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Underwater survival horror isn't all that common compared to the usual "dark creepy night in a mansion or forest" and that is where games like Submersed stand out from the crowd. Submersed is a survival horror developed by Main Loop videogames. You play a coast guard paramedic by the game of Jack Ballard, who receives an emergency call from an offshore structure in the high seas. After arriving at an abandoned area, you must find the truth behind what is going on.
Submersed feels like an old school survival horror and has the same type of interface as Resident Evil 7. The game is played from a first person point of view and you can bring up your watch to show your current health similar to RE7. The overall look and atmosphere are decent for a survival horror. The game has its share of tense areas and some parts that are fully underwater. In some areas you'll have to put on a diving suit then explore the underwater portions of the structure. You are left wide open to shark attacks while out in your diving suit and must seek shelter behind objects. You have a light that will warn you of approaching danger.
For the most part, you run or hide from enemies. The only true enemies in the game are sharks. While out in a diving suit or swimming in water, sharks can instantly kill you. There are several shallow sections of water where sharks swim and attack as well, but they can't instantly kill you in the shallow areas and you can fight back. You're given a type of stun rod to drive the enemies back for a short period of time. It's far better to run from the sharks however.
There are a multitude of items to pick up and this brings out one of the game's many flaws. You only have 8 inventory slots to hold items and you can find storage boxes that will hold another 8. That means you only have room for 16 items total throughout the entire game! You may discard some items but others are permanent, such as weapons or key items. Key items don't always go away after using them and some items cannot be discarded. All key items and weapons take up inventory space and you'll most likely want to carry healing items, so inventory space becomes a major concern around the middle portion of the game. I literally had to discard healing items and ammo to make room for some pickups in the game.
While navigating the structure, you'll come upon many files to read in written form and on laptops. The writing is sometimes hard to read and understand because of grammar mistakes and misspellings. The voice acting sounds like the type of voice work you'd hear in survival horror games from the mid 1990's - it's very wooden and sometimes the voices don't really match the character. The game also plays some weird rock music during the first few shark encounters - it's a strange choice of music for a survival horror. There was also one point where I randomly kept falling through a catwalk and would land below it. I had to get my character killed and reload the game in order to stop falling through the catwalk.
At its bargain price, it's not surprising that Submersed is a short game - it took me around 4 hours on my first time through. The game is broken up into stages and you get to explore many rooms per stage. There are some areas that are locked and require special entry through the use of a key or figuring out another way to get into the area. You can find hidden vents to get into some rooms in order to save a lockpick, which is a nice touch. Like most survival horrors, there are a few puzzles to solve and fetch quests involving key items to perform. The game's technical issues and inventory system bring it down heavily. Without the flaws, it's a decent survival horror game, but nothing that stands out that well. If you're a hardcore survival horror player, Submersed might be a game to consider (a guilty pleasure), but for those that want a quality survival horror, look elsewhere.
+ Classical survival horror feel
- Inventory system and storage is awful
- Too many technical issues and errors to fully enjoy the game
Final Rating: 55% - Submersed is a run-of-the-mill survival horror that is drowning in problems.