If you're looking for an original game with some fast paced action at a budget price, Alter Echo is the game for you.

User Rating: 7.8 | Alter Echo XBOX
For example, you can turn invisible in stealth mode, sneak up on an opponent, jump on their back, and then immediately morph into sword mode to hurl them across the room, only to follow up by transforming into gun mode and unloading a salvo of plasma bullets in the enemy's direction.

The game has an addictive, simplistic quality to it. The action is manic and fast paced, and while it does retain a decent and ever-increasing level of challenge, it is by no means impossibly difficult. The levels are short - roughly seven to fifteen minutes apiece, which makes this game a real pick-up and play.

Alter Echo pays homage to many types of gameplay a borrows liberally from each, such as shooters, fighters, platformers, stealth-action/adventure, beat 'em up, hack 'n slash, even puzzle games. Alter Echo does, however, minimize the depth of each of these genres. In some ways, this game be a good thing, because it allows the player to focus more on the game itself, and not, "Okay, am I playing the Metal Gear Solid ripoff or the Tetris rip-off at this point? I can't remember." In other ways, however, this can be a bad thing, because it makes Alter Echo itself seem very shallow.

The game gives you plenty of abilities and attacks to experiment with and play around with early on, as well as several which can be purchased/earned at a later time, keeping the gameplay fresh throughout the various levels.

As far as graphics and sound go, Alter Echo is just slightly above average. The characters themselves look great, except for their faces, which look like they were cut out of an old Johnny Quest cartoon, converted into 3D, and then pasted onto the character models. The environments consist of large gelatinous looking blobs, mounds, and flat, winding roads, which, given the games plotline, makes sense, but this really just comes across as laziness on the part of the developers. Even so, the characters are well animated and the battle animations are fun to watch, making the bland environments easy to ignore.

The voice actors are competent, and in the cases of Paavo and Echo, are slightly better than the rest of the cast. The voice of Nevin (the main character) never ceases to be annoying, as our a-typical carefree hero pours out a never-ending stream of hasn't-been-funny-for-ten-years jokes and wisecracks. But, the cut scenes where Nevin does speak are short, and so we are forced only momentarily to hear him weigh the game down with his dry humor. As for sound effects, Alter Echo takes a blow - the sounds of explosions, sword slashes, and other such sounds are slightly unconvincing, leaving the player to wonder just how much time and effort was put into the game's audio.

Overall, Alter Echo is an easy to play game with some tight controls, an interesting story, some addictively fun combat, with only a few bumps in the road that keep the game from reaching it's full potential. If you get the chance to grab this game then do so, and as long as you don't go in expecting Devil May Cry or Prince of Persia, you won't be disappointed.

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