Hydrophobia is a 3rd person action / shooter based around some great water dynamics. The water will flow from one room to the next, raise, lower, put out fires, and electricity will damage anything near it. Its a lot like being in a Zelda water dungeon.
This is a good game with gameplay mechanics that are on par with big budget games like Uncharted and Batman: Arkham Asylum. It has the ledge climbing, destructible environments, swimming, camera hacking, wall cover, sneaking and even a Navi, which is similar to Arkham Asylum’s detective mode, which will let you find encryption codes on walls, open doors from a far, hack consoles with a mini game, access cameras.
There’s a great balance between problem solving, shooting and exploration. There are only a few guns and really you won’t need any other gun but the default phaser that you can hold the trigger to charge for bigger damage. There is a cover system, but I rarely used it. The downside for some purists would be the aim seems off since there’s a ‘target lock’ system. What I mean is aim near something you can shoot and it lights red and will still count as a hit. Its not the best, but it stays in the realm of good. Even though the game encourages you to drown foes, electrocute them, blow up barrels and so on, it didn’t really seem like I killed anyone in cool ways other than exploding barrels.
The controls feel good, aim, shoot, move, move camera, roll (although I never used it once), jump, sneak, weapon wheel, diving, emerging, sticking to cover and so on. The heroine’s movement is just a little stiff, but that’s one of the only downsides to this game.
The story is good for an indie action game, terrorists have taken over your cruise ship and you need to stop them. You’ve got a helpful voice that chimes in and tells you what to do, but it never feels like too much instruction. There are things left for yourself to figure out. There’s even a nice waypoint to guide you in the general direction if you chose to use it to make the game easier for you to stay on task. It will always show you a dot on the screen where you need to go, but getting to that point is on you.
The game looks great, with really nice water effects and camera sprays. The voice acting sounds good and there are an over abundance of cut scenes at the start, but they ease up in frequency as the game goes on.
I’ve got the game on PSN and PC. Graphics wise I’d say PC is better, but it seems to be a beast on my PC’s processor and not the graphics card. It is a game best played with a controller. The downside with PC is the camera feels chaotic.
The game is short and sweet. The whole single player campaign is like 3 – 4 hours (I completed it for PSN) and at less than $5 I’m fine with that. There are challenge rooms to extend the game’s length. It doesn’t overstay its welcome and its a game that makes me want to play other things that the developers come up with, but alas they’re defunct as of 2012.