Impressions: Hydrophobia Prophecy

By John Walker on May 12th, 2011 at 12:31 am.

I think she's just being electrocuted.

Dark Energy have rejigged their infamous Hydrophobia game once more, releasing it for PC at an extremely cheap price for a full length game: £9. This is an Impressions, rather than a Wot I Think, because I’m my own editor, and there’s no one in enough authority to force me to carry on past the first four or so hours. It’s safe to say I haven’t enjoyed my time in Hydrophobia‘s watery future world of terrorists vs. dryness. You can find out why below.

In PC Land we’re used to being treated poorly. But it never stings more than after someone makes a giant fuss about how they’ve worked extra hard on a PC version. The first thing you’ll notice about the overhauled Hydrophobia: Prophecy is that the PC porting is a mess. When video settings appeared before the game launched, I was quietly impressed – I’m always up for setting my resolution before I launch. But then of course I realised this is because there are no video settings inside the game at all. They didn’t bother with that. Having navigated my way to the non-existent video settings (you can adjust gamma) with my mouse, I was then perhaps not exactly unsurprised to learn that to get back out of this menu, I’d now need to switch to the keyboard, via to the two keys they’d clumsily plonked over where once there were Xbox buttons. Yes, none of this is especially outstanding in the world of console-to-PC transitions, but it stinks that little bit more potently after you’ve been told the game has been enhanced for the desktop box.

But this gets much worse. Start the game and the first thing you can do is look at some sleeping pills on a table, by hitting E. Once looked at, the only way to zoom in on the object is to press Enter. You can’t just mouse click on the option for Enter. You have to grow that third hand to navigate the menus, because this game is absolutely not optimised for the PC.

My first task is to pick up my MAVI – a personal computer thing. Which becomes entertaining, since it turns out the thing by which I viewed those sleeping pills was my MAVI, which I’d yet to pick up. I’d go back to screenshot it, but I can’t, because starting a new game would overwrite my progress, because this isn’t optimised for PC.

But the larger problem here is that the game is running like a dog on a PC that breezes through Crysis 2 at the highest settings. I’ll need to fiddle with some of the settings, see if I can get rid of the jerkiness. Except of course I can’t, because this game isn’t optimised for PC. I have to quit the game, guess at changing the settings, restart it, over and over until I can find the issue. OH GOOD.

However, giving up with the mouse and keyboard, and resorting to the 360 pad it clearly wants, reveals a genuinely decent feature. It live changes the on screen prompts for input, without a need for changing a setting. Hit the keyboard, or the pad, and it promptly changes the instructions accordingly. That’s something many other games could do with copying.

But how about the game?

It’s horrible. It’s weirdly horrible. The whole game appears to have been designed with a sense of contempt. It hits so many of the most obvious frustrations – random deaths, dodgy jumping, invisible barriers, bad checkpoints, no saves, shoddy combat, crappy interface, and inane story – that it’s hard not to take it personally.

The key gimmick here is the water in the levels, and there are absolutely no grounds to take anything away from the quality of the wet. The water effects are remarkable, swells and waves washing down corridors, buffeting you around, bursting through doors, and gradually rising in rooms in a way that usually looks very awkward in most games. And it keeps impressing, even later on when I wouldn’t be too upset if the game caught on fire – it’s a genuine achievement.

But then there’s that thing about how annoying water sections are in any game. This whole game is that annoying section. You’re only ever running down identikit dull corridors, except in this game with the constant frustration of having to wade or swim to get to the only unlocked door. For the first hour or so this sogginess is tolerable, the game focusing mostly on climbing and crude acrobatics to negotiate. But then you stumble upon your first gun, and the whole thing becomes just miserable.

The shooter mechanics are a giant mess. Enemies have psychic precision, while you are a lumbering idiot, armed with a weapon that fires at a leaden pace. But being precise isn’t even relevant. Often enemies will employ their prescience to dive out of the way as soon as you fire a pulse toward them, it safely flying over them, and then die anyway. Other times you can repeatedly shoot someone point-blank in the face and they’ll not react at all. It completely falls apart should you stand too near an enemy, where a lack of a melee attack and apparently no effect from your weapon, means you’ll just die. Fallen enemies will lie on the ground, their ragdolls hopelessly twitching, and then a few seconds later miraculously heal and stand back up again. Huh? (You eventually realise it’s because they’re only stunned, needing to be shot twice to truly die, which is about infinity frustrating.)

But it doesn’t wait until the shooting to make you annoyed. All you’re ever tasked with doing is running toward the next checkpoint. For this, there are two modes in the game’s settings. You can have it show you the next checkpoint on your HUD, or have it be restricted to the map you carry with you. I chose to have it switched off, since the instructions explained this was best for those who enjoy exploring. That’s me! It turns out they meant for those who enjoy not having the faintest idea what to do at any point, and like walking/swimming in miserable circles because they haven’t spotted the invisible writing on a wall.

The game’s misdirection seems misanthropic at times. One very early area has you climb an elevator shaft. There are pipes on the wall which you can ascend via the game’s simple point-to-climb system. Midway up you’ll grab the broken ladder, and see a short cutaway of the lift above you sliding slightly. There are more pipes on the next wall, so you climb those, reach back for the ladder once more, and the elevator car falls on you and you die. Oh. So you try again, this time more quickly. Nope – the falling seems to be triggered by grabbing the ladder. So maybe I jump from it at the last moment? No, still dead. So what if I climb higher? I can’t, and the lift falls anyway, and I still die. So it turns out what I was meant to do was break my neck by looking behind me midway up and notice the grey elevator doors, rather than climb up the bright red pipes in my immediate view. It appears to be deliberately designed to be as annoying as possible.

So instead I switched on the waypoints, sick of standing in identical blue/grey rooms not knowing or caring which way I’m supposed to go next. But now it’s just a case of following the yellow dot until the next thing happens, and the utter shallowness of the game is revealed.

All the way along the first couple of hours you’re plagued by cutscenes. With almost comic frequency they take control away from you, then having something interesting happen. All the hoary old mistakes appear here, with your character, Kate, able to do an exciting wall jump that isn’t available for you when you’re playing, along with Kate making decisions against your wishes that lead to further scrapes. They’re so frequent that when I ran through one doorway and a cutscene didn’t happen I felt disorientated. “What, nothing?” I asked the monitor as I moved Kate forward. Oh, no, it’s fine – it was just waiting for one more step this time. These do slow down eventually, but of course continue to interrupt any time things feel like they’re flowing.

There’s a group of terrorists who have decided that the solution to the overpopulation of the world is to kill everyone. Which is entirely logical, if a slightly more militant branch of VHEMT. But for some reason we’re against this, and want to put a stop to it, whoever the heck we’re supposed to be. We’re on a boat, of apparently infinite size, which these badduns seem to want to take over and blow up. So there’s the requisite voice in your head who talks inanely to you throughout. There’s nothing wrong with the voice acting. Kate’s accent seems to swim from American to English to Irish, but none is offensive. The guy, whose name I really don’t care about – it’s something like Plops, or Scooch – is the voice of all voice-in-your-ear games, and again does a perfectly decent job. It’s just that he’s saying lines like,

“Kate, I’ve got two balls and neither of them are crystal.”

Which is why I would like him to SHUT UP. But he’s there to tell me which computer to press X on, and then which door to press X on, and then to switch on my MAVI, point it at something, and press X. Then to press X on something.

Along the way there’s the incredible joy of finding you’re wasting the game’s precious few real bullets on hitting scenery, despite the enemy being clearly in your reticule without obstruction. And the mad happiness that accompanies running down an empty corridor and being instantly killed because of surprise gas vents in the walls. It’s like they thought, “What haven’t we gotten wrong yet?… Wait! Random, unpredictable deaths! Quick, add in as many as you can!”

Right now, as I pause to write more, Kate is stood in the forty-seven thousandth corridor with burning gas tanks spurting fire in front of her, some of them taking periodic breaks for Kate to nip through, just like gas always does. But the last one seems to just burn non-stop. “Great,” says my ever-present commercial-voiceover audible companion. “Looks like the gas build up triggered a chain reaction.” No, it looks like you’ve put yet another block in front of my soulless goal of running through the next door. Kate’s surrounded by pipes on the walls, but these aren’t the sort she can climb for some reason. So what do I do n… Oh, but it turns out the gas pipe was just taking ages to draw breath. So on I go.

Then, slightly later, there’s an area where it just decides to take the waypoints away. They’re gone from the HUD, they’re gone from the map, and I’m left with a vast, flooded area of corridors and chambers to swim around, with no idea why, and absolutely no desire to find out. The camera jerks around, suddenly changing angle so I lose track of where I’m going, while I’m being shot at by some assailant dressed in the same grey as the walls, obscured by fire and furniture and walls, but able to shoot at me with pinpoint precision, and I’m just done. I prefer to see a game through to the end before writing about it, but I’m also still in my 30s, I have hopes, dreams, things to do.

Please don't actually kill yourself.

And on a more personal level, there’s only so much time of my life I want to spend with a game that has the words “KILL YOURSELF” written across all its walls and video screens. I’m not contemplating suicide, I’m quite content with life and plan to continue living it, but I find myself to be a little bothered by this instruction everywhere I look. Sure, it’s the philosophy of the terrorists you’re ostensibly fighting against (by, er, killing them all – it’s surely what they want?), but it’s also a really quite stunningly grim sentence to read every minute.

This isn’t a review, because by golly it might suddenly step up and become just astonishing. I certainly haven’t reached the game’s big gimmick of water control. Something they might have wanted to put in a little earlier. Someone let me know if it does get dramatically better. So this is my account of the first few hours of I don’t know how many more, and I didn’t exactly have fun.

