Mighty Rocket Studios managed to create one of the most uninspired and tedious games of this generation. Shallow combat, infuriating difficulty, and an utterly astonishing amount of artificial padding makes me wonder why anyone would release such an embarrassing product.

I have no idea why this game is called Final Exam. I suppose because it revolves around four young adults who are college students? Yeah, let’s go with that. Anyway, apparently a mutant apocalypse befalls your hometown. To survive, you have to team up with your four stereotypical friends and mow down hordes of freaks. There is the jock, the nerd, the thug, and (of course) the hot chick. None of them have any substantial backstory, so the only motivation for selecting one over another is a minor change in playstyle.

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Then, you go through a series of levels modeled after generic horror flicks. Malls, subways, sewers, school yards, an amusement park… everything we have seen a million times is recycled here once more. I found literally no redeeming elements in the story, which isn’t surprising because there is already almost none to be found.

Continuing on with unpolished aspects of Final Exam, there is the inexcusably bad gameplay. Final Exam is a 2.5D side-scrolling action title, but with little substance. You trek about levels that are unnecessarily convoluted, slaying enemies and collecting things to complete arbitrary objectives. Combat shows promise initially, but quickly devolves into tiresome button mashing occasionally spiced-up with a firearm or bomb. The same few green bug-eyed mutants incessantly spawn and hound you as you explore. These creatures are dim-witted, though overwhelmingly numerous and can deal large amounts of damage with solitary hits. Worse yet, at certain points you get assaulted by small armies of mutants. This usually happens just before or after completing a long-winded fetch quest, which is simply too trying to be forgiven. I constantly scoffed at how often I was expected to stop and pound the same button, on the same enemy, in the same place over and over. And if the numbing repetition wasn’t a big enough obstacle to having fun, Final Exam forces you to achieve high scores and collect every hidden item in a stage to simply level up. This essentially means you have to execute stages perfectly just to unlock meager moves and stat boosts that your character desperately needs to stand a chance at lasting through progressively more demanding levels.

[quote_center]I constantly scoffed at how often I was expected to stop and pound the same button, on the same enemy, in the same place over and over.[/quote_center]

At least one decent thing came out of Final Exam, the fairly impressive visuals. There are a lot of minor details that bring a degree of depth to the world, which makes it neat to stop and take in environments. It is admittedly impressive how much can be going on at once without any framerate hiccups, yet that is a double edge sword as the player regularly loses themselves amongst the chaos. Also, it doesn’t help that there is entirely too much HUD for a game this mindless. When in combat, combo meters and all sorts of prompts clutter the screen. With the rest of the game being so poorly constructed, it is especially saddening that the one good element of the game be overlooked.

Wrap Up

In the end, this game should be overlooked: it’s not worth your time. The only positive things I can say about Final Exam is that it functions and is mildly pretty. I genuinely hope Mighty Rocket Studios can turn things around in the future, but Final Exam leaves a very bad first impression.

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