Happymartin
Sean   Chicago, Illinois, United States
 
 
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5.2 Hours played
***SPOILER FREE***

It has been 13 years since Bioshock came out and thrilled the world with it's vivid setting of an Art Deco City underwater, rife with beauty and horror, and 7 years since Infinite left a poor final taste in our mouths of that franchise. But one year ago, Storm in a Teacup, decided they wanted to make their own Bioshock, but as a horror walking sim. The results are somewhat mixed as I dive into my 5 hours into the game start to finish, and put down to thought what I think.


So first off the setting is a real hook if I ever heard one. It's an alternate 1897 where Nikola Tesla, instead of winding up as a sad homeless man sitting on a bench with pigeons until his death, he succeeded against Thomas Edison and has become a Scientist Superstar, netting both fame and glory, as well as quiet envy and concern from the world powers at the time. Tesla's tower worked and now powers half the globe with wireless electricity, while fighting over the other half with Edison and General Electric. Also somehow he built a freaking super ocean liner that contains basically a city called The Helios to bring on any Man and Woman with a giant brain to do science stuff in the middle of the Atlantic.

One of those scientists was your Sister, Ana, and you, Rose, must take a small Steamboat to the derelict liner in a storm to find your sister, and uncover what exactly happened to Tesla's ship along the way.

That is where I stop on the plot because the rest is too interesting and spoilery to go on about, so I can only hope if you're on the ball and reading this, that my review convinces you to give the game a shot. Speaking of which it's time to talk Pros and Cons.

Pros:
The story is, as I said, quite an enthralling one. It's the rare walking game where you do want to know more about the ship and what happened to it. Also, the Ship itself is just BEAUTIFUL. Storm in a Teacup really went all out to make most of the environments looks stunning in Unreal engine. My personal favorite is the Theatre chapter, which is just incredible to marvel at, graphics wise. Exploring every nook and cranny to find all the environmental story pieces isn't much of a hassle as there is a sprint button to get around some sections faster, and some of the puzzles, while not really engaging, aren't much of a chore to deal with.

But sadly, I must now to the "other" side of the gameplay, which is where things are, well, not good.

Cons:
So there are two parts of gameplay. Medium-Long pieces of walking around, doing puzzles and exploring the levels as you go on, and, chase sequences. Yes there are things to run from, what they are I will not spoil, but there are enemies. There is no stealth, and since this is a walking horror game, no means of self defense. Also no hiding either, it's always a chase sequence and nothing more. You get to a part, and have to just run from whatever is chasing you for a short period, and this is where it falls apart because it's very trial and error. I have died most times from basically bull plop catching up to me while I was holding the sprint key going down a corridor with nothing in my way, just to arbitrarily die. There is no manual save either, just checkpoints, so you need to hot foot it the right way as soon as you spawn, or else die again in a , might I add, UNSKIPPABLE death scene. It's not a long one, just annoying.

Also while the graphics look nice, the game, weirdly chugs. I'm on a good computer rig that runs games like Fallout 4 and Sea of Thieves on high with little to no chug. Yet in the Prolouge I have to play with the options because the textures were blurry, then I turned some stuff on ultra and had FPS drop. So I set it to high settings and resolution scale to 100%, and the game ran fine for the most part, but still had chugs in certain sections. You would think that a year after release, Storm in a Teacup would fix that somehow for the Steam release, but nah.

Speaking which, while not a big deal to myself I have to mention, some people are giving this game the finger, because it released on Epic Games's platform one year ago. I think the whole "Epic bad, Steam good" thing is pointless enough and doesn't factor into making a game better or worse; it's just pointless politics.

Conclusion:

While not a perfect game, the setting, story, and overall art direction of the game are gripping to me, making me excited for a potential sequel if they are working on one, as I do want more. I found it worth my money and time, even if kinda short, for the experience I got overall. If you, dear reader, can overlook the crap chase sequences, and occasional chug, this is a great story experience to check out. Otherwise, I would wait for it to go on sale if you don't like the "gameplay loop" of Close to the Sun.
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Hours played
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