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190 Comments »

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  1. Hunam says:

    The devs will be here in 10 minutes for damage control.

    • smi1ey says:

      Yeah considering how creepily present they were with the last write-up, I’m waiting for the posts to start coming… in reply to every. single. comment. O_o

    • Eukatheude says:

      :)

    • CMaster says:

      Hey, having the devs get involved is good. I wouldn’t say it was creepy last time, just well, enthusiastic. Of course, replying to every comment somebody makes on an article about your game is a dangerous first step down the road to becoming Derek Smart, but hey, they should at least know what to look out for.

    • Hunam says:

      No, it was definitely creepy.

    • Olivaw says:

      Nah, it’s not. It’s defensive, sure, and maybe a little douchey if they get mean or offended, but it’s not “creepy.”

      I don’t think you actually know what that word means!

    • Malawi Frontier Guard says:

      What are you talking about? :)

    • Premium User Badge

      blind_boy_grunt says:

      well you can go to the hydrophobia tag and read for yourself. I did. Before reading the comments to that older post i thought that “creepy” surely must be hyperbole. But creepy is actuallly what it is. They pretty much answered to everything, grinning. Everytime grinning, trying to show you that they are cool people, down with us, they like us, they are not threatening, that they are not obsessed with you. With YOU, Malawi Frontier Guard. They were in the neighbourhood, they just cruised by to see how you are doing. For the sixth time in two hours. You get a little nervous. But you think, well it was just one post about their game, they can’t think it meant that much, could they? No, but why do you see them all the time in the corner of your eyes, you must be going crazy. Yeah it’s been a stressful day, just relax, perhaps take a bath. Everything is ok. But why is the front door open? You know you closed it…

      edit: man, i must have read your comment before reading the other article. Your smiley just didn’t register… ’twas a simpler time.

    • Malawi Frontier Guard says:

      Don’t worry, you did just fine.

  2. WASD says:

    John, maybe “You’re playing the game wrong.” http://www.destructoid.com/the-jimquisition-you-re-playing-the-game-wrong–185340.phtml

    Hydrophobia devs: John, the random deaths, dodgy jumping, bad checkpoints, no saves, shoddy combat, crappy interface, and inane story are all part of the experience. It’s not the game John. It’s you.

    :)

    • FunkyJ says:

      Holy shit, that’s hilarious! Thanks for sharing.

      I wish I got this kind of feedback on my reviews. At least I’d know people were reading them! :)

      As a Game Dev I know how they feel, and sincerely understand their pain at bad reviews, but honestly, you know when your game is going to suck, and if you don’t then you probably shouldn’t be making games in the first place.

      The best thing to do is learn from the experience and try and take control of the project more forcefully next time.

    • MattM says:

      Well sometimes professional reviewers are a bit out of step with a sizable portion of the gaming public especially those the game is targeting. Sometimes you get a reviewer who just doesn’t get the appeal of an entire genre and harps on elements that are popular with fans of that type of game.
      This disconnect comes up a lot when discussing game length and difficulty. Professional reviewers are under a deadline and almost all of them appreciate a game that compacts its self into eight or fewer hours. They also seem to be the kind of gamers that squeeze SP games into the space between many hours of MP gaming. In the message boards regular gamers seem much more split on the issue of game length. It seems like half the commenter prefer longer games for a variety of reasons.
      I feel like it is hard to really get in sync with a game shorter than eight hours. I have also played 20 hour games that would have been better if edited down to 13-15 hours (Doom 3) and 35 hour games that left me wanting more (S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 1 & 3).

    • Jumwa says:

      There is often a definite disconnect between reviewers and the bulk of people who play games on many issues. As the previous commenter pointed out, sometimes it’s just a genre issue, where a reviewer is tackling a genre they just don’t get.

      I can’t count the number of times a reviewer has brushed off the entire co-op part of a game (even in games that were obviously intended to be mainly a co-op affair, such as Borderlands) because they just weren’t interested in playing a game in that mode. I remember one reviewer of Fable 3 on the Escapist (Susan Arendt I believe) just brushed off all of co-op by saying she forced herself to play it with her significant other but got nothing more out of it than she got from single player so didn’t see the point of it. What’s that even mean? Is that a good thing? Because I adore fully integrated co-op that gives you all the options of the single-player game.

      With the bulk of the old gamer vanguard being introverted geeks playing along in their rooms, or playing in aggressive competitive online matches, I think there’s a definite disconnect between what many reviewers and “gamers” think of things like social gaming and what people actually playing them do as well.

  3. Outright Villainy says:

    Sounds fun!

    No wait, that other word… Oh yes: horrible.

    I was wondering what the hell this was, seeing as I’d only learnt of its existence yesterday, pretty mysterious for a game I’m seeing advertised pretty frequently now for some reason. And now the reason still eludes me!

  4. Premium User Badge

    steves says:

    “four or so hours”

    Really? That’s amount of time I’d notice passing if I was having fun!

    Truly, you play this shit so we don’t have to – cheers!

    Also, why does a game called ‘hydrophobia’ make the water look…good?

    • MadTinkerer says:

      I would imagine for the same reason a game called Xenophobia had (for the time) nicely drawn alien sprites.

      They’re determined to get one thing right, even if the rest of the game is substandard.

    • opel says:

      If you played the game you’d understand why it’s called Hydrophobia. Every time there’s water the camera and controls gets extremely finicky, you can’t spot enemies that can be firing at you from every direction, and you have no damn idea where you’re supposed to go while you drown. It’s a nightmare.

  5. MadTinkerer says:

    Well how is the water control power gimmick? You know: the game’s main selling point other than the water effects?

    Oh wait: they give it to you far too late in the game, don’t they? I would guess so, considering all the rest of their design missteps.

    • Alez says:

      Yes, they give you the power way too late. I actually thought it was the first power so that’s why it was shitty so i was waiting for better ones to come. No such luck.

    • Danorz says:

      far, far FAR too late. you get it for one puzzle involving moving three crates and then it’s final boss time. literally 5 minutes.

  6. Jimbo says:

    Hydrophobia? More like Achievemephobia!

    *up high*

  7. darthmajor says:

    Yes yes but, did you like it? :P

    (i did read it and he should be clearer about if it was any good. REALLY.)

    • johntheemo says:

      English isn’t my first language, so forgive my ignorance here, but doesn’t stating that something is horrible indicate something about whether or not it is good?

      Sometimes I wonder if I just constantly misunderstand things or if people are intentionally dense.

    • Unaco says:

      “Sometimes I wonder if I just constantly misunderstand things or if people are intentionally dense.”

      In this case, I believe it’s the former. He’s making a joke, ignoring the obvious by pretending to ignore the negative critique and general tone of the article.

    • johntheemo says:

      In that case, my sincere apologies to the OP. ;)

    • Lightbulb says:

      I read it too but I don’t understand. What’s the score out of 83?

      (For those who don’t know: no game can get 100 and no game can get lower than 16% so % scores are actually out of 83)

  8. Eukatheude says:

    Oh, i knew it. Hope they show up.

  9. abremms says:

    I wish I could disagree with you, John Walker. The game had a lot of potential, the water tech they developed is really impressive, but everything else more or less falls short. Its really disappointing too, because the mechanics of using the water against the terrorists could have been SO GOOD. the one time I actually managed to kill a terrorist by shooting out the glass behind him and washing him away was amazing! but it wasn’t something you could do nearly often enough.

    one thing I will say though, you said:

    ” Fallen enemies will lie on the ground, their ragdolls hopelessly twitching, and then a few seconds later miraculously heal and stand back up again. Huh?”

    If you are using the sonic ammo, the first charged shot (or two-three uncharged shots) only stuns them. its fun to stun them and watch them drown. the game doesn’t actually tell you this, of course. its hidden deep in the item info for the pistol in your MAVI.

  10. Unaco says:

    Enough with all the writing already. Just give us a score between 1 and 10.

    Sorry, 4 and 10.

    • John Walker says:

      SIXTY-FORTY-NINETEEN!

    • QualityJeverage says:

      EDIT: I made a snarky comment about how numerical reviews are stupid. Then I thought about it for more than 5 seconds and realized you were almost certainly joking. So, there.

    • Premium User Badge

      Man Raised by Puffins says:

      Well, at least it’s better than The Witcher 2.

    • Unaco says:

      What about colour coding then? Just a big solid block of colour to denote your opinion? Blue for bad, Red for good, through Green and Yellow?

    • The_B says:

      I’d give it Asbestos out of MDF.

    • FalseMyrmidon says:

      This review is later being sold to IGN so it’s a 8.9 overall.

    • RaytraceRat says:

      Scoring should be done in sRGB, from 0,0,0 to 255,255,255. This should give you scale wide enough to fit every opinion. Also different hues could indicate things, like blueish would mean that the game made you sad, or green that game made you sick.

    • Stranglove says:

      Damn you, Mr Rat. Now I want all my reviews in RGB. I’d give hydrophobia a blue, for wet.

    • MattM says:

      I like number scores. They force a reviewer to get specific on how well a game succeeds and provide a quick way to filter games for further inspection. Some written reviews equivocate a lot or fail to make it clear how much the described flaws really detract from the strength of the game. I wouldn’t buy a game on a number alone, but if the concept and description of gameplay appealed to me, then a bunch of 8.5-9.5s would convince me to play it sooner rather than later or never.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      “They force a reviewer to get specific on how well a game succeeds and provide a quick way to filter games for further inspection.”

      And the review becomes about the validity of an artbitrarily assigned number, rather than any actual analysis or description of the game.

