I should start by saying that I’m a huge Bethesda fan and an Arkane studios fan (who doesn’t love dishonored) so after seeing the trailers for the game, which were giving me a bioshock game, I thought this would be completely up my street. However I’ve found myself not wanting to carry on.
The opening sequence is really fun. You wake up as if it’s a normal day, put on your space suit and are instructed to leave your apartment. You can explore your apartment and check your emails before you leave. You make your way to the helicopter as instructed (after talking to the mechanic outside) which take you to the test facility. After a conversation with your brother you are told you’ve signed up for testing, this is essentially a fun spin on the game’s tutorial where you have to get to the other side of the test room by crouching or jumping, hearing some odd comments from the scientists. The final test is a series of questions which you can answer however you like, after answering these questions everything fades to black…You wake in your apartment and everything plays out exactly as it did before except something is very wrong and the mechanic is dead!
You now have to escape your fake apartment and make your way through the facility which introduces you to more of the game mechanics, the mimics (who are the basic bad guy) and the neuromods (your power-ups). This sequence sets you up for the rest of the game.
From here it turns into more of an open world game (contained within the massive space station and the surrounding space) where you have to get past a certain door or enemy but have to achieve a certain objective or be equipped enough to tackle the challenge. You learn more about how the mimics got out and why you’re here and can choose the way you want to fight.
As is the way with most Bethesda games you can make certain choices to play your way. As an example to get past a door you can choose to hack the door code, search for the code on someone’s dead body or find an alternate way around (such as a hatch) this makes the gameplay enjoyable and adds some depth to what you’re doing. The weapons also help with manipulating the environment. The glue gun lets you shoot solid blocks of glue up a wall to create a stairway to get to hard to reach places. Along with in game choices you have your skill tree. Firstly you can upgrade your basic skills (abilities) which are Scientist/Engineer/Security.
These skills improve things such as your hacking, strength, foraging yield etc. You also have your neuromods which are like psychic abilities. These will enable you to jump into a cup or do a psychic blast for example (and much more), they also turn you more ‘alien’ so as you inject more the ship’s security systems recognize you as threat, whereas before they would aid you. Finally there’s the recycling/crafting element of the game. You collect items and junk from everywhere and can recycle it into little cubes of matter – these cubes you can then use to craft weapons, ammo and even neuromods. I liked this as I thought it was a really fun, simple way of having a crafting element without having to spend hours mastering the skill.
So the question I find myself asking is why, with all of these nifty ideas and abilities, am I not still playing this game? The main game starts in a large lobby where you have to do X to get past X but you can also pick up side quests such as finding lost ship personnel.
This was fun, I was deciding which weapons I wanted to use and the abilities I was going to go for (mostly hacking), how to tackle each part and where to go. Quite immediately you learn you can’t go a certain way due to high level enemies or not having a high enough hacking skill, which is fine as you need a challenge in any game, but this pushes you to only go the way of the main story line initially, and by the time I had gone off to pursue that and got lost in something else I had no interest to go back and find that random employee or get into that certain door.
At this point I had decided that I wasn’t going to do everything and just try to follow the main story. I did this and had some fun with gaining new powers, exploring zero gravity and avoiding/tackling enemies, but the game never really gripped me, it never made me feel like I really wanted to know what was happening, where the mimics had come from, why my brother had tricked me, or just what the f**k was going on in space. I got to a point in the main story line where I had to kill an enemy to get on to the next area, and I couldn’t. I tried sneaking, going head to head, throwing everything I had at it, but couldn’t take it on. So naturally I went back so I could level up/learn more abilities, and immediately came across another problem I couldn’t overcome.
At this point I just decided I wasn’t going to go back and level up, I didn’t have enough interest to go back and explore more or even to put the disc back in my PS4. I don’t want to slate the game as It may be because nowadays I don’t have enough time to play games which are average and don’t completely grab me, or because I don’t have a great affinity to games set in space, but there’s rarely a game I won’t play through to the end. It’s a great game with some really fun ideas and alternative gameplay BUT it’s set in a massive open world that just wasn’t exciting enough to explore. It never gave me a good enough reason to achieve the side quests or want to learn how to take down a difficult enemy. I just got to a point where I didn’t want to invest any more time in this game and wanted to play something more exciting.
Overall I give it a 6/10