Keith's Crappy Videogame Blog


Exodus from the Earth (PC, 2008, Russia): Another Guilty Pleasure
August 7, 2010, 7:00 pm
Filed under: Exodus from the Earth (PC, 2008, Russia)

It might not be prudent to begin a discussion of a game by saying, “Hey, what do you want after all?” but… “Exodus from the Earth” (all the cool kids call it EFTE) is a Russian-made FPS sci-fi throwback that will probably run fine on a machine powered by guinea pig energy. What you won’t get is RE5 here. What you do get is a perfectly serviceable game. If you were one of the 100 or so people who even bothered picking up this not-really-marketed-in-the-US PC shooter, you probably know what you were in for (or your grannie was looking for a cheapo birthday present and this is what you got–new, you can pick this up for $20, so tell grannie you know exactly how much she spent on you).

The story (yeah, there’s kind of a story) goes like this: It’s the year 2016-or-thereabouts once again, and humanity’s final sunset is about to occur. Literally. Scientists (who know these things) have estimated the sun is going supernova in about 20 years, which is a little before schedule (trains are always late, but apocalyptic natural disasters and irritating houseguests are always early—why is that?). Since a dark planet Earth is no planet to live on, we as a species need to find a new place to set up camp. In the rush to find new digs, the military, big business, and religious organizations knock heads in their attempts to seize control of the situation. And just in time, one financially powerful quasi-religious group (called the A.X. Corporation) with lots of spaceships and a nutty leader (called Jack Crizby) declares they have found a habitable planet and are preparing it for everyone’s relocation. Isn’t that nice of them? However, the organization may not be entirely trustworthy—I mean like maybe they are going to set us all up in the damp basement or something (or fly us to their planet and turn us into religious-zealot-zombies working for pennies). The solution to this quandary? You (smartass space commando Francis Rixon) is going to secretly follow Crizby’s gang into space, locate this supposed planet, and determine whether or not they are on the up-and-up. Unique? No. Interesting? No. Engaging? No. But I return to my opening statement: “Hey, what do you want after all?”

The game throws back to Quake 4 or Doom 3 in looks, gameplay, and physics when played on all high settings (yes, I know EFTE was released in 2008 not 2004)–it is not as good as either of those games of course, but visually it is within the same class. The guns work fine; the mostly dumb AI works fine; the maps are mappy; the effects are effecty; the story manages to be transparent, nondescript, and confusing simultaneously (but it’s sci-fi, so I’ll take it). Some of the open-world landscape traversing is fun—the areas feel large and take a while to cover. (This is not an open-world, sandbox game by any means though.) Later chapters of the game after leaving Earth, you find yourself in a bizarre landscape on an alien planet without breathable air—which adds some much needed variety. Similar to almost every one of these eastern European sci-fi fps games I’ve played, it is seemingly endless—the game goes on and on and on. Fortunately it slowly improves (or you simply get used to it) and eventually hits a kind of surprisingly strong stride. (You know, like an Andre Tarkovsky film—but that’s kind of the point, right?) There is some driving, and of the scant reviews you can find of the game, players seem to kvetch about how atrocious the driving controls are. Reading these reviews before playing, I was expecting these sections of the game to be completely broken, and I clenched my teeth in fear. But they’re not; maybe they are a bit funky, a bit backwards-feeling. But overall, they function fine. There are also some jumping sequences which can cause irritation, since the mechanic is in need of improvement (but you can always get into the game files and change how high you can jump, if you are brave enough to do so and have the time to figure it out.)

The one thing that is exceedingly BELOW PAR is the voice acting–like most of these semi-translated Ukrainian- and Russian-made games (Alpha Prime, Kreed. etc.), the entire experience would be improved if you could simply turn off the dialogue and just read subtitles instead (or, if the developers decided to simply leave in the original Russian voicework and add subtitles [one lesser-known, much maligned Russian zombie fps game titled “Instinct” does this very thing]). Anyway, in EFTE, atrocious does not begin to describe the localization to English. Of course, much unintended hilarity ensues. Contemplating the sun’s explosion and subsequent destruction of our blue homeworld, your character remarks: “The Earth will soon have a deep tan.” Oh my. But hey, I can play this on my completely non-sooped-up Dell laptop without a hitch, and I tell you that is awesome when you are sitting on plane for 4 hours straight. Yay! Exodus from the Earth! Yay! Exodus from the Uncomfortable Plane Flight! Yay!