Refrain is a madcap barrage of laser beams, missiles, and unimaginable area fight dodges, boosts, and chases in its greatest moments. At its worst, it’s slowed down with tiresome and repetitive encounters, irritating checkpoints, and bland characters. Sci-fi area fight shooters are a distinct segment style at the moment, so whereas I’m grateful Refrain exists, a lot of the sport is a comparatively linear and mundane slog, punctuated by a number of epic encounters right here and there that dwell as much as a galactic fantasy.
As Nara, you’re a starfighter pilot with an extremely checkered previous. The story is pretty cliche and typically obtuse, however Refrain doesn’t trip on its out-of-this-world story. No, Refrain is about gameplay, and when it really works, it nails it. Wonderful segments play out virtually like a film, the place we get to zoom across the battlefield propelled by talents, dodging deadly blasts left and proper and laying down heavy hearth on capital starships. Taking down a colossal enemy ship piece by piece, shedding its outer defenses, and ripping by way of its inside core is a blast, and there are some huge Star Wars vibes once you zoom throughout the highest of a craft blowing up turbines beneath heavy hearth. Different highlights embody a phase the place you’re hopping by way of dimensions to pursue an enemy ship or ruining a galactic area entity. Equally, the unlockable talents in Refrain, referred to as rites, completely shine, giving the participant a substantial array of instruments that make fight extra attention-grabbing as the sport progresses. With rites, your choices enhance considerably, from having the ability to teleport behind your foes for straightforward assaults and even propel your self by way of foes to tear them aside.
In the usual battle-to-battle moments, Refrain suffers. Whereas it has some mild components of open world the place you are able to do aspect missions for added loot, the journey is comparatively simple and, sadly, monotonous. Exterior of the spotlight battles, the encounters are painfully related and infrequently embody components that add to the drudgery. For instance, one mission duties gamers with saving a number of allies from enemy hearth and taking out an enemy ship. In case you get blown up at any level through the mission, it’s again to the start to begin the entire course of over once more, together with the mini-cut scenes and chatter. This mission construction is commonplace in Refrain, and it’s a troublesome asteroid to swallow.
If all enemy starfighters went down in a number of pictures, that wouldn’t be an enormous deal, however the fight is commonly an elaborate and concerned dance of teleporting, dodging, weapon swapping, and extra. After shedding a number of occasions on the identical battle, my power to proceed was typically sapped. Encounters which can be timed or contain defending allies are virtually at all times irritating, as you might be zipped again to a checkpoint solely to must tackle the identical enemies repeatedly till you nail the battle. You might have been battling a number of ships without delay and compelled into taking evasive motion, however the NPC that you simply have been sworn to guard merely went down when you have been busy. When fights contain many models to guard, it might take important effort and talent synergy to outlive, and getting despatched again to the beginning of a mission due to a timer or ally loss of life is extremely demoralizing. These points are exacerbated by areas of area which can be stripped all the way down to a collection of comparable fights, and right here I desperately looked for the subsequent huge second to maintain my will to proceed alight. It doesn’t assist that Nara is consistently whispering to herself in some weird type of ASMR, however with your complete bundle using on gameplay, Nara’s idiosyncrasies weren’t an enormous deal.
Refrain has some epic battles that dwell as much as area fight fantasies, however the rote and infrequently arduous path to get to them is a tough course by way of the celebrities to chart.