Developer: Moonray Studios
Publisher: Moonray Studios
Released: 23.10.2017 (Game) 26.02.2018 (Co-op)
Reviewed on: PC
Acquired: *A copy of this game was provided from publisher for review purpose*
When I first heard about this game, I was intrigued. The concept is one that hasn’t been used too often and as a certified diver myself, I was really looking forward to exploring the dark, freezing waters.
As the main game was released in october last year, and the new feature is the possibility to play through the story in co-op, this review will mainly focus on the co-op experience.
A small team of divers has been sent to make a promotional video about meteoric debris found in the Arctic ice, providing a whole new powersource. What was supposed to be an easy task, will suddenly become a fight to survive after a strange series of explosions that separate the team. Ryan, a documentary photographer, and Sonya, a tech engineer, manages to unite in the tutorial part of the game and relies on each other to survive. The only thing keeping you both alive deep down in the Arctic sea is your equipment, and the power is constantly dwindling.
Without giving away too much of the story, I have to say that the story is quite good, and it keeps you curious about how it will evolve, what will happen next and how things will turn out in the end. The story is much deeper than just trying to survive, but I can not reveal anything without spoiling the experience.
If you have a high-end computer, this game is BEAUTIFUL! The use (or lack) of light and the underwater ambience is breathtaking at times. That being said, this game needs some serious juice to run on maximum settings! The computer used to test this was well above the requirements, and I still experienced bad enough fps issues that I had to lower the graphics to make it playable. Luckily, even the lower graphic looks really good.
The narrative and voice acting in this game is quite good, although a bit annoying at times. Many of the narrative exclamations that are repeated very often throughout the game that gets old very fast, because you hear them so very often.
Heavy use of sounds like creaking and breaking ice constantly remind you about the immediate danger you are in, or the dangers lurking around every single corner.
Where the single player experience only lets you play Ryan, the co-op version allows both Ryan and Sonya to be controlled by the players and thus solve one of the problems people have had with the AI of Sonya in the single player experience of Debris. The complete change in game experience due to this is really incredible, as long as you are playing with someone able to play better than the AI.
When starting the game in co-op, the game states that voice communication is recommended. I disagree, I would say that voice communication is essential to be able to enjoy the experience with a friend. Why would they not implement this into the game directly, instead of hoping the players solve this with third-party software?
Other than this, the gameplay itself is clouded by some major flaws in the controls, more about that later. The pace of the game is at times extremely slow, and it is very hard to navigate properly. The loading times is also incredibly long, and there is a lot of them. All in all, I felt as if I spent more time waiting than anything else at times.
The controls is the weakest points in Debris, even after the developers fixed the biggest issues with patches after the main game was released. The keyboard controls are easy enough to get to know, but the mouse is a completely different story. There is a very strange delay between moving the mouse and actually getting a reaction in the game, to the point where I thought it was my own computer that was the problem. After spending a LOT of time changing the graphics and tuning the mouse sensitivity, I still felt the delay and it was something that annoyed me through the entire game.
And that is just one of the issues with the controllers. The movement in the game is painfully slow, as it is underwater, but it makes everything feel extremely heavy and instead of water it feels like thick mud you are trying to get around in. Thankfully, there are parts with strong currents that help you along, but it does NOT make up for the slow parts. At all.
This game is probably worth playing twice, once as Ryan and once as Sonya. The experience and the way you play the game is completely different on the two characters. Along the way there are several secrets that are worth finding, a LOT of the area of the game remains unexplored and the game has several different ways it can end.
This game should have had co-op from the very start, as it relies on the two characters working together. Working with an AI just doesn’t work unless the AI is fantastic, and it is not.
Playing this with a friend improves the game experience immensely, but the controllers are just awful and instead of diving into the story, you end up being frustrated that you can never navigate or move properly.
Total Score: 6/10
“There is something here you must experience, worth for fans of the series”