Oh boy. 41 Hours is a game you’ll really want to love. On paper it does everything right. It’s a single-player FPS with an intriguing story, some imaginative super-human abilities and a semi-open world design. It has unique characters, enemy variety, hidden collectables and a map system that makes you feel powerful. But as this 41 Hours review will attest, it’s just not very fun.
The story is developed through a series of graphic novel inspired screens. Lea is a cyborg due for termination, for some unknown reason. You are now on the run, helping Lea to escape. Again, for some unknown reason. What we do know however, is that Lea has some pretty cool abilities.
You’re introduced to the first of these in the opening tutorial. You can designate a point for Lea to run to, and command her to unleash an explosion of energy upon arrival. The first enemy you face in the game is unfortunate enough to get in the way of the manoeuvre. And there’s plenty of opportunity for more down the line. Telekinesis, cloaking and more are readily available. However, the use of these abilities is rarely forced upon the player. As such, it’s up to you to decide when a tactical strike is in order, and when going in all-guns-blazing would get the job done.
41 Hours has an interesting take on weapon variety. The arsenal is relatively small, however you can unlock upgrades by category, of which all are then available to you. For example, you can use XP earned to purchase sight upgrades, allowing for your gun to become more accurate when using iron sights or even adapt it to zoom in so far as to put a sniper rifle to shame. You can also upgrade a number of personal traits in the same way. Upgrading your health early on is most definitely a recommendation. Even when playing on the lower difficulty settings.
The design of 41 Hours is strange at best. The pseudo open-world level design, reminiscent of the original Chernobylite or Terminator: Resistance, has you selecting which enemy location to attack first, knowing how much armament each has. This is an intriguing set up. The trouble is, aiming is so wonky and your guns so boring, that each repeated death – of which there will be many – makes the case for replaying diluted to such an extent that you can’t be bothered to find the fun any more.
The game muddles it’s pacing with open space and set pieces with only a handful of enemies. It offers you the opportunity to explore to find puzzles, but rarely rewards you for completing. It often seems as if 41 Hours can’t decide whether it wants to be Halo or Half-life, but rarely gets the fundamentals of either right. 41 Hours is a game that gives you so many reasons to love it, before stripping them all away one-by-one.
Some have compared the game to Serious Sam. It’s possible to tell why, but doing so is very much missing the mark. 41 Hours is about strategically tackling a variety of situations. Rarely do the enemy numbers outweigh your ready armaments. And while they often do spawn into battle far too close, this is arguably more a case of uneven development than intentionally trying to catch the player off-guard.
Instead, 41 Hours is a game in which everything is designed to make the player feel unique and powerful, and yet fails to achieve this in everyway imaginable. The first half of this 41 Hours review may well have had you excited for the game, and true to form the opening level does just as much. However, as you progressed through this review and grew in disappointment, so too are you likely when experiencing the game for yourself. 41 Hours could’ve been something special. In it’s current form though, it simply can’t be recommended to anyone.