From 3rd Eye Studios, a group with a heavy resume from working on projects like Alan Wake, Quantum Break, Trials, Gravity, Prometheus, WALL-E, and HIM (The Band) comes Downward Spiral: Horus Station. A first person space/zero G game. You are tasked with finding out why Horus Station has been left drifting in space. The game is available for co-op and VR. As I do not have a PSVR setup, I played the straightforward FPS mode.
They get points for atmosphere, the game is very moody looking, and dark. Seeming to be the only living thing in a place will set that mood. Movement is just plain bad. You have to hold the left stick, then let go to move, just like you were in a Zero G environment. Sounds cool, right? Sadly, it is tiresome and imprecise. You can also move by using a grapple gun. That was my preferred method as the pother way was so difficult to master. The only issue with the grapple gun is that you have to reload, and if you release the button, you have to fire again. The projectile weapon I found was better for the little bit of combat I experienced, but the enemies were small and difficult to see.
The game was heavily inspired by 70’s and 80’s sci fi movies. Normally, I’d be all in for that. They really had to make the most of what they had in those days atmosphere and story were vital. This game has no cutscenes, no dialogue, and a limited soundtrack (at least up to the point I stopped playing), how are you supposed to be immersed and really come to appreciate the story without that? Maybe in VR it’s a better experience; but for what I played, it really fell short.
With the kind of pedigree the developers have, this should be a no brainer. The games and movies they’ve worked on are top notch. The issue is, that there’s nothing to hook the player. Take Dead Space for example, that game has atmosphere, a killer soundtrack, NPCs to help steer the game, story driven combat, even a clearly discernible goal. Horus Station has none of that. They took what wold be a solid base concept for a game, and built it, instead of building ON it. I tried more than once to get through it and into it; but gamers these days have to be grabbed, we have to WANT or even NEED to play a game. Horus Station didn’t do that for me. Maybe if I had played in VR there would be a different pull; but if this game is going to succeed, the experience should be almost the same (taking obvious differences into account, of course).
Downward Spiral: Horus Station releases Tuesday, Septemeber 18th for PS4 and PSVR.
This review is from a copy provided by the developer for review purposes. That did not influence this review.
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