Song of the DeepOverview -
Insomniac Games is an American company probably best known for their 'Ratchet and Clank' series, but they've also done things like 'Resistance' and 'Sunset Overdrive'. Their new game 'Song of the Deep', available for Xbox One, PC, and PS4, is the first video game to be published by GameStop. Out of Insomniac's 200+ staff, only about 15 or so worked on 'Song of the Deep'.
'Song of the Deep' looks very pretty with its 2D underwater environments. It doesn't sport the level of artwork of say, something like 'Ori and the Blind Forest', but is still nice. While the gameplay is 2D, the characters are 3D, and there is a lot of parallax going on in the levels. The drag of the submarine through the water gives it an extra element of challenge that comes through in the combat. The bad news is that the framerate gets choppy during some of the more fast-paced scenes, creating even more problems for the troublesome puzzles.
The music is from Jonathan Wandag, who has worked on several of Insomniac's social/browser games and also does stuff like the 'Hunie' series. It is minimalist fare, sometimes eerie and often orchestral, usually adding more to the immersion of the ocean than detracting from it. The other sound effects are of a good quality. The Irish narrator does an excellent job of carrying the storyline, although it is a simple, timeless story that is easy to tell.
Despite stumbles in its gameplay, I am a sucker for sappy stories, and that is what 'Song of the Deep' should be played for. There are many other games that provide engrossing, replayable platforming and puzzles, but with less warmth or none at all. I enjoyed my time with Merryn and her submarine but we sure did bicker a lot.
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