      I agree that it’s a neat way of sorting through games quickly, and for the purposes of purely sifting through content it *is* useful. And it’s also a reason why things that might actually be perfect for you get overlooked. You ignore the 7 that, if you’d read closer, is actually a game you’d get a lot out of.

      There’s no solution to that, I know, but I’d rather be without numbers and work a little harder to find out what games are actually about.

    • RaytraceRat says:

      My problem with numbers is that they became meaningless now. If you take a look at Metacrtitic you can see that everything below 7 from a critic is considered a poor game. Its even worse with user scores – you get 1s or 10s mostly. When you read user reviews its often “I played this game for 20h, but I didn’t liked X, so I give it 0″ or “this game got loads of stuff wrong, but I liked it, so 10″. There is no sense of scale and proportions. Portal 2 and DA2 are quite good examples of that lately.

      @Stranglowe: Getting info only from this review, I would give it dark teal or dark aqua-blue (which is almost the same thing really).

    • MattM says:

      Yeah every game on gamefaqs user reviews gets a few 10s and a few 1s. I don’t really give those any weight, but if game is scoring below 60% on gamerankings I feel safe dismissing it. I think the odds of game in that range being the one that really does it for me are vanishingly small and I have enough pretty good games in my backlog that I don’t need to scour for something that is just ok.
      I also like the spoiler free nature of scores. I avoid screenshots, trailer videos, and in depth gameplay previews for most games then I skim written reviews to avoid spoilers. It makes the final game feel more fresh and surprising when I finally play it. However, I am not really campaigning for RPS to include scores if the reviewers don’t want to. I can get those from other places on the internet. Gamespot (Kane & Lynch controversy notwithstanding) has pretty good PC coverage on big titles and actually talks about the PC version like they played it instead of just playing the xbox version then booting up the PC version once.

    • pandora says:

      About number scores, anecdotal evidence. There is a well known (paper) gaming mag in Poland that’s well written (overall, exception below), looks great, gives several (often recently released and well known commercial titles) full-version games on cover disks and costs ~4 euros – except that I just can’t read most of its content and not be annoyed. Skipping over the many issues I have with their writing, there are also the scores, and their presence tends to have an impact on articles.

      Let’s look at their recent SpaceChem’s one-page review. It begins with a mention of Edge and it giving 9 to the game. Then comes a bit about story without explaining game mechanics in any sensible way. Some confused sighing without any real complains. Nothing about graphics or sounds. That’s it, folks, with a closing paragraph telling it is a 10-game for people who like puzzles and 2-game for people liking shooting. And the score box, iirc – 6/10 overall, with 8/10 gameplay, 4/10 graphics and same for sound (erm?).

      It was a review about numbers with every possible one mentioned and no clue whatsoever if game is good or what is it about, and apparently some of the numbers where put in there only because there was a blank, even thou reviewer knew it was meaningless.

  11. airtekh says:

    Hmm, disappointing.

    I was intruiged about Hydrophobia, but there’s nothing that turns me off a game more than a shoddy console to PC transition.

    • Bhazor says:

      I really liked the idea of a high concept action game where the only weapon was controlling water with full fluid physics to drown and wash away enemies. Mixed in with physics based puzzles.

      Really it lost half my interest when I saw the first gun. The other half went when I heard the water puzzles never really progress past “Turn the valve to drain the room to open the door.”

  12. Eukatheude says:

    Probably they’re gonna say that Walker is an emotional and primitive man.

  13. Alez says:

    haha damn, i also think this game is shit but considering you guys had an article announcing it and the devs being so active in the comments on that article, i thought you will let it down easy.

    The game is pretty decent until you get the only gun you will have, the pistol. Until that point it’s a cute little game that shows you fancy water physics. More like a tech demo but whatever, it’s still by FAR the best water i’ve ever seen in a game. The joy of flooding rooms by opening doors to flooded rooms or shooting windows that had water behind stayed with me until the end of the game.

    But when you get that pistol, all hell breaks loose. Shit damage, low fire rate, having to kill enemies twice because they get up the first time, cover system whack-a-mole combat….just absolutely boring and/or annoying. They should have learned from Portal how to make a game. You have a cool gimmick? Use that and don’t stick generic combat in it just for the hell of it.

    And the water power is pretty much boring. I thought i could pull a Moses and split the water or be able to freeze it or…something cool. But no, it’s basically levitating objects. The water doesn’t play much of a role. It could have easily been The Force as the excuse to levitate barrels and those at most 3 or so enemies you will encounter after you get it before the game ends.

    Funny side note. I didn’t finish the game. I stopped at what i thought was just a mini boss on the halfway mark of the game. I was just not having fun at all at that point so i quit. A friend of mine confirmed that that was actually the end boss. So the game is around 4 hours long i think.

    • abremms says:

      just think if they had given Kate a portal gun instead of an awkward pistol! that water tech could be crazy fun with portals.

    • Alez says:

      Or better yet, use the water from this game in portal. Either way is fine, just no more cover based shooting and carrying barrels around.

  14. QualityJeverage says:

    I tried the demo of Hydrophobia when it first came out on the Xbox 360, before they did their big update that supposedly “fixed” things. It was awful then and it sounds like it’s still awful now, which is unfortunate.

    I briefly considered buying the PC version, having heard their promises of seriously supporting the platform and fixing complaints with the original, but I’m glad I didn’t. This is, what, their third attempt at making this game any good? Call it a day guys, try something new.

  15. TotalBiscuit says:

    Ahh bollocks, I’ve got this schedule in for WTF is? tomorrow. Not looking forward to it now. MUST LIVE IN JOURNALISTIC VACUUM.

    • The_Great_Skratsby says:

      Tainted impressions! Dammit, where’s your integrity man.

    • Burning Man says:

      I LOOK FORWARD TO IT

      *rubs hands in glee*

    • Memphis-Ahn says:

      Can’t wait to see it, I’ll probably end up raging just as much as I did during the WTF is Tiny Bang Story.

    • Angry Engy says:

      I hope you shit all over it! That would fill me with sadistic glee! TEEHEE!!!

    • triple omega says:

      You should call it: “WTF? Why am I playing Hydrophobia?” or better yet, make a new series called “WTF am I doing to myself?”

  16. The_B says:

    The console version wasn’t much better, from what I played.

    And I’m not sure what the case is in this PC version, but in the XBox version you didn’t get the water manipulating ability until like, almost the last possible moment. In fact, I may be wrong but I don’t think the water manipulation things even came into play at all in the story, just in the Challenge Room mode where you had to just face off against waves of the baddies.

  17. DeepSleeper says:

    I’ve been kind of enjoying it, except for the slowness and lock-ups, but I’m in it mostly to admire the water effects.
    I will say that what you’ve got, unless you’re using any ammo besides “Sonic”, is a stun-gun, which is why dudes keep getting up. You can solve this by shooting them again on the ground until you see the score counter pop up a second time, in which event you’ve just gotten points for killing them properly.

    Alternately, swing your gun around looking for stuff that glows and is near an enemy, then shoot it to set them on fire, electrocute them, etc. I swear I’ve not seen this many deadly hazards laying around since Dark Messiah of Might and Magic.

    • colinmarc says:

      “Hm, let me just stand here between this spiky metal grate and a cliff, facing the opposite direction that the hero is coming from.”

    • DeepSleeper says:

      Pretty much that, except here it’s “Let me pick my way through this loosely stacked heap of exploding barrels, making sure to duck the sparking wires hanging precariously from the ceiling and leaning close to this exposed highly flammable gas vent.”

      And then just to be contrary I’ll stun-gun him, break some glass and flood the pathway he’s on, and then stand on the dude’s chest while he drowns, because I am a giant asshole.

    • Gnoupi says:

      I swear I’ve not seen this many deadly hazards laying around since Dark Messiah of Might and Magic.

      I take it you have not played Bulletstorm :-]

    • neems says:

      “And then just to be contrary I’ll stun-gun him, break some glass and flood the pathway he’s on, and then stand on the dude’s chest while he drowns, because I am a giant asshole.”

      My comment of the year so far. Thank you.

      Literally every time I read that I crack up.

  18. Rii says:

    /wince

    Sounds painful. One thing that surprises me is that the game is actually more than four hours long. It’s an interesting concept but I wouldn’t have imagined that you could build a full-length title around it.

  19. Cryotek says:

    I’ve been playing it for 3-4 hours so far, and enjoying it overall. Yes, it’s a pretty generic 3rd person action. No, it’s nothing ground-breaking. Yes, there are some annoyances.

    However, it’s TWELVE FREAKING DOLLARS. What do people expect from a cheap game from an indie developer? I swear, I am so sick of whiny players and reviewers who get off on bashing a game for being average. Is Hydrophobia a 10/10? No way… maybe a 7, especially if you consider the price tag. It’s certainly not a 3/10 as I’ve seen it rated elsewhere, though.

    It’s not spectacular, but there’s some fun to be had here and I’m happy with my purchase. Visually, it’s pretty nice, I actually think the fire and lighting effects are more impressive than the water. I’m curious what this developer could do for their next project, as they seem to have taken the criticisms of Hydrophobia to heart, despite acting obnoxious about things at first.

    • johntheemo says:

      There are also games with the same price tag, or one that is slightly higher, that are exceptionally good. I also recall him saying that this isn’t a review, but his impressions on the game. Having played the game myself, I can safely say that I don’t find it to be average. There are certain deficiencies in the game that set it distinctly below that.

      It’s fine that you’re happy with your purchase, but your opinion isn’t, well, objective. Neither is the writer’s. It would be equally nonsensical for him to reply and say, “I am sick of sycophantic players and reviewers giving handjobs to everyone who makes a game and calls it indie.”

