Review: Still awakens the depths


It still evokes depth brings the horror of the sea to a virtual reality where you are compact, trapped and must try to escape from a creature you cannot understand. It’s a brutal space horror game that takes some of Lovecraft’s best work and manages to create a survival horror game that I think will be remembered by the horror community for years to come.

Developer The Chinese Room is probably best known for games like Everyone went to Rapture AND Dear Esthernarrative titles that do a great job of telling a compelling story through gameplay, which is generally fine. It still evokes depth raises the bar. Set on an oil rig in the North Sea in 1975, you play as Caz, an electrician who took a job on an oil rig to get out of Scotland and avoid some police charges. Even though his past has caught up with him, it matters little compared to the monumental event that takes place on the platform right after his boss finds out about them.

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Screenshot by Destructoid

Opening on It still evokes depth dripping with atmosphere. You meet a plucky crew working on a platform that’s barely holding together, a flawed hero whose past is anything but glamorous, and a first-person perspective and a movement system that’s good enough to get around but feels clunky as a middle-ground – the ancient Scot should.

Something that stuck in my mind from the beginning and lasted until the end was the unique visual setting. At some points I had difficulty understanding why the game looked so realistic. The Chinese Room has unleashed a certain kind of magic in this game that makes the horrors you face even more terrifying because they seem to be torn from reality. This is quite appropriate because shortly after the hushed intro, the platform drills into something, a being, and all hell breaks loose on the platform.

However, the visuals, like the movement system, are not perfect. An update may fix this, but the narrow wire logic is inside It still evokes depth it’s, to put it bluntly, awesome. This makes sense for enemies, but phones and other wires also break and fly around in unnatural ways. Seeing these glitches appear and disappear or fly around for no reason broke my immersion, but at least they didn’t ruin the game.

trotting still awakens the depths
Screenshot by Destructoid

After careful spreading, It still evokes depth discovers its true colors. What starts out as a walking simulator very quickly becomes a first-person horror game, and I love it. There’s a handsome divide between environmental puzzles like switches and fires, platforming and sneaking or running from colossal, impossible enemies.

Environmental puzzles are a lot of fun. They all take the form of repairing a system or finding an item needed to assist someone and progress, much like the original Dead space. This gives you a sense of purpose and helps you forget about the scary parts until they suddenly rear their heads. Mechanically these puzzles are basic, but the way they are used in the game keeps it fresh and doesn’t feel overly worn.

The real horror/fun though is the enemies. Some crew members were altered by a creature encountered by the rig’s drill. They are bloated and almost human-like, but retain some level of intelligence and a few dangling limbs. The monster design is top notch and has grossed me out more than once. I even froze a few times, just because these creatures look like they were plucked straight from nightmares.

You won’t fight these things. Instead, you run away from them by working around the environment, sometimes in quite a long series of rooms, while throwing objects to distract them. In some encounters you even activate platform systems, which is extremely stressful when a giant blob of fish flesh moves around trying to consume you.

If this sounds very similar Alien: IsolationXenomorph, this is exactly what it’s like to play. Where in this game the environment and your arsenal changed the way you explored and worked on the enemy, Suntil the depths awakenThe environment and variety of enemies make the game not lifeless. Even if you think you know how the enemy will react, he will surprise you and keep you in suspense.

The vault still awakens the depths
Screenshot by Destructoid

It’s not just about how these things look and move; that’s what they sound like. Human voices have been distorted to sound like animals or certain personality traits they had before the transformation. It degrades them, but it also makes them feel terribly advanced because you just don’t understand why they have been perverted in this way.

Overall, sound design for It still evokes depth it’s better than many AAA titles. Silence is used to devastating effect, but the soundtrack, when used, is superb. Every step, creak of metal or groan of something in the distance is done so well that in this game you can be scared by the controller on the table and nothing happens.

The Scottish voice acting is also just amazing. Most of my family are Scottish and I felt almost at home hearing so many Scottish words used in passing that I’m sure many people will miss them. While some of it seems a bit forced, most of the dialogue is stunning. This makes the game feel true even though it is full of scary monsters.

Finally, there is a story. True narrative in It still evokes depth It is told through flashbacks, your actions, and even the appearance of enemies. In true cosmic horror, the real nightmare lies in the mind of the main character Caz, not in the rusty equipment falling apart around him.

Just like the horror community continues to dissect, dissect and discuss Soma I still see it today It still evokes depth is a game that people have been finding fresh ways to explore and explain for at least a decade. It’s well made and there’s clearly a forceful vision behind it, which I’d say was spot on.

I have always thought that the unknowable depths of the sea were a terrifying realm worth contemplating. We really have no idea what lies at the bottom of much of Earth’s oceans. So it’s always seemed a little crazy to me that we’re so eager to drill into the crust below and hope for the best when we aim roughly where we think there’s some oil.

It still evokes depth connects this terror to real human flaws. Outside Deepen, I don’t know if the game felt so uniquely Lovecraftian. This is a game that everyone should play at least once, and the non-death story mode makes it possible. It’s not perfect by any means, but it’s worth your while and it’s a game you won’t stop hearing about for a long time, and it scratches the itch you’ll be feeling from the moment you play it Alien: Isolation.

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