Arcadegeddon was announced during Sony's last State of Play broadcast, but we get the feeling that a lot of people already forgot it exists. This third person shooter is a brand new IP developed and published by Illfonic, and it's available right now on PlayStation 5 in early access. It would be all too easy to write it off; a game that looks like Fortnite, but it has rogue-like elements, and it's not even done yet? Well, having spent some time playing it for ourselves, we're here to tell you why it's absolutely worth a shot.
As it stands right now, the game is a PvE third person shooter in which you fight back against a corporation attempting to take over your uncle's beloved video game arcade. A virus has infiltrated his latest game, and you warp inside it to take care of the evil robotic forces across various biomes with randomly generated areas. In the future, the game will also include PvP modes as well, but all that's available at the time of writing is the core mode, which can be played solo or in up to four-player co-op.
You start off in a hub — Gilly's Arcade, the one you're trying to save — and, once tutorials are out of the way, it'll be populated with a few people that'll hand out challenges. Essentially, the main loop of Arcadegeddon is starting a fresh run and getting as far as you can, with the passive aim of completing these other objectives to unlock rewards and earn XP. It doesn't sound all that exciting on paper, but the truth is the game already has that addictive quality it needs. It's obviously not the finished article, but what's here is surprisingly strong.
Most importantly, it feels good to play. While things will likely change, the moment-to-moment gameplay feels tight already. Your character is pretty nimble, with a double jump, a dodge roll, a sprint, and a slide. It's all fun to do and means you'll be moving most of the time, although we're not completely convinced about the roll being mapped to R3. Shooting is suitably satisfying as well, and there are some interesting weapons in the mix that play off the regular archetypes. Downing those bad guy bots is good fun, and they come at you from all angles, forcing you to stay mobile. It's in early access, but the fundamentals are solid.
Each area isn't always just about killing X number of enemies — in fact, it's more often than not that you have a different objective to meet. While baddies will keep spawning to distract you, you'll need to fulfil basic tasks like destroying particular objects, finding keys and their respective locks, or surviving in one spot for a certain length of time. These give you reasons to explore fully, and mean it's rarely only about getting kills.
As you might expect, the difficulty ramps up as you progress, but you'll also be finding stat boosts, power-ups, and better weaponry, so the action feels relatively well balanced. Random guns drop from loot crates and sometimes enemies, with various rarities and some elemental effects supplementing their base damage. The weapon variety thus far is decent, but the game would definitely benefit from some more guns to toy with.
The art style won't be to everyone's tastes but there's a unique sense of style to the presentation — late 90s / early 00s vibes, neon colours and clean lines everywhere — and that extends to the environments as well. While there's not a ton of variety in the biomes currently in the game, the wide open spaces give you lots of room to manoeuvre, and it's fun bouncing around them, dodging hazards, and exploring in search of loot crates. Oh, and as an aside, it has some great DualSense implementation, with different weapons providing different effects on the trigger. It's a surprisingly strong effort for early access.
As a whole, it all comes together rather well. It's an engaging shooter with neat mechanics, great gameplay, and plenty of personality. Illfonic has made a good case for its new game with what's included so far, and the roadmap promises lots of extra content will be added through until the real launch in 2022. It isn't doing anything particularly new, it's just a well-executed game that's only going to get better with time. It's got lots of potential, and we're genuinely excited to see how it evolves.
Have you played Arcadegeddon on PS5? What are your thoughts on it so far? Plug into the comments section below.