    • Cryotek says:

      I dunno, I might be biased because of other complaining I have seen lately. I’ve been particularly pissed at people complaining Sanctum doesn’t have enough “content.” Again, it’s $15, and you are complaining it doesn’t have as many maps as a $50 game? And I put 26 hours into that game so far, so I’m having trouble seeing how the content there isn’t sufficient.

      I guess I should also mention that I *don’t* play many 3rd person titles like this, so that makes it different for me from the start. Also means I have few games to compare it to, I’ve played no cover based shooters at all aside from Mass Effect 2.

    • Ergonomic Cat says:

      The “it’s only $12!” argument only goes so far, though. If I made a game for a penny, and it only kinda sucked, you could say something about it being 1/6000th the cost of a AAA game, and if it 6,000 times better, think how amazing it would be.
      But I’d still be spending my time playing a game that kinda sucks.
      Really, at this point in my life, time is my limit, far more than money. I have maybe 2-3 hours a night to play games if I’m lucky. When my limiter was money, I was far more forgiving of games that were cheap, and kinda good. Because I had plenty of time, and no money.
      I almost picked up Hydrophobia on the 360 when it was on sale, but the demo didn’t appeal to me, and the other choices were Monday Night Combat, Limbo, and Lara Croft: GoL, all of which were excellent games for the same cost.
      However, to your follow up point: I will soundly mock people who slam a $12 game for lacking Anti-blockinating Light Diffrusting technology, or not having 400 nearly identical multiplayer maps. If the game is good, and your only critique is “it’s too short” or “it lacks the newest buzzword” then you’re missing the point.

    • The_Great_Skratsby says:

      At that price point you’re comparing it to the lovely collection of other games pitched at a $12 price point.

      But I do think it’s great to see the developers being proactive about making it better, or salvaging, whichever way you would like to look at it, compared to biting back at journalists for their criticism directed at their darling child.

    • Rii says:

      The only content I need to see from Sanctum is an updated demo.

    • johntheemo says:

      I think Ergonomic Cat made my point much more succinctly and without the use of a dick joke! Well done.

    • Shadram says:

      The “it’s $12, it’s not supposed to be good!” argument doesn’t work when you have games like Minecraft and Magicka available for similar prices. And that’s ignoring older games, with which you could probably make a fairer comparison. Gears of War for your 3rd person shootering, or Beyond Good and Evil for your 3rd person stealthing and sleuthing, for example. A lower price doesn’t excuse poor implementation.

    • RaytraceRat says:

      I just bought Section8:Prejudice for about 12 freaking dollars (9 pounds or so) and its full of awesome.

    • -Spooky- says:

      Or pay nothing, play some open source games like Sorched 3D and have fun for hours (of course with friends and some drinks).

      Haters gonna hate, fo´sure.

    • MattM says:

      When it comes to games playtime is both a cost and a benefit. A low cost isn’t much of a consolation if the game wasn’t worth the time it took to play it.

  20. Moonracer says:

    I thought the game was quite good. Well, okay the combat and story were nothing amazing but for the price I thought it was worth it just for the water simulation demonstration (I really hope something like this water gets ported into the source engine). The gameplay is clumsy but I still enjoyed it and will probably play through again on hard.

    @Rii You are probably right. A lot of the problems I had with the game felt like set pieces tacked on. Like they were trying to do to many things. Perhaps if they tried to keep the game focused and shorter it would have come across a little more polished.

  21. Antsy says:

    Waterboreding? Hyrdoboarding?

  22. GoodPatton says:

    Wow, good thing this game has so much water around because John, you gave this a true roasting.

    Awesome read!

  23. Cryotek says:

    @Shadram:
    I *do* think it’s good, and I’m enjoying it. Are there better titles for the price? Yes, but I probably own most of them lol. Also, you could say there are “better” games at X price point about any game (except The Witcher 2, of course!).

    And if you want to talk sloppy console ports, Beyond Good and Evil is a freaking trainwreck. The menus in that game are horrible, and the lack of controller support is frustrating as it would fit the game much better. I really tried to like BGE, but I just couldn’t get into it. And Magicka was a wreck at launch.

    • Shadram says:

      I only played BG&E on GameCube, so have no idea about the PC port, other than that it’s on gog.com. Perhaps we’ll get a better ported version of the HD release once its XBox Live exclusivity period runs out. Here’s hoping, anyway.

      And I guess if you own most games that cost $12 or less, Hydrophobia could be a consideration. My comment was directed towards those of us that don’t own them all, though, and simply wished to point out that there are better alternatives.

      Price should not be an indicator of playability. Amount of content, number of textures and graphical wizzbang, sure, but lower cost doesn’t excuse the majority of the flaws in gameplay and design that John lists above.

    • Jumwa says:

      I played Beyond Good & Evil on my Gamecube and I still thought it was a wreck. It’s one of those games that people love bringing up as an “unappreciated gem” and that always makes me cringe. I found it painful to play and listen to.

    • Balm says:

      I played it on PC too and ,somehow, i can’t remember any problems or frustrations with anything in it.

    • mashakos says:

      the pc port of Beyond Good & Evil is a nightmare. The original CD’s I bought in 2004 don’t work in vista or win 7, only in win xp. So you’re forced to repurchase it from gog or steam.

      The steam version works fine but… no widescreen support which is unbelievable for a 21st century title.
      Having no gamepad support, well by now I am sure most PC gamers should have evolved the proverbial fins to navigate the amazingly choppy waters of terrible controller support that is now a staple of console ports.

      I use Pinnacle Game Profiler, for the simple fact that it’s the only gamepad to keyboard+mouse app I’ve come across that can translate mouse movement to a d-pad convincingly.

    • Premium User Badge

      Malibu Stacey says:

      I played Beyond Good & Evil on the PlayStation 2 & it was utterly lovely.

      Some games just play better on certain platforms. e.g. Any GFWL title plays better on a PS3 because you don’t have to infect your PC with GFWL to play it (possibly XBox 360 too but I don’t have one of them & it sort of defeats the point).

    • mashakos says:

      @Malibu Stacey

      Once you work through the issues of the console port, BG&E is actually amazing on the PC with the added fidelity and super smooth frame rate – and more importantly for me – a completely personalised control scheme. I like to play 3rd person action adventures with a joystick for example, not possible on consoles (I know the ps3 can detect usb joysticks but it’s pointless without custom key mapping, previous gen consoles don’t even have that).
      It’s just that many console ports (Ubisoft’s in particular) have so many issues stemming from bad implementation choices that the majority of PC gamers out there simply give up trying to get these games to run the way they were meant to.

    • DrazharLn says:

      What’s with the hate? Beyond Good and Evil was great fun (yes, I played it on the PC, recently even).

  24. Danorz says:

    i… i didn’t hate it, but it is completely all over the place, first it’s prince of persia (yay) then it is a cover shooter, and then it is a puzzle game for literally one puzzle and you get technomagic for 30 seconds then there’s a “do this thing three times” bossfight then it IMMEDIATELY ends. dear dark energy digital, get your designer some ritalin.
    i would have liked/was sort of expecting more resident evil hunting for whatever the nautical equivalent of an octagonal crank is coupled with a bit of open-boat metroidvania requiring new watery powers to get to different places, but nope

    • DeepSleeper says:

      Yeah, I gotta agree with this, a Metroid-style exploration game with hydrokinetic powers is pretty much exactly where I hope they go from here with a sequel.

      I have kind of a half-hearted fondness for Hydrophobia at this point, having just finished it, but I don’t think anyone should seriously consider buying this game. I do think whatever these guys do next will be worth a look, though. Maybe they should sell their water physics engine to 2K Games and we’ll get Bioshock Tav: The Ultimate Socio-political Wettening Experience.

  25. MythArcana says:

    This is exactly why the line between watered-down consoles and souped up PC’s should never be crossed or even blurred. We’ve seen this routine at least 48 times since Q1 2010 and it’s getting quite old already. I would be much happier if the developers didn’t start their projects with the least common denominators in mind and started from powerhouse crazy specs (Crysis 1) and simply scaled down the project later for the…other platforms.

    As the industry stands now, the consoles are simply heavy anchors to the PC ski boat.

    • Mcmicker says:

      While a valid concern, I don’t think that applies to this game so much. From what it sounds like, the game /looked/ good, but was lacking in many ways on PC and console.

    • MadMinstrel says:

      The trouble with that approach is that the “simply” part doesn’t work. We’ve seen some examples of that at the beginning of this console cycle and the results weren’t pretty. Did you ever to play Battle for Middle Earth or Supreme Commander on a console? It was a bug-ridden, stuttering mess.

  26. Moonracer says:

    Starting over on hard I can see how people would be annoyed. It’s a lot easier to forgive a sticky cover system and a stun gun you have to overcharge every shot when you can take a dozen or so hits without dying (on normal difficulty).

    On my first play through on normal difficulty I hardly died ( and there are enough autosave points I never groaned about having redo an annoying section if I did).

  27. Paul says:

    Ah another completely weird Mafia 2 style review from John.
    Well, I really enjoy the game. Haven’t had any problems, plays super well on x360pad, no bugs or performance problems. It is fun and it has the best water physics in any game ever.

    And it should be noted the game contains dev feedback system, plus the devs are incredibly active on steam forums, reading every thread and replying. I had 0 problems with it since release, but they already (in few days) released 2 patches. The support is phenomenal.

    I seriously recommend the game to anyone interested in something they never saw in game before.

    • Metalfish says:

      Well, he still didn’t have much fun. I’m assured the water physics every bit as good as you say they are. What else did you like about it?

    • Premium User Badge

      JB says:

      @Paul – “Ah another completely weird Mafia 2 style review from John.”

