Just not much here other than water.
I had never heard of Submerged until I was asked to review it by my Editor-In-Chief. After taking a look at a few screenshots, I decided to, much like many other games I review, give it the old college try. After spending some time with it, I was able to complete the storyline within a few hours and came off thinking it was a simple, pretty, but flawed experience.
Players take control of a young woman as she and, as I found out through a series of cryptic and simple drawings, her brother, Tatu are travelling a post-apocalyptic world that is completely flooded. Using a simple motorboat, the player must go to buildings and skyscrapers in order to find food, medicine, and water for a wounded Tatu.
Platforms: PS4, PC, XB1
Price I’d pay: $8
No rush. No death.
In the same vein as the 2008 Prince of Persia, there are no fail states in Submerged. Players can literally not die even when they are climbing a giant skyscraper through small ledges and overgrown vines. The concept is simple – players must find buildings that have evidence of old supply drops from an ancient time that may have landed on a building using a telescope. Finding supplies, boat upgrades, and secrets that add more to the overall story with the telescope will then put them on the map. Going to the building in question will then start a climbing puzzle where players must find the correct path to take to make it to the top. Climbing and shimmying along ledges while moving the camera around to find the correct path was enjoyable enough, but the game relied heavily on this mechanic, and after a while it got monotonous.
From the beginning when I found my first supply, it showed me how many more supplies I needed to gather to finish the game, so it was showing my goal from the very beginning, which helped out a lot when trying to gauge how much longer I needed to play. While the game is simple in nature, it feels a bit bland in many aspects. Aside from boating around the open world and climbing buildings, there really is nothing else to do. After about two hours I was ready to be finished with the game, but knowing I only had a few more materials to gather, I kept going to see the story through.
Using the Unreal Engine 4, Submerged’s environments look pretty gorgeous. Combine that with a day and night cycle and dynamic weather effects and it really does look like a beautiful location even if it is a dilapidated and flooded city. The character models, on the other hand, look really bland and somewhat awkward. There are also so pretty noticeable performance issues while playing Submerged. Multiple times while playing I would see the frame rate dip to sub-par levels and the game would stutter a good amount. On top of that, the initial loading when booting up the game would last upward to 45 seconds. Just long enough for me to think the game had crashed each time I booted it up. The presentation and overall story are decently done and the original soundtrack is really a nice standout. There are some beautiful tracks in Submerged.
I was able to complete the story in about three hours with over 40 out of the 60 secrets remaining to collect, and I had no urge to go back to collect them. It was a decent romp that lasted just long enough to not get boring. So in that sense, the pacing was just perfect. Submerged is not a bad game, but most certainly not an outstanding one. I enjoyed what it did for the time it took me to finish the story, but for players looking for more substance, there are other games out there that offer more. It is a very pretty game, but looks can only go so far, and for $20, I don’t think there is enough here for the full price tag. I would suggest a price drop, and even then, players need to keep in mind this is around a three hour game, depending on what all you want to do.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.