Review: PO'ed Definitive Edition

3DO? 3PO'ed, more like. Nightdive brings back another... classic?

Nightdive Studios have already put out some rather esoteric re-releases - hi there, Rise of the Triad - but with this re-issue of forgotten 1995 3DO first-person shooter PO'ed, the barrel is officially being scraped. And that's not a bad thing; the more obscure the better, I say. It's wild to think we as gamers have access to so many classic "boomer shooters, what with the ludicrous Killing Time next up on the Nightdive docket.

Taking control of a furiously space-stranded chef, you must use your arsenal of culinary ordnance to fight off swarms of absolutely ludicrous aliens that often look like giant wobbly arses on legs - the absolute spit of Retronauts presenter Stuart Gipp, in fact. Hey! I resent that thing I just wrote! Still, the enemies here really do look ridiculous and somewhat far from threatening, but that shouldn't stop you basting them. I mean wasting them.

Cutting to the chase, then, PO'ed is the sort of thing you've now seen many many times from the boomer shooter revival, but with vastly more open levels. Your freedom to move around, including the acquisition of a Duke Nukem 3D style jetpack, is genuinely quite impressive and liberating. The stages initially seem like Serious Sam arenas, enormous multi-story spaces full of monsters to kill and items to pick up. But it quickly becomes all too clear that the level design is surprisingly intricate, requiring some rather obtuse and unintuitive play in order to proceed. This will resonate with the kind of gamer who enjoys searching out every secret, but will frustrate the more casual player - though I don't see less versed audiences picking up PO'ed: Definitive Edition in the first place, given that the game's reputation is not exactly sparkling.

In fact, it's the same story as with something like Star Wars: Dark Forces, though that game is superior; this is a very good remaster of a game that unfortunately isn't all that much to write home about in the first place. I would anticipate most players will give up on the early level "Sponge", unable to find the exit which is behind an untelegraphed and in no way unusual wall that simply happens to be fake. Now, I love stuff like this, because I'm a silly old Spectrum sod, but the odds are you won't. There are a number of enhancements with PO'ed: Definitive Edition to make it a far superior game to its original incarnation, but there's only so much you can polish a... well, you know.

Still, there is fun to be had here, especially in the later stages that'll see you blasting around all over the place with you jetpack, annihilating hundreds of enemies, but no matter how hard you scrub it, PO'ed at 144fps in 4K is still PO'ed. I'd recommend giving it a look on sale to appreciate its rustic small dev team charms, because it's quite clear this hot mess is a labour of love. I'd make some sort of cooking joke here, but I'm actually a bit tired. Bemuse-bouche? Does that work? H'ors D'Awful? That's too far. Make up your own ending bit, I'm away to get my dinner. Ah, see, that's thematically relevant! Saved once again by the fact I can't stop eating.