      Last paragraph: “This isn’t a review”

      =)

    • Paul says:

      Metalfish – it is fun! The gameplay is just entertaining. I just enjoy it. It is awesome to open doors and be swept by a wave. I simply do not have any troubles with performance or controls (playing on x360pad), no bugs either, and gameplay is just fun. Story premise is interesting too. It has production values of much more expensive games – I am surprised it is not 20 euros instead of 8 I paid. I would pay those 20 too.

      Check steam forums, there is plenty of good impressions too. John’s impreesions are not The Absolute Truth, just like they were not in Mafia 2’s case.

      JB – fair enough, although when I suppose nothing else will get written here about Hydro it might as well be one.

    • Premium User Badge

      heretic says:

      Paul. You troll.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      Someone should check if Paul’s ip matches that of the devs.

  28. Corrupt_Tiki says:

    Well, John, when you get older and even more useless, please play more of these crappy games for us!
    C’mon we all have played a game for 4 hours or so, only to realise, “Hey this actually isn’t fun/enjoyable and is stealing my life from me!”, it’s just it’s so good to listen to a professional whinger, whinge about something that is absolute shite.

    :3

  29. brulleks says:

    Look on the bright side John – at least you won’t have to compile any more lists of rules for games developers. You can just give them a copy of Hydrophobia and say ‘Don’t do any of that.’

  30. GoliathBro says:

    Kate, I’ve got two balls and neither of them are crystal.”

    That line is bloody brilliant, what is the matter with you?

  31. Fierce says:

    In all honesty John, I couldn’t be more confused by your impressions being quite like this. I just don’t get it. I’ll try not to go line by line down the article disagreeing with everything but honestly, it may come to that.

    First things first. I had no contact whatsoever with the first Hydrophobia. I played it on PC via Steam with an X360 controller like yourself. My PC is fairly powerful with a pair of crossfired 5850s so maybe I wouldn’t encounter the graphical issues you mentioned. I’m neither a part of the dev team that made Hydrophobia nor am being paid by them. I’m not viewing the game through rose tinted glasses because I’m not even finished (I’m late in Act 2, ironically where it sounds like you are as well) and I’m also turning 27 next month if that sheds any context on my reaction compared to your “still in my 30s” reaction.

    Now given all this, I think the criticisms slung at this game are a little unfair. As a game that clearly was designed for the X360, no port of it could ever be considered perfect. Nonetheless it is first being ripped on for not having redesigned menus in-game to support the options it asked for using the pre-game launcher?? That’s a nitpick. It really can’t be taken as an actual criticism when so many ports have used glaringly identical techniques. (Prince of Persia PC anyone? VSync off causing massive stuttering and crashes??)

    The repetitiveness of the environment also doesn’t deserve the flak it is receiving. The game makes it pretty clear that your character Kate is a systems engineer on a giant floating city, traveling the overpopulated and underfed world’s oceans, the last bastion of mankind blah blah blah. When such a facility comes under explosive terrorist attack while she’s checking the industrial underbelly for loose wires, is it so unbelievable that in your attempt to escape and eventually intervene you’ll be trudging through the flooding aforementioned industrial underbelly plotting to hack, sabotage and otherwise throw a spanner into the works of the locked down, protocol fried city technology? One of the first impressions I got while playing Kate was that she wasn’t Lara Croft. She wasn’t a trained marksman, she didn’t have a plethora of expensive gadgets, she didn’t have Silver medal qualifying acrobatics, she was just a Normal Human Being. And as a NHB, albeit with a trusty future-tool, the game does a pretty good job of implying that attempting aerial body flings or running and gunning looking for headshots wasn’t going to keep you alive.

    And oh the combat. I honestly understand tepid initial frustration with the combat mechanics, but not for the reasons you’ve given. Let me put this perfectly in context and be absolutely clear: As SOON as you pick up the gun, YOU ARE GIVEN THE ITEM DETAILS ON WHAT IT IS AND HOW TO USE IT. You are TOLD it is a stun gun. You are TOLD it is a futuristic cop weapon that uses sonic frequency ammunition to incapacitate criminals. The details even spell out a warning, in its Cop of the Future Handbook way, that multiple fully charged impacts can be lethal to criminals. Being frustrated with the fact that it didn’t behave like a gun oh so typical in the manshoots of today can be DIRECTLY attributed to the fact that you must have spammed the B button when the item description popped up.

    And again, as a NHB, the game clearly informs you that it expects you to fight with your head and not with your nonexistant deadeye killer instinct. It constantly has cracked walls barely holding back water behind enemies, crackling electrical wires hanging above them, red explosive barrels floating around them, encourages you to try “chain reactions”, “combo environment kills” and has the screen quickly gray out with bleeding edges upon you getting lightly grazed… but you’re frustrated that your gun shoots slowly, the foes evade your inaccurate shots, your 95lb looking female character has no melee attack against the little-cousins-of-Arkham-Asylum’s-inmates looking terrorist characters and that their definitely non-sonic ammunition loaded assault rifles kill you when they’re used. Truly an oversight on your part as the games intended mechanics seem to have not found their mark with you.

    As for the waypoint system, I too took the path manly traveled and opted to have the hand holding navigation system disabled in lieu of more realistic tool-aided orientation. And yet this mode somehow had you going in circles? Literally opening the map and pressing A to auto-pan to the objective was too much? If anything, the use of the map was flawed in that it 1) didn’t remember your choice for 3D viewing over 2D viewing, the preference needing to be reset every time and 2) it completely broke immersion when you’re surrounded by loud atmospheric rushing water and belching fire traps and you open the map to plan your next move… and are plunged into complete silence, the better to hear the MAVI sound effects I assume. But ineffective at keeping me from getting lost?? Not even close. Having asked for what I’d gotten myself into, I was appreciative by the fact that I could open my MAVI, look up down and around and see the yellow diamond above me and 50m away, then open my 3D map and note that only the air duct doors were the still functioning way to access upstairs. Similar navigation schemes, Tomb Raider Underworld’s 3D sonar PDA map coming to mind, certainly cannot boast handling 3D navigation in nearly as elegantly or as immersive a way.

    The falling elevator shaft area? Yeah I died a couple times too. However your annoying in-ear sidekick Scoot clearly states beforehand that you need to travel up the shaft to the next level. Rational thoughts might dictate that if one enters an elevator shaft through the doors of Floor 1, one would exit the shaft through the doors of Floor 2 to obtain their objective of going up. And of course there was also the (3D) map with the objective marker dictating those doors as your exit. Or the persistent niggling that as a NHB, you wouldn’t attempt to action-hero jump from the farthest point possible from the door ledge to the door ledge, you might try to hand-shimmy your way in a half square to it instead. Whatever.

    I could go on but there wouldn’t really be a point. All of the further points of contention are an admittedly subjective coin toss of preference. The cutscenes bothered you, they didn’t bother me; though I agree they’re getting a little too prevalent in non-SquareEnix games these days (In fact, I can specifically remember being left in control of Kate when a nearby wall-screen snowed and calibrated to show a live feed of the antagonist holding a camcorder and violently announcing her presence, thereafter to have control removed as a cutscene showed Kate viewed a HUGE wall-screen for another session. Bad cutscene choice maybe, but the point is the player was left in control first, cutscenes came after). The voice acting didn’t bother you but the script did, I personally loathed Kate’s voice at first – as it literally sounded like she was a whiny blonde when she encountered those early obstacles- but thought the script, while trying too hard to be witty and B-movieish, actually hinted at sometimes amusing banter between colleagues. You encountered frustrating insta-death gas vents and mixed feelings with the terrorist philosophy decor, I behaved like I was in an unstable, dangerous environment platformer vandalized with hidden rhetoric, slogans and ciphers that were used by infiltrating terrorists to prepare for their attack, and so I lived long and enjoyed the unique MAVI-go-seek game mechanic to uncover philosophical documents and unravel the terrorist’s plot. C’est la vie.

    While some of what you’ve harped on are truly PC port developer faux pas – namely the idiotic menu navigation choices made, liberal use of The Cutscene to show you doing cool shit you then aren’t allowed to do, intrinsic lack of a slot based saving system – I can’t help but feel that you either wrote this article with the sub-objective that it be comedic, or that you truly played it on the wrong side of the armchair, just didn’t “get” it, and it never had a chance to reel you back in and explain itself. I just can’t blame an indie developer for having bad SLI/Crossfire support in a X360 port, audio channel issues that also plagued the Crysis 2 demo (which Crytek had the experience and talent to never have let pass QC), and an “oops” moment regarding item placement during the tutorial. Hell, I don’t even know if this is the result of one of the two patches they’ve since produced for it, but I tried to reproduce your required mouse-to-keyboard control shift in the menus that was telling of a lack of PC optimization and found that going back was sensibly mapped – and identically mapped where I thought it should be when I read your comment on it – on the right mouse button. If so, then they’re already correcting some of the issues you had before this article was even published! Didn’t Magicka’s Arrowhead Game Studios get praised for exactly this sort of prompt resolution and customer dedication?

    Not GOTY, clearly, but a bad game this is not. I’m completely with you that this isn’t a review, and regardless of what I’m hearing from those who have finished it and still don’t like it, I can’t help but recommend you sleep it off, turn off SLI/Crossfire, insert a coin in this game again and give it another shot. And don’t forget your 3D map.

    • Antsy says:

      Blimey.

    • Paul says:

      Brilliant post! I would write similar one myself if I wasn’t so lazy, so thank you! This game is genuinely good.

    • Fierce says:

      What can I say, I wrote it like I meant it.

      No game deserves to get off the hook because it has a low price, but the truth is for $12, Hydrophobia certainly doesn’t deserve the Do-Not-Buy judgment it is getting. And of course while this isn’t a review, it is definitely rubber stamping that very judgment, whether intentionally or unintentionally.

