Song of the Deep – game review.
Discovering the depths of the oceans has intrigued mankind since the dawn of time. Beautiful specimens of sea animals, wonderful flora and puzzles constantly swirling in the depths of the waters. These secrets were decided by the developers from Insomniac Games, who, although they came up with an interesting idea, this time they were overwhelmed by their own concept.
Insomniac Games is an experienced studio that has been preparing games for Sony consoles since 1996. The wonderful stories of Spyro, the phenomenal adventures of Ratchet and the interesting events of Resistance – these three brands were quite successful and the authors could think about development. The team leaders decided to expand their business in small steps and, as a consequence, since 2012, they have been creating for smartphones, Microsoft devices, personal computers, and recently even for VR goggles. In 2016 alone, Insomniac Games will release 5 productions, and one of them is Song of the Deep. I mention it for a reason, because the sea adventures are the best example of the fact that even the best ones should not crumble.
A fairy-tale, beautiful and deep world
Merryn is the main character of the production. From an early age, the girl was fed by her father with all sorts of tales of undersea worlds, great creatures and beautiful vegetation. She would probably never fully believe the fairy-tale stories of her old man, but one day the parent does not come back from another trip. The protagonist does not intend to break down – she quickly creates a submarine and sets off on the adventure of her life in search of the closest one.
To her surprise, the very first immersion allows you to experience an amazing discovery – dad did not lie, did not feed her with fairy tales, and the amazingly beautiful underwater world really exists. You can take my word for it the artists at Insomniac Games did their homework and designed a captivating environment. At every step we meet more and more interesting animals that have their counterparts in the real world. Of course, the developers color the game reality, draw big teeth, add a few colors, but this is all captivating at first sight and fits the whole world. Thinking about the created universe, associations with Ratchet quickly appeared in my head, who also visited unusual places many times. However, in Song of the Deep, you can feel a certain fairy-tale, especially in the voice of the narrator, who explains to the viewer-player the situation on the screen by depicting fish or telling about the found landscapes.
Consequently, for the first two hours, I enjoyed my eyes with every corner of the map, I looked at the vegetation, I tried to find in my head an equivalent of the fish I encountered. It all looks really good, but there are some problems with the gameplay.
Discovering the underwater depths
The title is a template representative of metroidvania, in which we fall into the aforementioned underwater world. Here, from the beginning, we have one goal – to find our parent – but the authors seemingly do not hold us by the hand, do not force us to follow a designated path, but allow us to discover the depths on our own. We cannot reach the starting point anywhere, because, as always, we come across closed passages, too strong monsters and various puzzles. The authors do not combine, and basically the entire gameplay is based on the boat and its improvements – at the very beginning we get a special claw, thanks to which we eliminate the first enemies, or it is possible to interact with the environment, such as opening crates, moving levers, grabbing places or throwing boulders . After a while, our arsenal expands – we get various torpedoes (to attack stronger opponents, destroy several types of walls) or a special sonar (allows you to enter previously inaccessible places), and all new products are introduced to production at a good pace. It’s not too fast, we have the right time to read the news carefully, but the positive impressions end somewhere halfway. Later, the developers clearly ran out of ideas to present other interesting obstacles and, as a result, we constantly use the same gadgets.
I have the impression that the authors have not fully thought about the duels, which are definitely too simple. Regardless of whether we are shooting a jellyfish, a small fish or a large sea creature, it only takes a few moments to continue the journey. And just getting to know the depths leaves much to be desired, because although the authors present swimming in an exemplary way, as a consequence controlling Merryn can be very irritating. The girl does not fully listen to our commands, and due to the tiring delay we die easily. Many sequences in the story are totally irritating and instead of enjoying the fantastic world, a person has to deal with adversities.
You will easily get to know the story in about 7 hours, and the events are extremely unbalanced – in the first two hours there is a lot of excitement, you want to get to know each new place, but the further into the forest, the creators do not surprise us with anything more, and from time to time We come across tiring moments that should clearly be refined. You can also feel some inconsistency in the riddles – sometimes I looked for switches with pleasure, I tried to find hidden solutions, and after a while I came up with a puzzle that was much more difficult and did not match the previous one in terms of balance. This problem is quite clearly presented in the second half of the adventure, where the authors have more room to show off.
When mentioning a certain inconsistency, it is worth mentioning here the escape that occurs at the end of the story – due to problematic control, we die far too easily, and in addition, the entire sequence takes too long. Another time, the heroine travels through several narrow locations bristling with octopuses, and then every little wrong move is punished with death. Usually I don’t complain about difficult games, because I love challenges, but the authors cannot exceed the magical – though thin – border. I still remember the phenomenal Ori and the Blind Forest, because in this position every defeat was the result of a player’s failure, and during the game of Song of the Deep, I had the feeling many times that I was dying of an underdeveloped game.
However, I am not going to scare anyone, because Insomniac Games’ position has some good moments, but compared to the competition, the game lacks… Consideration. The available weapons are greatly improved, new walls are destroyed, and new locations are reached, but for some time the game definitely lacks fresh ideas. The studio has prepared some interesting puzzles – the sequences of throwing light in the right places are fun as always – but even the best elements in the best games, served far too often, can tire you out. Another problem with the game is the story itself, which does not encourage exploration. The team responsible for the project forgot to throw a carrot several times, which we would have quickly rushed for.
Underwater carousel of uncertainty
Song of the Deep surprises with beautiful views and craftsmanship of the artists from Insomniac Games. The position is a pleasure to look at, but it is not an ideal representative of its species. We have a lot of nice puzzles and interesting boat development here, but at the same time it is not difficult to see the balance problem and lack of ideas. The game was probably not created by the studio’s main team – this one is working on Spider-Man – and you may regret that the developers grabbed so many magpies by the tail. The position clearly lacks the finishing touches so that each player can fully appreciate the great depths. It’s not hard to get charmed by this universe, but the infatuation disappears too quickly. Detriment.