Gemini: Heroes Reborn
The original Heroes was one of the hottest shows on TV when it premiered nearly a decade ago. The Emmy-nominated drama successfully translated comic-book storytelling into a mainstream, television presentation that even viewers who had never stepped foot into a comic store could enjoy. Despite its premise and popularity, Heroes is surprisingly underrepresented in the gaming space. A Ubisoft published, last-gen console title was canned during production, and Gameloft released a small mobile title in 2007. With the current superhero boom and a franchise revival in Heroes: Reborn, NBC and publisher Imperative Interactive see an opportunity to finally give fans the big console Heroes experience they’ve been waiting for with Gemini: Heroes Reborn.
Gemini: Heroes Reborn’s gameplay blends first-person exploration with supernatural abilities. Players control Cassandra (sister of Dahlia from the show) who boasts the dual abilities of telekinesis and time manipulation. The former power acts as Cassandra’s primary form of offense; taking down foes typically involves telekinetically chucking boxes and other objects at them, but you can also seize control of them directly. Players can use enemies as human shields or toss them into environmental hazards such as exposed circuit breakers or ventilation pipes.
Cassandra’s time travel power offers the most intriguing gameplay. Players can jump between two time periods: 2015 and 2009. Players can also open gateways that allow them to peek into the alternate era without actually teleporting there. These portals function like one-way windows. It’s a neat effect, vaguely reminiscent of Elizabeth’s tears in Bioshock Infinite. This mechanic plays a large role in exploration, puzzle-solving, and combat.
The demo we watched took place in the ruins of an abandoned Renautas facility, a dilapidated heap in 2015 that was thriving five years prior. Viewing the alternate time period through a portal lets players scout the level, monitor personnel movement, and take note of the building’s original layout. This is important, as areas inaccessible in one time might be reachable in the other.
We see one example of this when Cassandra encounters a locked door while exploring the Renautas building in 2009. In 2015, there’s a massive hole where this door once stood, but the platform beneath it has fallen to ruin. To proceed, Cassandra makes a run for the door and, at the last second, jumps into the future, allowing her momentum to carry her into the room.
Cassandra can also escape combat situations by switching timelines and waiting until the alert dies down. Additionally, objects and people can be moved from one era to the other, a feature the developer promises will play a prominent role in Gemini’s environmental puzzle-solving.
You can also slow time down to a crawl – a nifty ability for dodging enemy attacks and repositioning herself at better vantage points. It’d be easy for players to lean too heavily on such powers, though, which is why enemies will eventually don special suits that make them immune to specific abilities. Cloaks, for example, are an enemy type unaffected by the slowing of time, while another heavily-armored class is resistant to telekinesis. As the game progress, players are forced to adapt to increasingly difficult odds and mix up their strategies.
In addition to her superpowers, a pair of smart glasses adds another tool to Cassandra’s repertoire. The Google Glass-like eyewear provides a HUD displaying information on the environment as well as a chat window for reading conversations between Cassandra and other characters.
Gemini’s story was penned by many of the principal writers of Heroes: Reborn. Since the script was written prior to the show’s narrative, fans may notice certain seeds planted in Gemini that have grown to fruition in the show. A companion mobile title, Heroes Reborn: Enigma, is available now and shares strong narrative threads with Gemini.
Gemini: Heroes Reborn releases on January 12 for Xbox One and Steam and on January 19 for PS4. It'll be for sale digitally for $15.00.