      While I might get torched and pitchforked for this, some of the combat I encountered where I attempted to be sneaky and the enemies were looking for me as I stealth rolled from cover to cover were positively Beyond Good & Evil / Metal Gear-ish. You don’t get that from just anywhere these days.

      The devs definitely have their design kinks to work out, and I may change my mind once I unravel more of the plot, but at the moment I’m looking forward to what they put out next, especially if it uses hydroengine 2.0.

    • Pop says:

      Your post did include more words than Mr. Walker’s Impressions, and less pictures.

    • Premium User Badge

      heretic says:

      Lame…

      Why are you taking the review so personally?

      “but the truth is for $12, Hydrophobia certainly doesn’t deserve the Do-Not-Buy judgment it is getting.”

      Who cares what judgement it is getting? If you enjoyed the game then good for you, John didn’t and that’s his right not to enjoy it. Game critics, or any critic for that matter, are not special beings that need to realise the hidden potential of games.

      Most people hated K&L2, I really enjoyed the atmosphere even if the gameplay was sub standard. So good for me I enjoyed a game almost nobody else enjoyed.

      Good for you, you like this game, nobody else does.

      Just drop it.

    • Premium User Badge

      Kirrus says:

      I have to say, I have a lot of the issues John has, with the 360 version.

      If I shoot a baddie, when they’re under water, they should die! Not suddenly wake up after 10 seconds for me to shoot again and again :( The silly pulse-gun you get is silly.

      The camera-hacking is just pointless, and more often than not, useless.

    • 7Seas says:

      Sadly, your entire commentary revolves around the fact that you have to be paying attention to give the game a chance. And John Walker has specifically said in the past that he is “distracted” while playing games. I suggest you read http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2011/04/06/waffle-my-distracted-gaming-mind/ if you haven’t already, it will probably help you understand why his impressions are the way they are.

      And yes, RPS is guilty of the same thing as a lot of sites. If you put some hand drawn super cutesy Junoesque graphics on an indie title they will masturbate themselves into a coma over it, but games going for full 3d FPS/Third person are not cut any slack whatsoever.

      That said, I havne’t played the game and perhaps I would find it crap as well, however just thought I’d point out that as I’ve said before John Walkers WOT’s should come with a disclaimer about the type of gamer he is….because if you don’t match that type you will have a very different experience. Hell thats probably true of all reviewers. Should readers really be expected to read 3 or 4 years of your output so they can understand the type of gamer you are? Why not just have a badget at the top like:

      Multitasker! I need games that grab my attention and hold it, I’m not too attentive to detail.
      Obsessive! I finish every achievement, read every peice of story, and obsess over the nuances of each character.
      Casual! I can get into a good story, but most times I’ve got a baby on my lap and my wife yelling at me from next door.

    • Premium User Badge

      heretic says:

      @7Seas

      It’s an interesting thing you mention, about knowing what type of reviewer a person is.

      I think reviews where you don’t know who wrote it (i.e. EDGE) are a bit lame, because every reviewer has a different style. I think you only understand reviewers if you keep reading the reviews they put out while playing the games yourself. Then you can gauge how much you agree with them on certain areas of their reviews.

      However reviews are, well, reviews. They’re somebody else’s opinion, however valid, it is STILL someone else’s opinion. I never listen to reviews where I don’t know who is reviewing it (by knowing I mean understanding their style of reviewing, not knowing them personally lol), or at least I take it with a pinch of salt.

      I don’t think there are any easy answers for game reviewing (scores and whatnot), I just think people just take reviews too seriously – that’s really the main problem. The lack of demos is another but I guess that’s a whole other debate.

    • Fierce says:

      @heretic

      I certainly was not taking Mr. Walkers impressions “personally” and I apologize if you’ve mistakenly gotten that impression. I simply could not understand where his impressions were coming from, which probably has more to do with what 7Seas has said than what anything, and therefore voiced my confusion and corrections. You seem to be reacting to me as if I were a spoiled tween throwing a tantrum over someone disliking something I didn’t dislike, or foolishly expecting all game “impressioners” (he didn’t write a review, please stop referring to it as one) to agree with me. I assure you you are mistaken.

      His opinions about the game are just as valid – which you note, I never said were invalid, just confusing and perhaps borne by rushing through the game – as my opinions for believing the game is worth the paltry investment for the return one receives as a Gamer. It really is a unique experience.

      As for “just dropping it”, I had no idea I had picked it up for such an unfathomably long time that I had to cease beating an unseen, unbeaten horse. Hopefully it isn’t undead too. Undead horses. Yikes.

      @Kirrus

      Just to clarify, you’re referring to the X360 version of Hydrophobia:Prophecy? Not the original Hydrophobia?

      @7Seas

      Indeed, I seem to be ill informed about John’s particular quirks to have responded with as much confusion/correction and as little humour as I did. I’ve actually just joined RPS very recently so I had no idea his contextual traits were so well documented and known. Perhaps this will serve as my initiation into the RPS reviewer’s behaviour foreknowledge club. Nonetheless, I think I responded appropriately given “paying attention” should certainly be a prerequisite to a game reviewer? =)

    • jimjames says:

      Good comment well made Fierce, you crazy goose!

      Its great hearing an alternative opinion. Still, I’ll be sticking with Johns impressions, the game looks fundamentally a bit rubbish.

    • Premium User Badge

      heretic says:

      “You seem to be reacting to me as if I were a spoiled tween throwing a tantrum over someone disliking something I didn’t dislike”

      This is exactly what I perceive by your condescending post.

      “As for the waypoint system, I too took the path manly traveled and opted to have the hand holding navigation system disabled in lieu of more realistic tool-aided orientation. And yet this mode somehow had you going in circles? Literally opening the map and pressing A to auto-pan to the objective was too much?”

      I’m not sure what you are trying to do, writing a huge comment talking about how it seems that pressing a button is too difficult for the reviewer.

      “As for “just dropping it”, I had no idea I had picked it up for such an unfathomably long time that I had to cease beating an unseen, unbeaten horse.”

      You wrote a huge post and I hate scrolling so much to the bottom of the page ;_; please refrain from doing so in the future. How about a link to your developer sponsored blog where you talk praises of this game instead? :D Even a better idea, post in the forums about how one of the RPS editors is finding pressing buttons too difficult! That should make for interesting discussion.

    • Rii says:

      Ooh, a detailed rebuttal! Seems we’ve got a fight on our hands!

      /popcorn

      @heretic: Get over it.

    • Premium User Badge

      heretic says:

      Yessir am over it now! Fo real! :D

      Damn marketing people have no sense of ethics in their jobs. Lying saying they have no COI!

      Ok ok I stop.

    • Premium User Badge

      Makariel says:

      “No game deserves to get off the hook because it has a low price, but the truth is for $12, Hydrophobia certainly doesn’t deserve the Do-Not-Buy judgment it is getting.”

      I recently got Dragon Age 2 for $12. I got Crysis Warhead for less than 12$. The same goes to the Witcher, Darksiders, Super Meat Boy, Amnesia, Modern Warfare, Trine, Deus Ex, Planescape Torment, Baldurs Gate 2 and many, many more (thanks to good offers at amazon.co.uk, steam, gamersgate, gog.com etc.). The initial pricetag is no reason to excuse a game from criticism. The only thing I’m interested in is: is the game worth my time or not. Judging from what I heard of Hydrophobia so far it’s a no. It doesn’t sound like a game I would enjoy.

    • knghtwhosaysni says:

      Just wanted to say that this comment actually made me make the impulse buy :) I’ve only played about an hour, but my game actually didn’t bring up the MAVI after I picked up the stun gun (it had a press back to bring up info message off to the side I think, but didn’t automatically bring up the MAVI). I don’t think it’s a stretch to assume that a lot of gamers would not have much interest in reading the details about something that looks exactly like any generic pistol we’ve seen in other games.

    • RaytraceRat says:

      Fierce is saying that most of the gameplay design is because main char is a NHB, John is saying that playing NHB is not fun. At least its how I understand it.

    • Fierce says:

      @Makariel

      Your “it isn’t about cost, it’s about value” stance is similar to what I meant, I guess it just wasn’t getting through the somewhat zealous claims in Hydrophobia’s defense I was making. As I opened with “No game gets off the hook because it has a low price…” I hope I’ve made it clear I agree with your view that low price doesn’t excuse a game from criticism, I simply stand by my opinion that it is worth the $12 being asked for it (its value makes it worth it), despite the criticism against it.

      Also, $12 for those great games are clearly sale prices. Not an apples to apples pricetag compare when the proverbial MSRP of Hydrophobia is $12, not a sale price. ;)

      BUT, my true wish is simply that…

      @jimjames & @Makariel

      …a demo becomes available that you might try it, and truly judge its value. As I never was exposed to the original, nor have played it on a console, I truly believe its a unique experience to be found on the PC and worth the price of admission.

      @knghtwhosaysni

      If true, I may be a victim of paying too much attention and instinctively stabbing down on the D-pad as instructed upon picking up the pistol, or I glazed over that the pistol MUST have auto-displaying details when the ammo it can use DEFINITELY has auto-displaying details when picked up the first time. I’d have to replay to confirm and certainly apologize if I’ve mis-remembered a critical game design flaw. Hopefully such an oversight can be easily fixed (as whatever variable forces the ammo to auto-display details can be added to the pistol) and alleviate some of the now justified frustration with the combat mechanics.

      John should still pay attention though. :)

    • Tams80 says:

      Uh O! It looks like Dark Energy Digital have sent out the trolls. ;-)

    • DeepSleeper says:

      Yeah, because they’re so shy in saying what they think directly, they need third-party mouthpieces.

