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Still Wakes the Deep Review

by The Chinese Room 0 text

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Horrific oil rig nightmare fuel.

"Still Wakes the Deep" emerges as a potent blend of psychological horror and survival thriller, meticulously crafted by The Chinese Room. Set against the hauntingly isolated backdrop of a North Sea oil rig in 1975, this game draws profound inspiration from classic horror films such as John Carpenter's "The Thing" and Stephen King's "The Mist." The narrative centers on Caz McLeary, an electrician escaping a troubled past, only to confront a far more terrifying present as ancient, malevolent forces awaken beneath the ocean's surface.

From the outset, "Still Wakes the Deep" establishes a gripping atmosphere of dread and suspense. The game begins with a catastrophic drilling accident triggered by the rig's overseer, Rennick, whose greed and negligence unleash an ancient horror. This event sets the stage for a narrative that intertwines personal redemption with survival, as Caz navigates the rig's deteriorating structure and battles the monstrous entities that now inhabit it.

The visual and auditory elements of the game are nothing short of stunning. The developers have employed Unreal Engine 5 to create a hyper-realistic environment that immerses players in the gritty, claustrophobic confines of the oil rig. Shadows, mist, and subtle visual cues are expertly used to suggest the presence of horrors lurking just out of sight, maintaining a constant sense of unease. The sound design, with its chilling and visceral audio effects, further amplifies the terror, ensuring that the player's immersion is never broken.

Gameplay 8

"Still Wakes the Deep" excels in creating an engaging gameplay experience that balances exploration, puzzle-solving, and survival horror elements. The game eschews traditional combat mechanics, instead focusing on stealth and evasion, which heightens the tension. Players must navigate the rig's dark, flooded corridors with a flickering flashlight, using environmental cues and limited resources to avoid detection by the grotesque monsters. These creatures, reminiscent of John Carpenter's horrific puppetry and alien lifeforms, are depicted through shadows and partial glimpses, maintaining their mystery and fear factor.

One of the standout features is the realistic platforming and climbing mechanics. The rig's precarious ledges, collapsing stairwells, and perilous walkways demand precise timing and careful navigation, often under the duress of pursuing monsters or environmental hazards like high winds and tremors. This element of physical danger, coupled with the need to solve environmental puzzles, keeps the gameplay dynamic and challenging.

A notable gameplay innovation is the flashlight mechanic, which flickers when aimed at a creature, preventing players from overexposing themselves to the monsters and preserving their fearsome mystique. Additionally, the ability to look behind while moving forward enhances the suspense during chase sequences, allowing players to experience cinematic moments of terror without sacrificing control.

Graphics 10

Visually, "Still Wakes the Deep" is a masterpiece. The oil rig, with its decaying industrial aesthetic, is rendered with painstaking detail. Every rusty pipe, flickering light, and slick of oil contributes to the oppressive atmosphere. The exterior sections of the rig, shrouded in fog and battered by relentless waves, create a sense of isolation and vulnerability that is both beautiful and terrifying.

The game's use of lighting and shadows is particularly effective. Dark corners and obscured views keep players on edge, never quite sure what horrors might be lurking just out of sight. The environmental design is complemented by exceptional character models and animations, which bring the game's cast to life and make the monsters all the more disturbing.

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Storyline 8

The narrative of "Still Wakes the Deep" is compelling, with a well-crafted story that delves into themes of isolation, guilt, and survival. Caz McLeary is a relatable protagonist whose personal journey from a man running from his past to a hero fighting for his life and the lives of his crewmates is engaging and emotionally resonant. The game's setting in the mid-1970s adds a layer of historical authenticity, with period-accurate details that enrich the storytelling.

Character interactions are a strong point, providing depth and context to the relationships on the rig. Moments of camaraderie and tension among the crew, such as heartfelt conversations and heated disputes, flesh out the characters and make their eventual fates all the more impactful. However, some players might find the pacing uneven, with certain story beats feeling rushed or underdeveloped.

Multiplayer 0

"Still Wakes the Deep" is a single-player experience, with no multiplayer components. The game's focus on narrative and atmosphere is well-suited to a solitary experience, where the player's immersion and emotional engagement are paramount. While a multiplayer mode might have added an interesting dynamic, the absence of one does not detract from the game's overall impact.

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Issues and Community Feedback

"Still Wakes the Deep" has received praise for its atmospheric horror and engaging gameplay, but it is not without its flaws. Some players have reported occasional glitches, such as objects behaving erratically or minor visual bugs. These issues, while not game-breaking, can momentarily disrupt immersion.

Conclusion 8

"Still Wakes the Deep" is a triumph in the horror genre, offering a deeply immersive and emotionally engaging experience. Its blend of atmospheric horror, innovative gameplay mechanics, and compelling storytelling make it a standout title that is sure to be remembered. Despite minor issues with linearity and glitches, the game's strengths far outweigh its weaknesses. For fans of horror games and narrative-driven experiences, "Still Wakes the Deep" is a must-play.

Pros and Cons

  • Atmospheric horror
  • Engaging gameplay
  • Stunning visuals
  • Compelling story
  • Occasional glitches
  • Linear structure
  • Short length

Player Quotes

Caz McLeary is such a relatable and compelling protagonist.

The atmosphere and setting are some of the best I've ever experienced in a horror game.

The flashlight flickering mechanic adds so much to the tension and fear.

I wish there was more freedom to explore, but the story kept me hooked.

The visuals and sound design are absolutely top-notch.

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Please note that this review is based on the feedback and sentiments of players on various Reddit threads and does not represent the views of all players.