E3 2010: Hydrophobia PreviewBy Sterling McGarvey - Posted Jun 23, 2010
Dark Energy Studios showed Hydrophobia off at PAX East a few months ago. It’s an action game with platforming elements in which you’re trying to escape a mega-cruise ship that’s been bombed by terrorists.
What We’re Seeing Now:
I got some short hands-on time with it at Microsoft’s E3 booth. It’s not necessarily pretty -- I don’t nitpick visuals much, but it still looks rather jaggy -- though it’s not the point. Hydrophobia’s greatest strength is in the environment. The game is tense by virtue of the scenario. Kate, the game’s heroine, must escape the sinking ship, yet also save herself from people onboard. She can use water to put out fires, wash away enemies, or even set oil slicks on fire to keep people away. It’s a fascinating experiment in how water physics work, and how Dark Energy is working to create dynamic danger at every step.
I’m concerned, however, with how it controls. It’s a very cool idea -- and I’m a sucker for new concepts and ideas in action games -- but Kate’s a little unwieldy to control, and some of the platforming is less-than-precise. I think that Hydrophobia is going to live or die based on how responsive the controls feel against the perils that the game throws at you. It sounds rather obvious, but there’s a lot of excellent dynamics at work, and I hope that the mechanics can stand up alongside them. If so, Hydrophobia could be a big surprise for Xbox owners.