    • ZIGS says:

      Fierce’s post mimics my feelings perfectly. Upon reading this impressions article, I felt compelled to write a similar post but a mix of lazyness and English not being my first language (which means writing long, detailed texts puts extra strain on my feeble brain) deterred me from doing it, though, I’m glad someone did

    • Nick says:

      Dear shill, nice walls of text, bye!

    • Fierce says:

      @Nick & sort of @heretic but not really so don’t bust a vein heretic :)

      I don’t know what to say. I am NOT being paid by the devs of this game to speak out and did NOT post everything I did simply to add to whatever stigma the devs apparently have created for themselves by acting the way they did regarding their original, whether intentionally or unintentionally. I’m just a guy who couldn’t believe where John was coming from, wished to point that out in as detailed and defended a position as possible, and maybe convince someone actually basing their purchase decision on this article and these comments to give pause and think twice.

      But how would I prove this? Post a link to my Steam profile and its whopping 9 hours with the game, all gained in the last few days? Should I even care to? I don’t know. The Internet is clearly funny that way, since all a guy who understands his words might make him look like X needs to do to be labelled a Super X… is to truthfully state he isn’t X. I’m sure this is a special case due to the devs behaviour in the past, but I had no intention of causing further harm to their reputation (if that’s even possible, ha!) simply by stating my opinion. So whatever. I’ve said my (possibly mistaken) piece and I’ll leave it at this. Regarding the greatly exaggerated rumours of my hiring and subsequent death, I’ve told the truth and it’ll always be true.

      Besides, I get the feeling by this time next week, we’ll all be playing Witcher 2 and no one will remember any of this happened. :)

    • Jad says:

      This is kind of late, but I just wanted to say good work, Fierce. I have no dog in this fight, I’ve never played Hydrophobia and I probably never will.

      However I thought that was a very well-written and detailed post — I basically got two reviews/impressions in a single article (your’s and John’s) — and I feel like you’ve been unfairly subjected to a bunch of ad hominem attacks here.

      If you’re a shill, you’re not a very good one because you bring up a bunch of valid complaints and flaws in the game while defending other things you thought John got wrong. Again, I have no idea if you’re right or John is right (and I’ll admit I personally lean more towards John simply because, well, I know who he is), but that doesn’t mean that you should be attacked for voicing your opinion.

      I’d hate it if RPS became known as a place where long, detailed disagreements with the hosts were immediately dismissed as “shills”, or worse “why are you wasting your time”? I mean, we’re all posting on a website about videogames here.

      Heretic, if Fierce’s posts are too long, then just move on to the next “THIS” comment or whatever. I come to RPS in part because the comment sections are significantly smarter and the posts more well-thought-out than the usual “lol Halo iz gay” on many other gaming forums. If that sometime results in Wulf-like infodumps, then this place is all the better for it.

    • Premium User Badge

      Nogo says:

      Fierce: A bad design decision explained by the plot is still a bad design decision. Giving a reason for a series of entirely similar, bland corridors doesn’t make them instantly fun to run around in.

      All your other points are in this same vein or are outright dismissive, as if the game has a right to be filled with poor decisions and technical issues.

    • Monstrous Peace says:

      @Heretic, Fierce’s comment came across as a well detailed and honest counter-point discussion of the game’s various features and mechanics; your comment came across as flaming with the intention of protecting your favorite reviewer from what you must have viewed as a personal affront to his knighthood. More importantly, jumping on the clearly public stigma that the devs were going to attempt a rebutting of John’s “impression” of the game and claiming that Fierce was sent here by them in a transparent attempt to debase his well-founded argument in order to strengthen your own weak position by trying to garner the support of your peers as opposed to producing an argument that can stand on its own merits is high school level at best. At worst, it’s what makes conspiracy nuts so incredible. Every strongly postured and well produced argument to the contrary of my prescribed view must be the product of the twisted “they” demographic, yes? Shameful. It completely disrupts the flow of an honest and interesting discussion.
      A place where ideas that contrast and challenge the popular perceptions are to be received and summarily rejected with blatant disdain is a place where no strong and imaginatively diverse community can be sustained or nurtured. Want a forum consisting predominantly of witty one-liners and short, simple sentences that won’t take you too many minutes to read or comprehend? Try 4chan or the bathroom stalls of your nearest high school.
      As for the rest of us, I dare say most of us value a chance to read honest contrasts of opinion on a subject of interest that we all hold in common. We come here to glimpse the experiences of individuals with a given game so as to weigh its potential worth and I, for one, am not satisfied with having only one perspective with which to measure something by. How about you?

  32. bill says:

    ^ note: not a dev, honest.

    • Premium User Badge

      heretic says:

      You think they pay people to come here to post nice things about this turd of a game?

      Reminds me of those DA2 reviewers on metacritic who ended up being employees at bioware… talk about conflict of interest!

    • SuperNashwanPower says:

      Dark Energy have an appalling record for interfering with reviews and reviewers, they even phone up reviewers bosses and demand their phone numbers and offer to come and ‘show them how to play it properly’. There’s a ton of articles out there on the snidey tactics used by them, and we have recently seen them show up in comments sections on this site. So it wouldnt surprise me to find them here as well.

      I almost dont care if the game is any good – grudge or not, the way the company behaved left such a bitter taste in my mouth I am put off buying anything they produce, in much the same way as I will go a few doors down the street to a competitor if my newsagent acts like an ass. As far as I can tell I wont be missing out on much by skipping their games.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      I name and shame my ex-employers Climax at every opportunity for this, I worked on Sudeki, a turd of a game if ever there was one, though pretty if I do say so myself. Anyway, for a good 6 months, every single employee was informed that lunch breaks and hours before and after paid employment were to be spent tracking down every last relevant or non relevant website/forum/blog/myface profile etc and harp on about the game like the worlds biggest fanboi’s. We were told that it was not compulsary, but we risked going into administration and losing all of our jobs if we didn’t (While watching our CEO swanning about on his yacht just outside the window). I was actually sacked for refusing to do this.

    • Premium User Badge

      heretic says:

      @Sheng-ji

      That is really sad.

      In some industries this sort of behaviour would have the whole company shut down, or at least heavy fines and lawsuits.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      @Heretic

      I’ve searched for a website I used to know of which highlights a case of this a day but I can’t find it. Suffice to say, it goes on more than is fair on the consumer, not only in film, literature and games but many industries

    • edgeblend says:

      I remember Sudeki, Sheng-ji I hope you were not the guy who made the descision for the female character to shout ‘Prizes and Surprises!’ every time you opened a treasure chest.

  33. Pop says:

    Walker, send me a black stallion of a gaming rig and the game and I’ll complete it for you!

    What price can you put on your 30s after all?

  34. Ovno says:

    Those vhemt guys are mad!!!!

    And also should be awarded am honorary Darwin award as soon as possible because they are voluntarily removing anyone stupid enough to join then from the gene pool,

    In fact I may know a couple of people I should recommend them too…. ;p

  35. enshak says:

    Wow do I disagree with this review, “inane story identikit corridors”, these are video games with shooting mechanics we’re talking about, 99% of them are like that. “It’s horrible. It’s weirdly horrible. The whole game appears to have been designed with a sense of contempt”. That is really offensive and just encourages the commenters on here to put the boot in even if they haven’t played it. I think it comes down to what you want out of your video game experences. I come for the new worlds I get to explore which is why I love games like the Void and can even get enjoyment out of games like Kane and Lynch. This game got too my System Shock itch more so than that corporate and bland producion of Dead Space even thought its clearly the better game. This game has a heart abit diseased but at least it has one.

    • Heliocentric says:

      Your check is in the post.

    • Premium User Badge

      Diziet Sma says:

      Send me a check too then.

    • enshak says:

      @Heliocentric. I hope you were joking! I pay subs to this great site, It doesn’t mean I need to be an acolyte for RPS.

    • Highstorm says:

      Thus one of the problems when a creator gets too involved in the discussion of his product. Even legitimate fans get pegged as shills. Who’s to know really?

  36. Heliocentric says:

    I only play games which make John Walker cry, so what’s the outcome? Gushing bawl, a single silent tear down the cheek?

    • Premium User Badge

      Man Raised by Puffins says:

      At last a rating system worth paying attention to! Henceforth I shall not get out of bed for any game which scores less than ‘moderate bawl’ (20cc) out of ‘complete lacrimal shutdown’ (37000cc) on the John-o-meter.

    • Premium User Badge

      MonkeyMonster says:

      Does that count for board games you *could* play in bed and does that alter the crycount? Do crumbs in the bed count for or against said comfort while playing the games too…
      If we reach a certain wail factor do we have a tissue fund we can paypal for?

  37. WMain00 says:

    Hold on, hold on, hold on…

    “The water effects are remarkable, swells and waves washing down corridors, buffeting you around, bursting through doors, and gradually rising in rooms in a way that usually looks very awkward in most games.”

    There we go. That’s the line to use when you’re looking to put a review on the box!

    • Premium User Badge

      heretic says:

      That would be funny, but don’t they need permission before printing that on their box?

    • SuperNashwanPower says:

      “I was quietly impressed”
      “OH GOOD”

    • Sheng-ji says:

      @heretic

      No, they don’t!

    • Malawi Frontier Guard says:

      “does a perfectly decent job”

    • Premium User Badge

      heretic says:

      @Sheng-ji

      I had no idea… ahah that’s so bad as I’m sure every single review out there of any media includes a sentence which could be interpreted as positive!

