By Jonathan Falu / February 15th, 2017
|Publisher||Gambitious Digital Entertainment|
|Release Date||February 2, 2017|
|Genre||Action Adventure, Indie|
Developed by Arachnid Games, Diluvion intends to take players to an aspect of life not explored too much; the deep, dark sea. I have a huge phobia of the depths of the sea, mainly due to the darkness and whatever is lurking beneath. While Diluvion may lack some of the more terrifying creatures from my nightmares, the game is filled with many dangers during your quest. Ever since the release, the developers have also taken feedback from the discussion forums. Is it a satisfying experience? Let’s take a look!
The story revolves around you and Jay, a man with a bit of a mysterious past that unfolds over time. Your quest is to reach the Endless Corridor to recover a treasure that can help humanity, which has been confined under ice in the sea. The reason for this revolves around gods and the like, and the treasure was given as one final hope. Honestly, the latter story part doesn’t come into play until the very end. The former regarding Jay slowly comes into play as you expand your crew, whether it be from saving them from danger, prison, or some random occurrence. However, even his story eventually concludes rather anti-climatically. There’s a lot of interesting lore given the ships, cities, and even the enemies, but it is hardly touched on. The story is also linear despite the sandbox gameplay, so there won’t be any sidequests outside of finding landmarks to get more cash later on.
The presentation is easily the best part of this game. The way each ship controls is a bit difficult, but you always get the sense that you are underwater. This is complemented with appropriate sounds for alarms, pings from the sonar, and especially the torpedoes. The ship designs too, while limited, look cool, especially as they blow up. This goes for certain bosses too, which are massive and intimidating, namely given the level of firepower they have. One boss for example must be hit from blindspots as there are simply far too many guns, and will even attract enemies. They are variants of ships, much different from your own barring the final boss. All of this works well with the accompanying music fitting the mood just right, be it calm swimming in the sea, or fighting for your life against some pirates. The only major problem is sight, as it can be hard to see where you are going. I also like diving into the dark parts of the ocean to find more landmarks and treasure, and with more ship upgrades, the more you can investigate.
Navigation can be one of the best and worst aspects of Diluvion. Due to the game’s presentation discovering things is sometimes fun, like finding treasure caches to sell off loot, discovering wrecked ships, or even one of the rare larger enemies. However, it becomes a hindrance as it is very easy to get lost. The map you eventually gain lacks an indicator of where you are. You must use the compass and the map at the same time. The compass can be summoned at any time, and at times is handy due to it showing landmarks you have discovered. It does block the view a bit though, and takes some getting used to. Navigation is a pain, and likely could have been improved with just something to identify where you are on the map. The ocean currents can sometimes add to the confusion until you are used to them, as they can either carry your ship to other areas faster, or make progress more difficult by flowing the other way. Those can be helpful when used right though, and are necessary to master for later quests.
One gigantic problem, however, is simply trying to find where you are supposed to go without any kind of indication. This resolves itself later in the game, but the time spent just trying to upgrade my ship was the worst experience of the game as no NPC or crew member told me where specific items or quest locations were. For example, your sonar guy says he knows the way and doesn’t tell you it at all. There’s a difference between exploration and tedium. Thankfully, NPCs were a tad more helpful in giving direction much later in the game. The game also tries to give hints with a trail of orange fishes, which can lead you to new landmarks or quest areas, but it isn’t utilized too well and sometimes just vanishes for good, especially during the final quest when I needed it. The first upgrade quest took me hours to complete, and even involved travelling at random and praying that I got to where I needed to be. The problem comes again when there are action scenes that require you to escape, but the hit detection with walls and the camera can sometimes be a problem, resulting in death again and again. Fortunately, there are only two times I found myself ever needing to escape because of story purposes. Technically three, but that one was more of a trap that can be avoided. The way it was triggered definitely interested and terrified me; I will not spoil it though.
There are up to three areas you can explore and you will visit them throughout the story. The maps are fairly huge, encouraging exploration, at least at first. The first map has plenty of abandoned homes and such to find materials, but by the time I got to the second map, this felt less important given the number of enemies around me and fewer areas to explore. The final area had a sort of mix of both elements, though by then the rewards were not entirely worth it given my problems with the controls. Gameplay is not paused when you enter towns or check up on your crew. And for controllers at least, moving the mouse through the analog stick is one of the worst parts, as it tends to fly all over the place. I had to switch back to a regular mouse just to get things done. There is Captain’s Time, which does slow down time, but managing the crew during that moment is a frustrating experience.
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