Slip into a world of hackers versus megacorporations and uncover the truth in Dex. Here’s our Switch review.
Dex is a 2D side scrolling open-world roleplaying game with plenty of character interaction. Players assume the role of Dex, caught between a mysteries hacker collective and a shadow corporation. The game is a little rough around the edges, but the story and world are worth experiencing.
Genre: Side-scrolling action RPG
Release Date: July 24, 2020
Ninty Gamer purchased our copy of this game to review.
After a fairly closed prologue that introduces players to the conflict, you’re immediately dropped into the open world of Harbor Prime. Decker explains the main story objectively and provides guidance. But Dex is free to roam around the map to explore and meet other characters.
Many of the side quests offered by characters are entertwined with the story of other characters. The main quest is fairly linear, but there an a few required side quests you need to complete.
Side quests are fairly diverse in what they offer. Multi-stage quests and interwoven stories help keep these segments interesting. The characters themselves have interesting stories to tell if you can piece them together.
It’s clear the developers of Dex were clearly inspired by the character system of Deus Ex. Main skills include melee, ranged, hacking, lockpicking, charisma, and barter. Each of the skills requires an increasing number of skill points to level up.
Dex also has limited slots for augments that can enhance your play style. In general, you will solve most problems through combat, stealth, talking, exploration, or hacking. Each of these paths is a viable option to help you complete your goals.
Melee combat in Dex plays like a side scrolling beat ’em up – with plenty of blocking and dodging. Ranged combat comes in the form of a variety of guns. Pistols, shotguns, SMGs, and revolvers are just a few of the ranged weapons available.
There is a stealth mechanic, but it is pretty light. You can crouch to make less noise when you move. You can also hide behind some pieces of the environment to get the jump on enemies and perform silent takedowns. Heavy enemies cannot be taken down in stealth, so you will want some combat skills.
The combat and stealth feel clunky to play. The stealth is the more egregious offender of the two. Combat isn’t too bad, once you get the hang of it.
Playing a high charisma build unlocks special conversation options when talking to NPCs. The game doesn’t note which option is special, so you still need to pay attention to what the character is saying. For example, finding information to blackmail a target into cooperating with you is a totally viable path.
Exploring the world of Harbor Prime is extremely rewarding. Hidden areas will require investing in lockpicking and hacking to unlock them. Exploring often unlocks alternative quest paths or additional loot. Some arias remain unreachable until you have certain augments.
Hacking is a twin-stick shooter affair. The hacking mini-game is trivially easy and becomes annoying as the game progresses. It’s required to progress through much of the game, which is unfortunate.
It is one of the least engaging hacking mini-games that I’ve ever played. But I say that as a person who generally doesn’t enjoy the twin-stick shooter genre.
Graphics and Audio
The game’s 2D world is rendered beautifully, with plenty of variation in backgrounds and settings. The soundtrack is good, but it won’t blow you away. It does an adequate job of helping set the atmosphere for different zones in Harbor Prime.
By far the most strange part of the audio experience is the voice acting. Some characters sound authentic and like the voice actor tried. Others sound like Bob from accounting offering Dex a quest. All of the characters have voice acting, which isn’t always a good thing.
There is a lot to like about Dex, despite a few hiccups. The world of Harbor Prime unfolds beautifully, providing a hackers paradise of problems to solve.
The music and soundtrack are serviceable, despite some characters with stiff delivery. Most of the side quests are worth doing thanks to being well written if a little trope-y.
Dex Switch Review – Port Quality
The Switch port of the game does have a few issues that are worth noting. The font is atrociously small in handheld mode. I wear glasses and don’t have good eye-sight in general, but this text is tiny. If you had complaints about the font size in Fire Emblem: Three Houses, Dex puts its font size to shame.
I also experienced a few stutters and bugs, but nothing major. One example is being unable to pick up items after loading a save. Reloading the same save seems to have fixed the issue. Overall, the Switch port seems to be pretty good.
TL/DR – Dex Switch Review
Dex feels like playing a 2D Deus Ex game, with an interesting cyberpunk world to explore. The world is worth exploring for fans of cyberpunk games. The hacking segments get a little boring but become trivially easy as you upgrade Dex’s skills.
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