Still Wakes the Deep Review

When a Game Fails to Deliver the Fright Factor

Playing a horror game that falls short of inducing fear can be quite disappointing. Still Wakes the Deep, despite its efforts to terrify and unsettle players, left me feeling mostly bored. As someone who has enjoyed creepy, Amnesia-style horror games for over a decade, I couldn’t help but analyze why this particular game missed the mark.

A Detailed Setting with Lackluster Execution

The game’s premise revolves around Caz, an electrician on a Scottish oil rig in the 1970s. The attention to detail in recreating this setting is commendable, from the period-accurate outfits to the inclusion of Scottish Gaelic in the UI. However, the execution falters when it comes to gameplay.

The rig delves into deep-sea alien phenomena, triggering a series of unsettling events and transformations. Visually, Still Wakes the Deep is stunning, with the developer leveraging Unreal Engine 5 to its full potential. Unfortunately, the linear nature of the environments hampers any sense of exploration and discovery.

The Overreliance on Yellow Paint and Linear Design

One of the major drawbacks of the game is its heavy-handed approach to guiding players through the environment. The abundance of yellow paint indicating interactable elements or paths forward feels excessive and detracts from the overall experience. Additionally, the strict linearity of the gameplay restricts player agency and immersion.

Instances of illogical gameplay mechanics, such as obstacles that cannot be overcome due to invisible barriers, further dampen the immersion. The absence of meaningful puzzles or challenging obstacles makes the journey feel predictable and unengaging.

A Missed Opportunity for Genuine Fear

While Still Wakes the Deep tries to instill fear through familiar horror tropes and themes, it ultimately falls short. The lack of innovative gameplay elements and surprising twists diminish the impact of the horror experience. What could have been a spine-chilling journey ends up feeling mundane and uninspired.

Despite its shortcomings, the game succeeds in building a compelling narrative and engaging characters. The voice acting, setting, and sound design contribute to a richly atmospheric experience, but the gameplay limitations prevent full player immersion and investment in the story.

A Bittersweet Conclusion with Limited Player Agency

As the story of Caz and his crewmates unfolds, players witness emotional moments and character arcs that tug at the heartstrings. However, the lack of player agency undermines the potential impact of these narrative elements. While the final moments of the game deliver a poignant payoff, the absence of meaningful choices leaves players feeling like passive spectators rather than active participants in the story.