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DOGOS Reviewed by Cyril Lachel on . While there's still room for improvement, it's clear that OPQAM is headed in the right direction. DOGOS is an action-packed game that not only looks a lot better than Project Root, but is also more exciting and easier to get into. The fact that it doesn't play like most traditional shoot-em-ups helps set it apart from the pack, even when it fails to capitalize on its uniqueness. It's not always original and there are still some issues I would like to see the developers iron out, but DOGOS is yet another fun shooter for modern consoles. Rating: 71%
DOGOS
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  • B
When I reviewed Project Root a little over a year ago, I was impressed that it wasn't just another vertical or horizontal 2D shooter. I liked that it wasn't constantly pushing me forward and that I could explore the massive locations however I saw fit. Unfortunately, it was also dogged by overlong levels, frustrating difficulty spikes and more than a few questionable gameplay decisions. It was a fun shoot-em-up that didn't quite come together the way many hoped.

A year has passed and the developers of Project Root are taking another stab at the genre. Their newest game is DOGOS, an action-packed shooter that doesn't stray all that far from their first outing. It's yet another overhead action game that allows the player to thoroughly explore the massive locations and tool around at their own speed. But instead of repeating all the same mistakes, the developers at OPQAM have listened to critics and come up with a much more enjoyable shoot-em-up.


DOGOS reminds me of a cross between Xevious and Electronic Arts' classic Strike series. You control what amounts to a space helicopter, a craft that can hover over land and fly in any direction. The ship is able shoot down enemy aircrafts, as well as take out ground units with powerful bombs. This is a unique dynamic that forces the player to pay close attention to the enemies attacking from the ground, sea and air.

Each level sees players taking on a set of short objectives. In one stage you'll need to protect a truck as he drives through enemy territory. Another stage will require players to drop bombs on the generators powering compound's security system. You'll also run into missions where the goal is to just shoot down a certain amount of enemies and make it out without dying. The action largely stays the same, but there's a nice mix of mission types to break up the monotony.

DOGOS (PlayStation 4)Click For the Full Picture Archive

The story mode plays out over fourteen stages that range from lush forests to rocky canyons to stormy islands. The game eventually takes us indoors, but I like how much time we spend hovering over colorful outdoor areas. While it could be that I've simply played too many shoot-em-ups based in lifeless space settings, I really like the look of these levels. I also enjoy how big they are, giving curious players a lot to explore and discover. And best of all, the levels in DOGOS don't overstay their welcome. You'll be in and out most stages in around 15 minutes, a fraction of the time it took to play through the obnoxiously long levels in Project Root.

The truth is, DOGOS has improved on the formula in every possible way. Gone are the days of restarting the stage from the very beginning, because this spiritual successor gives us copious amounts of checkpoints. You also won't need to grind to earn experience and level up our ship, because we're given everything we need right from the jump. We'll still earn new weapons and ships, but they aren't essential and never limit your progress.

DOGOS (PlayStation 4)Click For the Full Picture Archive

For as big of an improvement as DOGOS is, OPQAM still has some issues to sort out. Because the enemy ships are never that challenging, the game throws in laser gates and force fields to bring you down. These are surprisingly effective, as all it takes is one hit and your ship explodes into a million tiny pieces. These gates can be especially frustrating when you throw in enemy missiles that reverse your ship's controls. The final stages rely almost exclusively on navigating through tight areas filled with laser gates, which sucks a lot of the fun out of the experience.

The game also has a curious way of introducing new mechanics extremely late in the story. For example, we're given a charged shot that temporarily creates enough room to fly through force fields. This is a cool mechanics, but it's introduced right at the end of the game. I'm surprised it wasn't added to the mix much earlier and then innovated on throughout the fourteen stages. And when it's not introducing new mechanics late in the game, they are playing it safe with the same boring power-ups found in Project Root.

While there's still room for improvement, it's clear that OPQAM is headed in the right direction. DOGOS is an action-packed game that not only looks a lot better than Project Root, but is also more exciting and easier to get into. The fact that it doesn't play like most traditional shoot-em-ups helps set it apart from the pack, even when it fails to capitalize on its uniqueness. It's not always original and there are still some issues I would like to see the developers iron out, but DOGOS is yet another fun shooter for modern consoles.
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