Submersed review for PS4

Platform: PS4
Publisher: Factoria Cultural Gestio
Developer: Main Loop
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No

If “creepy atmosphere” were the sole metric by which survival horror were judged, Submersed might have something going for it. After all, there?s no denying that it?s incredibly creepy. You?re stuck on a dimly-lit facility out in the middle of the ocean. There?s no sign of anyone, save for the odd half-eaten body. When you get injured, blood clouds the edge of your vision. You occasionally have to wander out into the ocean in a clunky, slow-moving diving suit, knowing that at any moment, with next to no warning, you could be eaten by a super-intelligent shark.

Wait, what?

Yep, the enemies in Submersed are super-intelligent sharks. In other words, the developers here apparently watched Deep Blue Sea — which, if it?s remembered at all, is remembered for being one of the dumbest movies of all time — and were sufficiently inspired that they decided to make a whole game out of it. Unsurprisingly, the results aren?t much better this time around.

Of course, the reasons — apart from being kind of braindead — why Submersed are so terrible are much different than Deep Blue Sea. There are no high-quality production values to be found here; this is definitely a bargain basement indie game. Likewise, none of the voice actors here are going to make anyone forget Samuel L. Jackson, even making allowances for the fact that this script sounds like it was run back and forth through Google Translate a couple of times.

Those aren?t what make Submersed a truly terrible experience, though. Rather, it?s a bad game because it?s got all kinds of terrible design choices. The problem with making enemies super-intelligent sharks and then forcing you to go out into the open water is that there?s literally nothing you can do about them; you?ll either stumble through the murky ocean to your destination, or you?ll simply get eaten. There?s no running or fighting them off. Even hiding is difficult, since there?s a very poorly-designed sonar system that only gives you a slight warning when you need to crouch next to debris. Even if that may be realistic — by, of course, the ridiculous standards we?re establishing here, where bloodthirsty, super-intelligent sharks are a thing — it doesn?t make for very interesting gameplay. It?s as if the developers had an idea for their game, but then forgot how to flesh it out to make it more like a game and less about a story where sharks eat a bunch of people.

To be sure, a story about sharks eating a bunch of people could absolutely be compelling. But it would require a lot more effort than what went into Submersed — which, as it stands, is too frustrating to be as creepy as it wants to be.

Factoria Cultural Gestio provided us with a Submersed PS4 code for review purposes.

Grade: D