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PO'ed: Definitive Edition Review

PO'ed: Definitive Edition Review

PO'ed: Definitive Edition is a remaster of a 1995 first-person shooter originally developed by Any Channel, now released thanks to Nightdive Studios. As someone born in 1999, I had no idea that this game existed. Hell, I've seen so many Doom send-ups over the years, I thought this was just another one of those games that tried to recreate the feeling of ‘90s-style gameplay, but nope! This is original (well, as original as a Doom clone can be), so let’s see if this game has what it takes to stand among the classics.

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Ox and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

You play as Chef Ox, a man who ends up getting himself trapped on an alien world. Since he doesn’t like dying, he’s gonna have to kill his way out with nothing but a frying pan and whatever guns he manages to pick up on his way out. The story is… well, insert John Carmack’s quote about stories in games here. It’s not important in the slightest. As an aside: did you know he said that to Tom Hall, the guy who wrote The Doom Bible? That’s messed up. Anyways, the game’s story boils down to “just go kill stuff and find the exit”, no need for anything else.

Now, there’s not much need to describe the basic running-and-gunning and weapon progression other than it is pretty good (although movement is pretty slippery). If you’ve played anything related to any ‘90s FPS, you should already be aware of some of the mechanics, so let’s talk about some cooler features like the jetpack. The levels you have to go through are vast, both horizontally and vertically, so it’s a good thing that you get it early. It feels just right, and while it is limited by its fuel (which is shared by the flamethrower), it’s not much of a big deal just flying around, blasting enemies in the face (if they have one). Something that genuinely shocked me is that the game allows you to aim with motion controls. That’s right, if you’re using a controller with a gyroscope in it, moving it will allow for more precise aiming a la Splatoon. This is nice to have across all versions.

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Walking asses and edible demons. Yep, that's a videogame thing.

That being said, enemies are a serious pain to deal with. Even if you’re doing your best to stay on the move, you’re gonna be taking tons of damage. The ranged enemies can pretty much snipe you from across the room. Although, you can do the same even with a dinky little blaster. It’s only really mitigated by having a large health bar and tons of health pickups, but that doesn’t quite fix the problems present here, which extends to the level designs. You get a map to help you, but for someone not used to dealing with ‘90s gameplay design, you will get frustrated if you get lost because the path to progression is hidden behind fake walls. There are people who will definitely like the unconventional levels, but it’s not for me, personally.

As for other things I noticed… it’s actually about the lack of something: background music. There is some music present, but only in certain areas. I think it’s diegetic or it is some sort of secret-level hint. When there’s nothing to listen to once all the enemies are dead, it can make backtracking to find secrets and supplies sort of boring. Also, some of the textures are just flat colours, sometimes just flashing through the colour wheel. It can make navigating pretty hard when you’re not sure if you’re looking at the floor or a bottomless pit, at least the first time around.

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What's better than chainsaws? Drills!

After doing some research after my playtime, I can see why PO'ed was pretty polarising back in the day. It has good ideas, it’s just that they aren’t executed in the best way. However, PO'ed: Definitive Edition is a very nice remaster and the best way to play such an obscure game, with quality of life features and running very well on a modern PC. I’m sure players of the original will appreciate it, there is some fun to be had here, and it does get better as you obtain more weapons and some upgrades. In summary, it’s a great remaster for a not-so-great game but fans will love it, regardless.

5.00/10 5

PO'ed: Definitive Edition (Reviewed on Windows)

The game is average, with an even mix of positives and negatives.

PO'ed: Definitive Edition is a great remaster for a not-so-great game. Nightdive Studios has done a wonderful job and fans of the original will definitely enjoy it… but for newcomers, PO’ed is kind of obscure for a reason.

This game was supplied by the publisher or relevant PR company for the purposes of review
Dylan Pamintuan

Dylan Pamintuan

Staff Writer

An Australian-born guy whose trying to show everyone why games are awesome.

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