Episodic games are widely regarded as the saving grace of the gaming industry. Instead of spending years creating 20-hour-plus full-length games, developers can build five-hour chunks of a game, and release them more frequently and for a lower price over the Internet. SIN Episodes: Emergence is one of the first A-list episodic titles we’ve seen, and if it’s any indication of what’s to come, episodic content will be a good thing.
Emergence makes good use of Half-Life 2’s Source engine. The game is visually appealing and the outdoor environments (which are more complex than HL2’s) provide an excellent backdrop for the game’s carnage. Carnage is the really the only way to describe what you’ll encounter in the first SIN episode—there’s a nearly endless stream of SinTek goons to slaughter as you attempt to bring down the company.
Your arsenal is limited to three guns: a pistol, a shotgun, and a submachine gun. Each is effective in certain situations, but you’ll need to use all three, and their alternate-fire modes, to succeed, especially at the higher difficulty settings.
That brings us to our next point: Emergence is hard. It’s not difficult in a frustrating or annoying way, but even at the default difficulty settings, you need to use cover and attack intelligently, or even the weakest enemies will kick your ass. You should only increase the difficulty level if you can reliably make headshots—otherwise, you’ll spend a lot of time loading saved games.
Beat the game and you’ll unlock HardCORPs mode, which gives you just one life (and removes your ability to save the game). This should deliver a challenge suitable for even the hardest of the hardcore. We can’t wait for the next installment!