Diluvion is a 3D deep-sea exploration game which main focus centers on combat, trading and upgrading your submarine. The premise of the game is very simple, many years ago, when the land was dry and the sea levels were much lower, there was plenty of food, people were happy and civilization was at its technological peak. However some people sought to dominate the world and in doing so unleashed the wrath of the gods who sent down a calamity upon the world, thus sinking it. However, the very last goddess believed that Humankind deserved a second chance and so she hid a gift at the end of something called the Endless Corridor, a place found on the depths of the ocean. Since then, adventurers have been trying to find it, some curious for what it truly is while others solely seek it for the potential treasures it might hold.
In Diluvion you play as the captain of one of such submarines and you’re set out to search the Endless Corridor, whatever that may be, after initially choosing one of the 3 submarines available to you, which you can then later switch or upgrade. Throughout your journey you’ll meet various characters, some who’ll join your adventure, some who’ll help you get closer to your goal and others who’ll attempt to stop you. The world of Diluvion is clearly a very dangerous place, even if the game attempts to fool you with its gorgeous visuals and sceneries over and over. In terms of narrative, this is only delivered through conversations between your crew and other characters and, sadly, there isn’t any sort of voice acting in the game and at times these conversations don’t really do the game any justice.
With that in mind, only major crew members, which you’ll acquire via quests, play a role on the story. Besides those, you can recruit more members to man the various different stations of your ship, and these provide bonuses to the station they’re manning, such as improved accuracy or speed, depending on their own stats, such as endurance, intelligence, perception and strength. At times it’s wise to leave them on the crew quarters, so that they can repair the ship’s hull. That said, managing your submarine plays a pivotal role in making sure you’re successful, and this is especially true in terms of the stations, which there’s a total of 4, the Helm, the Torpedo, the Cannon and the Sonar. The names are pretty self-explanatory but your sonar is actually one of the game’s most interesting mechanics, since it lets you scan your surroundings for relevant locations
While initially you’re probably going to find yourself lost and just trying to find out your way around this strange and beautiful underwater world, soon enough you’ll start finding maps and landmarks that will help you navigate around the depths of the ocean. That said, sometimes you will have flocks of golden fish pointing the way you are supposed to go, but other times you will have to rely solely on your map and your compass in order to make your way around by orientating yourself with the various landmarks. This is mainly because this golden fish mechanic seems to stop working at random, leaving you clueless of where to go in certain occasions. I’m not sure if that is a bug or intended but, either ways, it makes everything take more time than it should. There are also water currents, which help you travel faster but still, going from one place to another can be somewhat boring at times, and it’s here where the game shows some of its major flaws. I say that because, while Diluvion seems to take place in a rather interesting, mysterious and gorgeous world, most of it’s pretty empty, and apart from the areas around stations there is not much going on.
When something does happen, you can pretty much bet that it’s because someone’s attacking you because, while a lot of your time will be spent exploring, the rest of it will most likely be spent fighting other submarines. The movement system is worth praising, since it allows you to approach any foe from every single possible angle by adjusting your throttle, depth and striking from below, above, sideways or any other way you can come up with. In the same way, the combat is good for what it is. There is quite a nice variety of cannons that you can use, from close range cannons that resemble a shotgun, to long-range slow hitters that can deal devastating blows. In any case, shooting feels pretty satisfying, since they have a pretty nice kick to them, and you can see your shot moving and leaving a trail of water behind it, and when it finally hits the target there is some nice explosion effect which lets you know that you have scored a hit. On the other hand, while torpedos deliver a good punch, they don’t feel nearly as satisfying as cannons. Still, the only problem I have regarding the combat system is not the combat exactly but the enemy AI. Sometimes it can be ruthless, delivering quick barrages of shots and putting you on the brink of death, while other times enemy submarines can get really close before they start firing, even if you’ve hit them before.
Albeit small, there is also a focus on trading. You can sell valuable items that you find on crippled submarines and other locations for money, and then use that money to buy ammunition, upgrades for your submarine or supplies, such as food and air tanks which are vital in order to keep your crew in working condition. The game also allows you to acquire and expand a homebase, changing the way it looks, akin to upgrading your submarine. The only way you can trade is by docking somewhere with a trader and this brings up another slight annoyance I experience quite often, which is the fact that when you’re docked or managing your crew time doesn’t stop and the sound gets muffled so it’s somewhat hard to notice when you’re being attacked unless you’re already with low amounts of health.
Despite the fact that the game is mainly played from a 3D over the shoulder perspective, you switch to a 2D side-view of your submarine in order to manage your crew and when you dock somewhere. While the 3D and the 2D aesthetics both retain some similarities and stylized visuals, they are slightly different. Speaking of which, a lot of games running on the Unity 5 engine don’t tend to have that many graphical options available and this is no exception, all you get is a slider that goes from “Fast” rendering to “Beautiful”. One thing I appreciate though, is that you can adjust the field of view value. The game also allows you to adjust camera offset and camera distance, which seems to be something that some people experience trouble in adjusting to the way the game handles. In any case, I believe that performance leaves a lot to be desired, considering that the game doesn’t seem to have that much to render on-screen. Depending on the areas, I was getting an average frame rate of around high 40s and the low 50s with a GTX 970 and an i5-4460.
The developers have clearly managed to create a believable, interesting and amazing world to behold, and I love the fact that you can clearly see remnants of the old times when Humankind prospered in the surface, such as powerlines, lost cities, bridges and other structural engineering marvels, and each of the three different open areas you’ll be visiting feel and look unique, while also having different types of enemies. Not only that but the soundtrack is absolutely brilliant and thrilling and hits just the right spot. One moment everything is calm and peaceful while you’re sailing away and as soon as you enter combat the music just becomes an all out symphony of epic proportions and, with that in mind, I find the soundtrack to be more than worth its price. On the other hand some of the sound design is kind of a mixed bag though. There are some sound effects which are well done, such as the sound your cannons make when shooting, but others leave some to be desired.
To sum things up, what we’ve got here is an interesting and mysterious world, in which there could be a lot more lore, with wasted potential thanks to the lack of focus on player driven narrative. Instead the game focuses on the core gameplay experience which is good enough to keep you going until you finish the game, which should take anywhere between 8 and 12 hours. Personally I’ve had a decent time with Diluvion but that doesn’t mean I recommend you go right on ahead and buy it. I’d personally wait for a time when the game is cheaper, because for the many good things that came out from a work of love such as this one, many things were overlooked and the game suffers from that. In any case, Diluvion features a rather enjoyable gameplay experience which is sadly hampered by a somewhat empty world.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary PC code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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