Adrenaline Game Review: An insane, high-octane, shoot-’em-up game

Best Moment

My boy and I took over the family room on a relaxing Sunday afternoon. After an intense back-and-forth throughout the game, he had sneakily built up his Dozer Overload, poked his head through a door and blasted away my Echo with his Scrapshot for the big win against Dad. Yes, I tackled him scattering the game all over the room. =-)

Gameplay Overview

Kill or be killed. Gather weapons, ammo, and supplies to strategically take out your opponents. Got taken out? Respawn and jump back into the fray. This first-person-shooter style game is a wild ride from start to finish!

Quick Thoughts

I would put Adrenaline in the top five games I’ve ever played which relentlessly sucks you into the moment. It’s virtually impossible to not picture yourself racing through a tight corridor, sneaking a peak around a corner into a room, and torching your opponents with the Furnace weapon. I challenge you to not gesticulate and make battle sound effects during your turn! It’s one of those games which pulls you into a time vortex where time becomes irrelevant and meaningless.

There is a LOT going on in this game. It was a little overwhelming the first couple of playthroughs, but it is well worth it! Be prepared to refer often to one of the several rulebooks throughout your first few games. Once you get those small nuances down though, it’s a smooth playthrough. You’ll quickly get to the point where you wonder, “Why in the world did this seem so complex a few gameplays ago?” Right now, I would rate this as a light to mid-weight complexity game, but it sure seemed higher first starting off.

I can’t stand when games have loose ends or undefined consequences of an action. Working in IT, I very much understand the importance of testing. It is glaringly evident that Adrenaline was tested over and over and over again. While there is a lot to it, there are no holes. It is polished and solid. Not once was I unable to find a particular rule, sub-rule, or consequence. And in an FPS game like this, that’s hard to do!

The Adrenaline DLC expansion is awesome! We only play with it now. Each character from the original game gets unique, character-bound abilities and weapons. I normally prefer expansions which don’t completely take over the original game, but this one does, and it’s awesome! At the end of each character’s turn, he/she gets to take a special ability such as Banshee’s mind control (take over another player!), Sprog’s venom (slowly poison your opponents!), and Echo’s ammo hack (I dare you to find out what happens when you step on a hacked ammo tile!).

Tips & Tricks

  • As I would imagine is the case in real world combat, pre-planned strategy can only take you so far. Once you’re in the thick of things, take advantage of what you have available (e.g., positioning, weapons, equipment, the map itself, etc.). You can paint yourself into a corner trying to force a strategy that worked well for you last game.
  • When learning, I suggest looking up the digital copies of the rulebooks so you can use search instead of flipping through the pages to find a particular nuance or sub-rule.

Scoring & Wrap-up

Overall, as a mid- to heavy-weight first person shooter game, I give Adrenaline a very high 8.5 out of 10 (between “Very good – enjoy playing and would suggest it” and “Excellent – always enjoy playing it” on BGG’s scale) for the following reasons:

Promoters

  • Relentlessly sucks you into the theme and action
  • Super fun variety of weapons
  • Incredible DLC expansion with character-tied abilities and weapons
  • Engaging artwork with brilliant colors

Detractors

  • As mentioned above, there is a lot to this game. To help with this, it seems like the rulebooks could be consolidated or grouped differently to allow for better finding. I found myself not knowing which rulebook to turn to for a particular question.
  • The DLC damage counter “flushing” doesn’t make sense for me. I wish the damage process stayed the same between the original game and the DLC.

If you, your kids, or your grandkids enjoy first person shooter video games, they are sure to enjoy Adrenaline. It gives the exact same adrenaline-inducing thrill (see what I did there?) with many of the same components and mechanics. Make sure the players can pick up on fairly complex mechanics upfront, then hold on for a wild ride!


Disclaimer: I received this game for free in exchange for my review, but believe me, I post authentic reviews every time and will be brazenly blunt if needs be.

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