More vania than shooter

It truly is the best time to be gaming. It feels like we are getting both new and old experiences cleaned up for the new generations of consoles. Among the pioneers of the latter are Nightdive Studios, who as of late have been on a role of transferring classic games from the PSOne era into the next generation. Their latest title PowerSlave Exhumed is definitely out of left field, but no less impressive. This FPS which originally appeared on PlayStation, Saturn, and PC is one of the more unique for its time. Blending standard FPS fare with layered progression ala Metroid into the mix. Their port is a sight to behold combining all of the original versions into one master package.

PowerSlave Exhumed is one of Nightdive’s most interesting titles. Instead of remastering one version, there is a little bit of them all in here. The game was originally released on PC and was much more linear than the console versions. For this outing though the team has focused on the more open-ended structure while also combining the best aspects from both ports. The layout and level designs are a mix of both the Saturn and PlayStation versions complete with updated resolution and texture passes. The UI has been expanded alongside the game to work in widescreen format.

MSRP: $19.99
Platforms: Xbox (reviewed), PlayStation, Switch, PC
Price I’d Pay: $19.99

We also get the usual Nightdive treatment as far as options go with the ability to tweak every aspect of the controls and even graphics options to make this the most complete version of the game to date. It really is impressive the amount of time and effort that goes into their games. They painstakingly take every detail and enhance it in some form or fashion. For those of us familiar with the game it is a breath of fresh air to an already outstanding title. For newcomers it is a welcoming introduction to a forgotten gem. Fans of the genre being dubbed “boomer shooter” should not hesitate to pick this one up.

Digging into what makes PowerSlave unique is the fun part though. This is a game that ditches some standard fare of the genre in place of unusual mechanics. For example health and ammo are dictated by bars as opposed to counters. These can also be powered up by collecting orbs in the world. The game has levels, but they are multi-tiered. As I progressed through the game I would discover new abilities that would open up areas of past levels and new exits to new levels. It really works here. Revisiting levels with new abilities creates new encounters and it is all woven so perfectly. This is a unique game that screenshots simply don’t tell the full story.

In my play time the performance was outstanding. Nightdive are the kings of optimization. The game runs beautifully on my Series X without nary a hitch in frame rate. The new visuals keep that distinct look while also adding a coat of updated shine. The designs in the game are fantastic and I was rarely in a position of repeated areas. This is one unique game that kind of came and went and I love that we are able to revisit it with so much care put into the port.

PowerSlave Exhumed is yet another outstanding port from a team with a genuine love of games from that era. I cannot wait to see what they deliver next and if you have not checked out their previous work, Turok 1 and 2, ShadowMan, Blood (please put out a console port!), and so many more are just begging to be revisited. This team continues to deliver with every game they put out and I am ecstatic for what they decide to bring next.

Review copy of game provided by publisher.

  • Enhancements are second-to-none
  • Combines both versions perfectly
  • Truly a hidden gem
  • My settings don't always save
Written by
Ken is the Editor-in-Chief of this hole in the wall and he loves to troll for the fun of it. He also enjoys long walks through Arkham Asylum and the cool air of Shadow Moses Island. His turn-ons include Mortal Kombat, Metal Gear Solid and StarCraft.