It’s 1979 and Satan has invaded Earth. He and his army of Hell seek to amass enough power to reign supreme in a civil war, and Heaven in turn seeks to end this war once and for all. All sides seek the power of the original Satan known as Azazekiel, who is sealed away in a hidden tomb within New York City. In order to gain the upper hand in this desperate rush, Heaven must employ someone they never wanted to know – a renegade son of the current Satan, seeking to atone for his ages of previous sin by any means. This son is known to all as “Johnny Graves: The Unchosen”.
The game is developed by Stupid Stupid Games for PC as part of their Agents of Armageddon setting, Johnny Graves—The Unchosen One is a semi-top-down shooter designed to incorporate platforming and minor RPG mechanics to give a semi-arcade-like feel. Playing as Johnny Graves, you fight your way through a world overthrown by legions of demons, zombies, necromancers, and many other miscellaneous creatures from Hell. To accomplish this, you have a powerful 6-shot revolver, an array of useful gun magic spells, and the teleportation ability called Blinking. Each level consists of pushing through varied environments with challenges designed to test your reflexes, aim, and maneuvering. Collectibles scattered throughout each level push your capabilities further, such as decreasing ability cooldown time and increasing damage, and encourage you to explore to the fullest with level design that can be really ingenious to figure out. You are also treated to some of the most immersive music used in an indie game as you find yourself beset on all sides by the demonic armies.
Even with that, the game has some noticeable flaws. For starters, the game was quite obviously designed to be played with a separate mouse, as touchpads don’t offer nearly as much reaction speed as is needed, and there is absolutely no controller support available, which is especially disappointing as the game seems at times like it was built for twin-stick shooting. Playing in higher resolutions shrinks the size of cutscene subtitles and menu buttons, requiring you to downgrade your settings in the default pop-up menu before actually playing the game. Gameplay can also get incredibly linear for each level, to the point where it all practically becomes a corridor shooter – the game even starts you out in subway tunnels to drive that right in as a possible lampshade. Furthermore, there is no way of knowing specifically which way you’re supposed to go unless you die and respawn at a checkpoint, as there’s no type of noticeable indicator or map present in the game.
Additionally, the camera doesn’t have Johnny locked in the center of the screen – he’s aligned just below the center with the camera at a diagonal angle – and combined with no manual camera rotation available, and the large HUD present at the bottom of the screen. So you are very likely to be vulnerable to threats which you can’t see coming from below. There are also some bugs currently present that can hamper the overall experience, though Stupid Stupid Games seems to be quite responsive to feedback and quickly puts out updates to fix these types of issues as they arise. That’s also why I feel like the game has the potential to be so much more, and is definitely pretty good when you get used to it… but is still slightly suffering from the woes of early-access ambition. With some more updates allowing for accessibility and ease of play, Johnny Graves—The Unchosen One may very well be the start of something fantastic.
Great gameplay and audio make for great immersion
Clever level design
Gameplay can drop to average a few times
No navigation aid
Camera can be an issue in combat
Slight remnants of early-access troubles
Sound and Music: 4/5
Replay Value: 3/5
Stupid Stupid Games urban fantasy ARPG shooter “Johnny Graves: The Unchosen One” is far from flawless, as the game suffers from a handful of issues. Even so, the game most definitely has a lot of potential to become an even greater game over time since its developers are fixing the game’s flaws on the fly. In other words, if you’re a fan of ARPG and shooter games, then might want to give this game a try (if not now, then sometime in the near future).
Title: Johnny Graves – The Unchosen One
Developer: Stupid Stupid Games
Release Date: 2017-04-06
Spent Time: 103+ minutes
Average Grade: N/A (no reviews)
ESRB Rating: N/A (no rating available)
Robin Ek – Editor
The Gaming Ground
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