    • Rii says:

      I’m more bothered by subtle rather than gross misrepresentations. The latter are simply funny, whereas the former are often used to offer a distorted, more commercially palatable spin on otherwise worthy films. The most recent example I can think of is the DVD for ‘The Unbearable Lightness of Being’, which proudly quotes Ebert in saying that it is “the most erotic serious film since ‘Last Tango in Paris'” and features a cover image to match. Ebert’s actual review, of course, puts a rather different spin on things: the eroticism isn’t the point, and those interested in the film for that reason are likely to be disappointed.

  38. Premium User Badge

    Diziet Sma says:

    A lot of what you describe there with mechanics and shooting seem singular to the PC version. I quite enjoyed the 360 game after the first round of patches tightening up the controls. Certainly never had any problems with enemies not dying after being shot in the face and the AI definitely wasn’t anywhere near the realms of being psychic.

  39. Sunjammer says:

    Shame, I loved it on the 360 after the Pure update.

  40. Delusibeta says:

    So, shoddy console game gets shoddy PC port. Ho hum.

  41. Coins says:

    Wow, I really don’t understand much of the hate this game is getting. I’ve played it myself, and it really lacks in a lot of places, but it isn’t horrible. It’s merely not very good. The story had a nice idea, and really could’ve worked better if it was more involved, instead of having to vacuum details from hidden collectibles to make any sense of it.

    The ending is terribly disappointing. It doesn’t tie up the plot, it just leaves a lot of questions unanswered, which is a shame, but not very surprising. It is a real shame you get the water powers at the very last minutes of gameplay, because, as commenters have said, it could’ve been used for so much cool stuff. Really, my biggest disappointment is that you’re on a city boat, and all you’re in are corridors. You’ve got an awesome setting and then fail to do anything with it.

    On the other side, I didn’t find the shooter bits that annoying, the gel ammo was quite neat, actually. Though, underwater combat was really annoying.

    Oh, did I say it wasn’t horrible? Well, perhaps it was, but for some reason, it also does some stuff, mostly story-wise, right, sometimes. Sadly, it’s not nearly enough to be a redeeming feature.

  42. StingingVelvet says:

    I really like the game. I’m close to a 20 year PC gaming vet too, and the “horrible not PC” stuff doesn’t bug me.

    In any case it’s not something amazing, but it is quite good for $10 if you ask me. I am glad I bought it.

  43. Paul says:

    So we reach the state where if anyone disagrees with Walker or, gasp, even likes the game, is automatically paid stooge huh ?

    well FUCK YOU, RPS ASSHOLES. You turn this awesome website into bullshitty place.

    • Kandon Arc says:

      At least they don’t throw a tantrum when they encounter disagreement. Have a look at the comment thread: quite a few people have voiced their preference for this game and no one swooped in to call them a ‘paid stooge’.

      If you have something to say, then say it cleanly. There’s no need for that kind of language.

    • Nick says:

      Only when its crushingly obvious if they are.

  44. namidettje says:

    Hydrophobia for X360 was a huge mess of things combined with good water mechanics. Usually , when in your game there’s only 1 thing done right you can’t expect an outrageous response from the reviewers so, you got the disparity in scores that the game accumulated.
    But,when you get a bad review, you start some kind of terror campaign against those whom gave you an awful score…Sorry but the developer is fucking out of his mind. If u can’t take a bad opinion/score/criticism, start with NOT MAKING games. Thank you.
    Was expecting some improvement on prophecy but the lack of graphical settings (got two GTX580 and sometimes getting 12-15fps…my god) , the smell of a bad done port, the mapping of the controls, the invisible walls, and the sudden deaths combined with the lack of saving option made me abandon all hope.
    Will be looking for more games of this developer for sure (the water mechanics are astonishing) but they enter the “only once chance left” before i put them in the NO BUYING EVER section or i’ll get an ulcer.

    • Fierce says:

      You’ve tried turning off SLI right?

      As I have Radeons, I can’t know what nVidia users are encountering but turning off SLI/Crossfire is usually Testing Step 1 when fps problems are encountered in games not optimized with SLI profiles/CAPs.

      It’s truly amazing they reacted the way they did regarding the original and as I’m just learning of it, I hope my defense of the game isn’t inadvertently condoning what they did. Nonetheless, I still believe complete newcomers to the entire thing couldn’t go wrong giving Prophecy a try, for those water mechanics and more.

    • namidettje says:

      @Fierce As you said, its the first to try. Also using the last 2 WHQL drivers and the last beta one’s just in case. I do love small developers game’s with her glitches and all, but here we have a bunch of issues, most of them completly unrelated to graphics, and the worst is that, with some testing before release, you can’t identify and solve a big part.

      I realy tryed to like the game, even when i first played the original hydrophobia (Just the concept was amazing with lots of possibilities) but…Im sorry, my nerves got destroyed.

      looking forward a new game of this developer, hoping the best… (many ppl will think im a masochist)

  45. stickboy2002 says:

    This man is doing what he loves, playing games and sharing his opinion on his (team’s) website. It’s you the reader that chooses to follow his opinion. This is clearly NOT a review of the game but some guy’s thoughts on the entertainment value he is getting from the game. My hat comes off to those of you that have decided to share your opinion in the comment thread (agreeing or disagreeing). I don’t really understand those that are so insane over this opinion, if you are that worked up, just walk away or go to another site for your negativity. If you cannot state your disgust in a constructive way, than you have no business being here. Paul that language is neither solicited or wanted.

  46. Parrk says:

    Port quality, while admittedly important, receives greater focus than it should imo. I also believe that port quality if often mistakenly saddled with the weight of players’ general dislike of other formats. I play on PC exclusively. I like to hot-key everything and I want extensive camera controls and 3 pages of graphics options. When a game that was designed for consoles is ported to PC, I simply don’t expect those things to be present. The lack of them is not evidence of a “bad port”, but rather seemingly-obvious business principle that you don’t spend a bunch o additional dev cash adding options to the version of your game with the (most likely) lowest sales figures.
    Clearly there is no excuse for the exclusion of common PC conveniences in the case of games that come to PC at the $60 price point (I’m talking to you douchebags at EA), but this is not such a game.
    The price of this game is pertinent because there is no effort being made to pass it off as anything other than a direct port.

  47. Moonracer says:

    So I guess it’s safe to say that it is NOT a game for everyone, but some people like it and want to support it. So the interesting discussion is how can you accurately review a game so that those who wont like it know to stay away and let those who might like it know they should consider checking it out?

    • Fierce says:

      Honestly, they really just need to release a demo. Maybe right up until the first or second water filled room or after Kate is given the chance to rescue someone. That it’s even getting screen time on RPS means it was tantalized enough to be on people’s radar, but since it’s a update + remake, people are justifiably skeptical.

      Putting their money where their mouth is by releasing a demo definitely wouldn’t hurt their prospects in such a situation. Simply being able to verify a game’s value independently from a review is priceless to consumer satisfaction.

  48. Ergates_Antius says:

    Maybe they could sell their water tech to some other developer – ones capable of making a good game to go with it.

    • Fierce says:

      I vaguely remember hearing similar said to the developers of Magicka after their fiasco of an excuse for launch code. Everyone deserves a chance to learn from their mistakes, no?

  49. Urael says:

    I was involved in the last thread, I stood up for the developer on the basis that I wasn’t involved in the original release and thought they deserved a fair shake of the stick on PC. I pre-ordered the gamebut have not yet played it. It’s downloading through Steam as I speak….
    That John has had such a bad time with it is very disappointing. I trust John but I’ll withhold my own judgement until I’ve seen for myself. I’d like to think I’m not going to come back here frustrated, swearing never to purchase another title form these guys, but at this point I’m not optimistic.

    [UPDATE]

    Ok, I’ve now played enogh of the thing to give my own opinion. I seem to have played more than John did, anyway.

    Blimey, John. What the heck side of the bed did you get up on this morning, Mr Grumpy Pants! While there are niggles and a few rough edges still lurking I found myself really enjoying the game, and found more than one of your complaints to be utter tosh. As Fierce has written above so superbly, you really seemed to have been deliberately trying to find fault with this one. From what I’ve seen so far this is a little gem of a game. I’m bloody glad I bought the thing now because after your post I might not have! Did you play the game the right way, John? Really? After reading this and then playing the thing I’m beginning to wonder if Dark Energy didn’t have a point fighting back the way they did!

    To all wary of John’s words I implore you to try the game if you can. It’s really quite cool, reminding me of Dreamfall (especially Zoe’s vocal performance) blended with much cooler tech and those lovely water effects. Even ‘Scoot’ isn’t as annoying as some have moaned. This is great.

    • somini says:

      I also disagree with John Walker, and I think his opinion is so negative because the PR guys tried a bit too hard to do damage control in several sites. I think that’s pretty sad that these actions might stop a pretty good developer IMO.

  50. Premium User Badge

    PoulWrist says:

    I bought this because it was cheap and because I read the “oh we did loads for the PC version” and I figured I’d at least watch some cool water physics. Really, I would pay to watch that in a context that’s not a pure tech demo, like those phys things. Course, I realise that a game on the Xbox could never be anywhere as physically detailed as something running a hardware accellerated physx engine, but hey, it might look cool, and it might inspire others to do the same, so I’d like to see it up front where it was first.
    However, that it was this bad a game, even if I’d tried some of it on my xbox, my … tertiary gaming platform after the one game I sometimes play on my phone, was rather unexpected. Now i’m doubting whether I’ll actually bother spending the 20 minutes it’ll take to download it wasting my bandwidth…

    • Urael says:

      So you haven’t played the game but now believe it’s bad? Please don’t listen to the nay-sayers above. Play the thing yourself and give it a go. I did and now disagree quite strongly with what Mr Walker has written.