Dex is a very interesting game. If you are the type of gamer that loved the side scrolling genre this game is a treat. You will be sucked into this cyber punk world not just visually and musically but also with its griping story. Dex is a nicely wrapped package with that old school Castlevania 2 RPG feel.
The game starts where you are the protagonist Dex who wakes up from a slumber with a voice calling your name. Raycast is that voice and he’s telling you to hurry up and get out. The ‘Complex’ is coming for you and you don’t know why. There is more to you than meets the eye and Raycast is going to lead to you a man named Decker who is an ex-hacker that will be your mate through this adventure. This is where your adventure truly starts.
What’s gripping about this story is that right off the bat there are so many questions that need to be answered. Who are the ‘Complex’ and why are they after me? Why am I aligning myself with hackers? Why can they help me and not anyone else? What makes me, Dex so special? I don’t want to go too deep into the story because I don’t want to spoil it for you but that certainly sets the scene.
The story does have a few twist and turns depending on what type of dialogue you have with people along the way as well as the addition of side quests. Your dialogue with these characters and the decisions you make have a huge impact on certain quests. This is where you have a chance to either get the info you need or special items for your missions, or you shoot yourself in the foot and the AI leaves you dry. So pay attention to what folks are saying as this can be said for every RPG out there.
Dex has the ability to use cyber implants, so once you have enough money you can purchase them, and you also have the ability to go invisible, add extra limbs for bonus damage, leg implants to give you boost jumps, as well as a few others fun additions. You also have the ability to hack mainframes, however I’ll get to that in a bit. The skill tree isn’t that expansive leaving you with only a few choices to expand on – Hacking, Melee, Weapons, etc. however, how you work the trees will alter your struggle with the AI so think about your choices. The enemies are beefy so there’s going to be some trial and error when fighting them. This is the case even if you have the most powerful weapons.
The gameplay is what I would describe as peaks and valleys. The peaks would be all of the action parts of the game and fighting AI to level up, where as the valleys would be some of the side quests where you have to either find people or certain items for said people. This portion is your normal RPG element; however, I feel there could have been the inclusion of some fights for you along the way in this area. The fighting is where you are going to have to grind. It’s a typical beat’em up style of fighting, however you will need to grind it out a bit to add to your skill tree to expand on that. This is where you will learn very quickly the patterns of certain thugs you come across, so make sure you level up and level up quick.
Now onto thee hacking segments of the game. This is the element of the game where you jump in to networks to disable cameras and gather information. These segments are very unique since it’s like a R-Type shooter mini game if you were to categorize it, and you fly around shooting at viruses and worms that are trying to stop you from getting information nodes. At my first glance when I undertake my first hack, my reaction was “wow this is so cool”, but the repetition sets in it loses it flair, especially when you have to keep repeating these segments because you have died in cyber space.
Overall I rate this game at a collective 7.5 out of 10.
Dex is quite fun and it has this level of nostalgia for those side scroller fans out there. The story is gripping and the decision options you have with the dialogue along the way gives the story more depth than you would have expected from this style of game. The soundtrack truly sets the mood for this cyberpunk theme. The only thing holding this game back is better enemy variants as well as a more extensive set of skill trees, along with the hacking mini game that gets quite old towards the end of the game, some variation would have been welcomed there. The downer is you can’t skip or avoid some of these hacking segments, you are forced to play them to progress and whilst your first play though may be over or close to the 15-hour mark, if you decide to do all of the extra side quest you may jump up to 20 or more so repetition isn’t really something you are keen on experiencing.
So all in all, for a game that’s under $10.00 USD you will definitely get your money’s worth in my opinion. You may even get a few extra play throughs as well depending on the decisions you make along the way.