Game Review: Horror of the Deep (Xbox One)

Horror of the Deep starts off well enough. Taking control of an unknown character as they stand precariously over a long drop into some sort of cave. Without knowing why, you’ll drop down into it and find yourself presented with a huge dungeon to explore.

The darkness, the sense of buried death and the ominous music/sound effects create exciting atmosphere.

…and then you actually start playing it and discover it’s nothing but a boring, confusing and poorly designed walking simulator. One that is mysterious, so very mysterious but not one you’ll want to solve.

Instead, you’ll just want it to end as quickly as possible which fortunately it does. Over within an hour and that includes getting lost in the dark, repetitive looking corridors for ages. This is one of those games where you know it’s going to be so much better in VR (which is coming).

So, what’s the goal for this first-person horror? Simply to continue through dungeon after dungeon going deeper and deeper to meet your destiny. Or something like that. The game is very light on details and even the occasional scrap of paper with messages from those who inhabited the place before you, offer very little information.

There’s being ambiguous and looking to have the player think about what is going on and then there is Horror of the Deep. Where the story seems to have been a complete afterthought.

Just keeping moving onwards. Sometimes it is as simple as finding the exit door, other times you have to hunt down keys first and occasionally you’ll have to avoid wandering enemies who will chase and kill you.

You have no weapons, no way to combat them so it’s a matter of running and hiding until they lose interest and go back to their pre-determined paths. They’re rarely a threat even though they can kill you with one hit, only the final level offering up any degree of challenge. Although that comes more from how much of a maze it is.

Visually the game is so-so. The wider and more open spaces do look good and there is a foreboding sense of disturbing something ancient. However, the tighter and more confined spaces look really generic, made all the worse when you begin to notice how often it repeats things. Mostly you’ll find yourself distracted by the gloomy darkness, a game where turning up the brightness is a necessity sadly.

Perhaps though, the worst thing about Horror of the Deep though is the lack of checkpoints in the levels. You die, and you have to start it again. For the levels where you must avoid monsters and collect keys this becomes a massive source of frustration.

Certainly a game that will be best played in VR but even then it’s very unlikely to thrill.




Horror of the Deep
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