Hydrophobia: Prophecy - This game sucks

Just to give a little background, Hydrophobia is an indie game developed by Dark Energy Digital, purportedly sporting some amazing water effects and physics and Uncharted-like gameplay. It's set in a floating city where (of course) everything goes to hell and you have to escape/find out what's going on.

I saw some trailers and it piqued my interest, but unfortunately like a lot of interesting indie games these days, it was originally exclusively on XBLA.  Recently, it came to Steam.  Even more recently (yesterday), it went on sale... for $3.   Normally it's only $12, so still not very expensive.  It was on my "hmm...maybe" list, so for $3 I figured "why not," and bought it.

Generally speaking, I feel like kind of an ass complaining about something so cheap.  However, the phrase "you get what you pay for" doesn't always apply to the realm of video games.  There are tons of marvelous games for very cheap, and plenty of complete stinkers for the standard $49.99/59.99.  Bearing that in mind, I feel I am fully within my rights to declare this game a piece of crap, which even for $3 was rather disappointing.

First of all, the graphical flare is greatly exaggerated.  I try to keep an open mind, but I'm seriously starting to believe that people who only play games on Xbox are amazed by anything that looks even slightly good.  Coming from a PC gaming background, this game does not impress.  I turned everything to full and it... it just looks bad.  Actually, it looks like there is something good underneath, but that somebody smeared Vaseline all over your monitor.  I'm going to attribute that effect to the overzealous depth-of-field blur and lens flare (aka things developers use to cover up the fact that their textures and polygon counts look like crap).

As for gameplay, it does kind of feel like a very cheap Uncharted knock-off.  It has the same general platforming and 3rd-person shooter aspects.  They just... don't work as smoothly or comfortably.  I can't really pinpoint any one thing, but the overall controls feel clunky and inconsistent.  The level design is pretty terrible.  A game that is this completely linear should not have you feeling lost and confused about where to go next.  The game provides you with the option to turn on an always-on objective indicator.  I like to keep those turned off for a more immersing experience usually, but I guess this is one of those games that actually really needs them.

To cap it off, the game has some really god awful voice acting.  Oh, and almost every time you turn a corner in a corridor, the game yanks control away from you for some stupid cutscene.  Having made these two complaints, I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to Deus Ex: Human Revolution.  I made similar complaints in my review of the beta of DX:HR on here, but now having played Hydrophobia, it really seems unfair.  Human Revolution is light years of quality ahead in those departments as compared to this game.  Okay, yes, DX:HR is a triple-A title with a massive budget from a major studio and a $50 price tag, so it probably should be exponentially better in production quality.  I suppose quality voice acting can be expensive and not something an indie game might be able to afford (which is why many of them don't bother with it!).  Still, it's just disgusting here.  I feel like I'm playing the original Resident Evil or something.

Let's take in to account some absolutely fantastic games I've also bought on the cheap during a Steam sale: Left 4 Dead ($7.49), The Secret of Monkey Island Special Edition ($2.50), Trine ($5), Amnesia: The Dark Descent ($4.80).  Most of them even have great voice acting.  When factoring that in, Hydrophobia really just completely sucks.  So spend your few bucks on one of them instead.

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