Hydrophobia came out with not much anticipation or promotion when games like Black Ops or Halo: Reach were having a lot of that. Hydrophobia is not a bad game in many ways, but it does have some issues that makes it quite tedious to play. One thing, I should tell you about this game is it's kind of like Half-Life 2-it's trying to create like an episodic trilogy. So if we're going to have a "sequel" of this game, it'll be more like "Hydrophobia Episode 2."
The story is actually quite interesting and it's concept is pretty unique compared to most games I've played in my life. Not many games allow you to encouter malthusians. What are malthusians? Malthusians are people who believe in Malthusianism-a belief made by the political thought of Thomas Robert Malthus. What he described of Malthusianism is that the human population is so vast that it affects on food population or agricultural uses. Malthusians believe that human population grow faster than food population by using math to prove their point. So what's the problem of that? Well, Malthusians inspires people to kill themselves to resolve this type of situation. If no ones going to do it, what's one thing that's going to force people to do? Violence and brutality. They also have a slogan in this game and it's "Save The World, Kill Yourself."
Kate is not really that bad a**.
You play as Kate Wilson-the main protagonist. Not much is said about her, but she's an engineer, and she seems to be one of those women that gets scared very easily because throughout the cutscenes she seems to panic or just get frighten really easily. She makes it to the "Queen of the World" which is pretty much like the "Titanic" and then they get attacked by Malthusians. Throughout the whole story, you're pretty much just trying to survive and get out of the ship and find out who's responsible for this action. You also have a partner whose name is "Scoot" and his Scottish accent is just very forced and it can get quite annoying at times. He's there to help you out. Also once you get to the ending of the game, you're left off with a VERY VERY bad cliffhanger. Just a warning. The story is really great, but the direction of making the character to go to a specific event, is very average (just trying to survive) and you won't learn a whole much about the story.
Thumbs up for the graphics!
Beautiful city lights.
Graphically, this game is AMAZING. If this game was on the Original Xbox, it's hands-down the best looking game I will ever see in my life. Water effects are sharp and textures aren't too blurry, and everything's just polished very nicely. It's probably one of the best looking XBLA games with the Serious Sam HDs. The sound is probably the weakest section of the game. Scoot's voice is sooo annoying, the weapons sound pretty weak, and there are not a lot of music you will hear in this game. However, they're not bad though, but they won't be memorable or good I would say. The music is also repetitive. If you're in your first combat situation, you're mostly like going to hear that same song in your second and third combat situation.
Jade from Beyond Good and Evil.
Kate looks so similar to Jade! Is she a rip-off of her?
Man, is she wet
Hydrophobia has quite a bit of interesting mixes of it's gameplay. It's like Tomb-Raider meets FEAR meets Beyond Good and Evil meets Uncharted. Both Uncharted and TR influences are on the platforming parts. Sadly, the platforming section can be a bit better. It's one of those games where you just have to press the jump button multiple times because if you press it one time, it'll jump and then it won't at times. Uncharted's cover system and gunplay is similiar to this game, but this game's gunplay is incredibly mediocre. The guns don't feel that well, and you only got 4 weapons: a standard pistol that kind of acts like a weapon Plasma Pistol from Halo, a surprisingly good sticky grenade pistol, an automatic pistol, mid-range rifle-esque pistol. Notice how I said they're all pistols? All those 4 weapons are pretty much "modifications" or "firing modes" of your pistol. But you have to find them before you can use any of them. The controls are very different too. I expect that most third-person shooters that are cover-based have something similar to Gears of War, but this game when you get in cover, you have to press the right thumbstick to shoot and it's awkward. Not only that, in Gears, it didn't allow you to leave the cover while in this game it can. It should've just copied Gears' perfected controls.
The game does have a little girl that reminds me of Alama from FEAR. She's just going to try to scare you by laughing or making some demonic screams. In FEAR, there were dark ambient music to make the player feel hopelessly vulnerable. Hydrophobia is no different. However, Hydrophobia is not a horror game though. It does use the elements, but it's not intended to scare you. The Beyond Good and Evil influences are soo obvious. Both Kate and Jade looks soo identical to each other, I felt like I was almost playing a fan spin off of the game or something. Hell, they're both british female protagonists! Hydrophobia main gameplay consists you being trapped in the inside of the ship with lots of water and you're just trying to find encrypted codes as a key to unlock a door that requires that specific encrypted code. The enemies are very simple and standard fair. They're just malthusian soldiers-you got the rifle guy, shotgun guy, assault rifle guy, and so on. Overall, gameplay is alright, but the gunplay can be a bit better and I think the platforming would be great if they fixed that annoying multiple button spamming thing. Another thing, I don't like about this game is that it's pretty short. It took me only like 5 hours to beat it.
You also have a survival mode, but it's not like Firefight. It's very standard, you just gotta survive around 5-6 waves of malthusian soldiers and you're pretty much done. You also get an exclusive ability to control water like you can use it as cover or use it like a weapon. Think of it like the Gravity Gun from HL2.
As a very unique game that Hydrophobia is, it really lacks the quality. Short campaign, lack of weapons, sound effects can be better, gunplay can be better, and so on. However, I did enjoy the game enough to actually try to be a little bit nice on the game. But the developers really gotta step it up on the next game if they want another of my $15. 7/10.