There are constantly different takes on the FPS genre being attempted every game release cycle. Many have the fundamentals down, with solid gunplay and controls being relatively smooth and easy to adapt to. The differences come in the gimmicks, and even then there’s a lot of mimicry due to understanding what people enjoy playing and tweaking that experience on a per-title basis. Lemnis Gate takes a lot of different concepts and adds an incredibly weird twist to them and looks to immediately be competitive. While the focus on PVP is befitting of the type of title it is, the amount of time it takes to get invested in this title will make much of the intended audience shy away from it.
It isn’t often when I’m actively confused about a game mechanic going into games with the amount of time I’ve spent behind a controller or keyboard. Lemnis Gate has the honor of being the first title in a very long time to not only confuse me, but make me replay through the tutorials multiple times. Lemnis Gate is a strategic character shooter with 1v1 and 2v2 game modes, and different maps with different objectives. This is an incredibly varied scope of play for the type of game it is, which I can only really attempt to explain. Either simultaneously or in a turn-based fashion, players select and deploy characters to play the map’s objective (seek and destroy, capture resources, etc) and look to complete that objective in 25 seconds. Every 25 seconds, the players are reset to the start of the time loop, and deploy another character to either assist the first or to hinder the enemy team. This is repeated for a series of rounds until there is a winner, and then the game goes to a second phase. The setup phase every 25 seconds sees the player controlling a drone and able to get an aerial view of the battlefield, along with where the enemy team is in order to plan for the next loop. Once characters are deployed, it becomes a standard FPS character shooter a-la Rainbow Six with each character having a different skill and weapon type. Of course the familiarity comes with the shooter part, if players are playing simultaneously then you’re bound to have a gunfight. If the match is turn based it’s more about strategically picking off the enemy team and claiming the objective. There’s the added element of friendly fire as well, so if you move erratically and try to shoot near your character on the next loop, there’s the chance you mess up your own plan. It’s a lot to take in, but there are some nice elements as well.
The level design and stage variety is incredible for a game of this size and for the presented objectives. Each stage not only feels unique, but has a distinct visual look that ensures gameplay won’t get boring during long sessions. Unfortunately, I ended up in the same two stages for most of my gameplay. Solitude saw the most play, and it’s quite bland compared to some of the other maps. Each map also feels tailored towards the 25 second gameplay loop, so it’s not like you need to reach in order to complete an objective. The layers of strategy come in when you’re on the subsequent characters, ensuring your primary plan goes through. The sound design and overall gunplay are good too, I can’t really say it’s remarkable or anything. It feels like a normal character shooter with a little less character identity due to only being able to play in bursts of 25 seconds. There’s a different weapon and different secondary skill for each character and that’s it. It’s all it needs to be; these are not characters intended for long firefights or distinguishing characteristics to hear through walls or anything like that.
As I played more of Lemnis Gate, I couldn’t help but think about the concept of it. Strategic shooters are not new, and character shooters aren’t either. The combination of both along with a time-loop mechanic just felt like too much of a mishmash to process even in multiple long play sittings. This is definitely a title I feel is cool conceptually but in practice fails to grip me as a player. There’s a target audience for this somewhere: a strategic mastermind with the aim of a Call of Duty pro. I don’t think this game will find its mark with many people, and truthfully it’s a shame. A lot of effort must have gone into the balance and execution of the time loop mechanic, but I don’t feel like this is the avenue to have pushed it through. While a novel concept, Lemnis Gate’s skill curve will push many away before being able to experience the more strategic and thrilling bits of gameplay it has to offer.
Score: 7 out of 10
Reviewed on Windows PC