An Edge rep has issued a statement contradicting Dark Energy Digital’s claim that the mag hadn’t “played the game” before awarding Hydrophobia 3/10, telling VG247 it completed the entire title and all its bonus content.
“We’ve been talking to Dark Energy Digital’s PR representative this morning and have clarified that our reviewer played the entire game, along with the challenge room stages (referenced in the section of the review headed ‘There’s something in the water’) which become available once you’ve completed the adventure episodes,” said the Edge spokesperson by email.
British Hydrophobia developer Dark Energy Digital hit out at the XBLA title’s review in the latest edition of the UK magazine yesterday, telling VG247 it believed “the game hasn’t even been played.”
DED creative director Deborah Jones said the company was “extremely frustrated” at the Edge verdict.
“Clearly, they haven’t played the game,” she said. “We’re extremely frustrated by the review. We’ve got reviews that are absolutely outstanding that say they love the product.
“No, it’s not a third-person shooter, and no, it doesn’t just have a stun round. The game is about the environment, it’s about the water. What you really need to do to get the depth out of the game is about using the environment.”
She added: “If they don’t do the review properly, they shouldn’t do a review at all.”
The review states: “Remove water from the equation and you’re left with a sub-par, archaic thirdperson actioner… Combat (you have one weapon, an energy pistol) is unresponsive and tiresome, and charging your weapon to repeatedly shoot an unconscious foe’s body is a poor substitute for an actual enemy engagement of substance.”
While saying the team didn’t want to “dwell” on the score or be “unprofessional” in its commentary about the piece, joint creative director Peter Jones added:
“There is a reference saying that the only weapon Kate has is a stun weapon, which is a weapon you get at the beginning of the game, and all the references contained within that are references from, literally, the very beginning of the game.
“We believe that the game hasn’t even been played.”
Destructoid has given it 3.5/10.
Jones went on to say that the game has a new approach and will find controversy as a result, likening the title to the birth of electricity use.
“It’s a question here of actually looking at a game that’s doing something in a different way. It’s not a third-person shooter. Sometimes, when people are looking at a game with extreme prejudice, all they can see is the boundaries of what they know.
“There’s a famous quote from a very early American president from the turn of the previous Century, who said, ‘Electricity? It’ll never catch on.’ If you’re producing something new, people have an adjustment phase.”
The Edge review roundly criticises the game, saying it’s bug-laden and “bland”.
“The bugs that inhabit the waters of Hydrophobia [range] from fatal scenery clipping to an awkward inventory display that implies a lack of ammunition until a weapon is equipped, it indicates a title either unfinished, unpolished or simply unprepared for a world of digitally delivered games that is home to such robust titles as Shadow Complex and Lara Croft And The Guardian Of Light,” claimed the mag.
Hydrophobia is a survival horror title where water, modelled by DED’s HydroEngine tech, is intended to behave as if it’s real fluid.
The game was originally announced in 2007, and PS3 and PC versions have slipped off the radar to leave an XBLA-only release for now.
“Robust and unique”
Deborah Jones said in Hydrophobia’s announcement press release that the intention was to make a “robust and unique next generation game that will remain a benchmark for decades,” something she said the team feels it’s achieved.
“Yes, I believe we’ve definitely achieved it,” she said. “We’ve certainly achieved some incredible gameplay mechanics and technology.
“The water is absolutely stunning, and the game is very much designed [to have] unique gameplay, and it is unique gameplay. It’s very much about the water, the floating fire, the hazards. Yes, I definitely believe we’ve achieved that.
“It’s a different market and it’s a different space, but I think in the XBLA space, Hydrophobia really does shine.”
Hydrophobia releases on XBLA today for 1,200 MSP.