you coming back for a while.
Jydge is definitely a fun twin-shooter and we would recommend it to fans of the genre, even if it can become a little repetitive and frustrating. The combat is satisfying, you’ll always be unlocking stuff, and there’s plenty of reasons to return. There’s definitely better twin-stick shooters out there but all the customization options here really make Jydge stand out in many ways. Despite its flaws, the gameplay is fun overall and that’s really the most important thing. If you think this looks interesting, I would say give it a shot.