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Final Exam Reviewed by Cyril Lachel on . I've never been good at taking tests, and Final Exam is no exception. While the concept is sound, this multiplayer brawler is hurt by a heavy dose of repetition. It also doesn't help that the levels are bland and too many of the missions boil down to boring repetition. In a year with so many great brawlers, Final Exam comes up a little short! Rating: 57%
Final Exam
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  • Review Score:

  • C+
They say that when the economy is bad, people tend to flock towards apocalyptic entertainment. I guess that explains This Is the End, The World's End, Revolution, The Last of Us, The Walking Dead and countless other movies, TV shows and video games that revel in the end times. Final Exam not only embraces this depressing subject matter, but marries it with the equally trendy beat-em-up genre. The result is a game that makes me hope both cliches have finally run their course.

Don't get me wrong, I've been a big fan of 2D brawlers since the early days of Renegade and Double Dragon. This year alone I've recommended Foul Play and Dragon's Crown, two of the best beat-em-ups of the last decade. And despite a reputation for being overly repetitive, I tend to enjoy most games in this genre. But even with all this working in its favor, Final Exam successfully proves that I have brawler fatigue.

Final Exam (PSN)

In this game, players take control over one of four generic school kids who somehow avoid dying in the apocalypse. While it's certainly good news that these four friends are still alive, the other shoe is about to drop. It seems monsters have invaded the town and it's up to you to not just survive, but also figure out a way to stop the madness from spreading.

There's only enough story to take these characters from one part of the city to the other. We start in the underground tunnels, fighting back the aggressive enemies and looking for survivors. Eventually the four characters make their way to an amusement park, through a real haunted house and then to the school.

The player will run into a different survivor to help in each setting. Instead of advancing the story, these scared characters send us on a series of boring fetch quests. For example, a Mario lookalike will need parts in order to rebuild a car and escape this mess, but wouldn't you know it, those parts are scattered throughout the large stage. In other section you'll need to save a bunch of kids stranded at an amusement park. But simply locating each kid isn't enough, because some of those brats have their own boring fetch quests to complete.

Final Exam (PSN)

As you might expect from this style of game, you'll run into a bunch of different enemies along the way. These baddies have descriptive names like the Jumper, the Spitter, the Kamikaze and the Catcher. Despite their different tactics, most enemies can be defeated by simply hitting them a bunch of time with your melee weapons. Or, if you don't want to get that close, you can use one of the many guns to take out the mutant-like horde.

All this would be a lot of fun if the combat mechanics were more interesting. Unfortunately, there simply isn't enough to the gameplay to keep the action fresh over several hours. The idea is to juggle each enemy until he dies a terrible death. But the enemies take far too long to kill. Even with better weapons and an upgraded hero, it often came down to pointless button mashing as I waited for easy enemies to disappear.
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