Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions Review: Demented
Geometry Wars represents something wholly good from gaming’s past. Something free from the days of unfinished AAA releases, online DRM and over-hyped marketing campaigns. It excels at simply doing what it sets out to do better than any other arcade-style shooter on consoles. GW3: Dimensions keeps the tried and true formula intact while mixing things up and borrowing elements from other popular shooters like Resogun and Nano Assault.
The main difference is that stages are now three dimensional, taking on different shapes. Players can fire around corners, much like in Housemarque’s Resogun and Shin’en’s Nano Assault, giving the core gameplay the facelift fans didn’t even know they wanted. These stages are a nice mix-up of the usual Geometry Wars package, adding a new layer to an already fun series. With the 3D stages though I did experience more than a few instances where it was impossible, at least to my eyes, to tell where I was, always leading to an unexpected death. Enemies are also hard to spot in some stages as well.
Additionally, players can equip unlockable drones which can modify their abilities. Perhaps you’ll want more firepower or you’ll opt to have your ship pick up gemos automatically. Want a homing missile? Get the required amount of stars and you’ll unlock it through the adventure mode.
Modes include Deadline (try to score a certain amount in a limited time), Evolved (classic Geometry Wars with three lives) with King, Pacifism and Waves rounding out the package. 2-player local play is supported but is limited to only 10 stages and online competitive matches are hard to come by. When you actually get someone else to play with, either locally or online, Geometry Wars holds up nicely and it can be fun with a buddy. Overall though Geometry Wars 3 is still a game you’ll be too wrapped up in to pay attention to anyone on a mic or sitting next to you.
The adventure mode contains 50 stages with a boss battle after every ten. Adventure does a great job of mixing up gameplay by alternating the modes, keeping things fresh as you try to earn high scores. It must be said how annoying it is to have to unlock a certain amount of stars in order to unlock the next boss battle or progress. If you’re barely scrapping by, getting one star per level then you’ll be forced to replay past levels until you can earn the necessary amount of stars to progress. This setup causes some unnecessary frustration for the player though an extra half hour of replaying past levels fixes it quickly.
Some of the adventure mode stages are absolutely brutal in terms of difficulty, especially the later ones. Random levels will be a cakewalk while some will have you cursing at your TV non-stop. I wouldn’t say this part of Dimensions should be easier as much as it could stand to be more forgiving.
Visually, Geometry Wars 3 is stunning. As if fans would expect anything different. Things can get a little busy at times and you’ll get confused due to the wide range of colors on screen but artistically Dimensions is superb. The soundtrack offers a wide range of great songs which will stay with you long after you stop playing. Thankfully, the full soundtrack can be listened to for free online.
This is the Geometry Wars you grew up on over the Xbox 360/PS3/Wii generation, just with some clever twists. You will still get addicted and be glued to your TV, endlessly chasing high scores until your fingers ache. That hasn’t changed. During a year when it seemed like every other major release brought with it some sort of disappointing catch, Geometry Wars 3 simply puts a smile on your face and blisters on your thumbs. That’s something that is increasingly hard to come by in 2014.
Geometry Wars 3 does everything a fan could ask it to. It evolves (get it?) the series with new 3D stages while keeping the core gameplay of past entries intact. Progressing in adventure mode can be a little cumbersome but there's so much to enjoy that it's easy to forgive the developers on that one. Just watch your language while you play, okay? Review copy of PS4 version provided Activision Publishing via PR.