I wish Flashback was truly, insultingly bad. At least if it was awful I could be angry about it, but it isn't, it just exists, and there's very little compelling about it to make you feel excited about playing it. Flashback is the most boring game I've played all year, and I don't want to play it anymore.
This remake's biggest sin is that it enforces no feelings whatsoever. You're placed in a lifeless, sterile world with stilted voice acting – lead dullard, Conrad is especially bad - and a handful of admittedly varied looking environments that scream ‘Unreal 3' to the shiny heavens.
The story is serviceable, and it has its fair share of mystery, but the execution is all off. There's a leveling system that feels tacked on, a shooting mechanic that works but never feels precise or satisfying, objectives that often boil down to unimaginative fetch quests, and an apparent misunderstanding of what made the original game great.
Flashback has been made more accessible, which goes some way to make it more appealing to the wider audience, but this takes away from the toughness that made the original so appealing to hardcore fans – the exact people this remake should be aimed at. The precision required, something that made the first game so challenging, is completely different here, and it is frustrating rather than gratifying. Enemies are varied, but the ways in which you dispose of them aren't, making the lengthy 6-hour adventure a chore.
A saving grace is the included 1992 original, but even that feels weird, encased in this arcade-style screen rather than being a full-screen experience. Flashback was never an arcade game, so I have no idea why this is featured. It's a shame that such a revered classic has received such a soulless re-imagining, especially considering the people involved. It's never awful, but its lack of personality is almost worse than being all-out dire.
Version Tested: Xbox 360.
Played for approximately 7 hours