Depth Review | MOUSE n JOYPAD

Depth Review



Depth is a deep-sea death match, pitting teams of divers and sharks against each other. Combining intense, gory details and fast-paced action, Depth, though lacking in content, provides the player with a thrilling team-based experience. Digital Confectioners has broken the stereotypes of team-based fighting games by centering their game underwater in the vast expanse of the ocean, forcing players to fight through the murky sea. They also stay true to the conventions typical of its genre, giving players a sense of familiarity while challenging the gameplay they’re used to. No longer are you utilizing the skill sets of a team of players playing different classes; all you have in Depth are your weapons, your jaws, and your cunning.

In Depth, you play as either a diver or a shark. As a diver, your mission is to collect treasure and protect your robot S.T.E.V.E, all the while defending yourselves from sharks. Armed with only a knife and a pistol starting out, your lifespan as a diver seems surprisingly short. There are other weapons available for purchase in the game, but receiving enough income for some of them proved to be a challenge considering the difficulty the game sometimes held for divers. As a shark, you want one thing and one thing only: the death of the insolent divers that dared threaten your territory. Starting out a significant distance from the divers, you and the rest of your cove hurry to where S.T.E.V.E and his protectors are stationed. Your party soon slows their movements, though. To win a round of Depth as a shark, stealth is the key.

The combat is simple, controlled mostly with a mouse, but it’s fast-paced, heart-racing action. As a shark, the left mouse button has your shark attack close-range, and the right mouse button sends your shark lunging through the water at an enemy farther away. Once your shark attacks in range of a diver, and traps it in its jaws, you rapidly shake your mouse from side-to-side, tearing the diver apart. This is where the game turns out to be incredibly difficult. As you fling the diver’s body around, the diver attempts to kill you before you kill him, stabbing your shark with his knife. It’s simply a matter of who has more health and more power, but if a shark gets separated from the group, the remaining divers make quick work of him with their guns. As a diver, you attack mainly with your pistol by simply clicking the mouse to shoot. When caught up in a shark attack, though, you have to rapidly click the mouse, attempting to drive your knife into the creature as many times as you can before your health depletes. These simple controls really bring a lot to the game, allowing you to focus more on the gameplay than fumbling with difficult key presses, but they also make fighting a little repetitive. Especially when you get caught by the fourth or so shark as a diver and your finger starts to hurt from spamming your mouse.

There’s one thing Depth does stunningly: immersion. The ocean is the same no matter how you look at it – same old water, same old plants and animals, yet it takes on a different atmosphere depending on who you’re playing as. As a shark, the ocean’s master, the world is stunning and freeing. The water seems lighter and more inviting, the abandoned wreckage is your playground, and the free expanse of the water around you makes your fins wriggle in excitement to go speeding through it. As a diver, the atmosphere is completely twisted. The ocean depths seem darker as you blindly shine your light into various nooks and crannies, the water seems suffocating, even with your breathing apparatus, and you explore more slowly, every corner presenting the opportunity for a shark to surprise you with its jaws around your throat. When playing as a diver, your heart pounds away in your ears, a war drum in your chest, as a shark comes nearer, causing the player to experience a similar panic as they quickly search for the predator stalking them. As a shark, you gain a disturbing satisfaction with each successful kill, and even as you die and respawn, you seem excited to rush back to the battlefield.

Digital Confectioners employed a stunning use of audio and visuals in Depth to achieve such a high level of immersion. The sound effects are both high-quality and realistic, really putting the player into the feet, or fins, of the character they’re playing. Playing as the diver, everything is silent, save for the sound of your oxygen mask, until danger moves closer. Your heartbeat steadily picks up volume and pace until it’s pounding in your ears as a muffled scream breaks the silence of the water and the sounds of gunshots surround you. Not only is the audio in Depth spot-on, the visuals are beautiful. The ocean is gorgeous and even the gore is beautifully rendered, particularly the divers’ entrails. As much as I loved the beautiful ocean in Depth, one graphical glitch made playing the diver nearly impossible for me. While not impacting the gameplay in anyway, watching it drove me mad. I’m not sure how many other players have experienced the same bug, but as a diver, the character’s arms holding the pistol would flail and blip all across the screen. That, paired with lower quality character models than I may have liked made these graphics beautiful, yet not quite what they could have been.

Though Depth features exciting gameplay, it’s also repetitive. After just a few rounds it feels like you’re doing the same things over and over again. Considering there are only a handful of maps to be had in Depth, and only the one type of matchup, death match, the gameplay was considerably lacking after just a few hours of playing. This gives it fairly low replay value, but it’s a great game to pick up and play with friends a few times a week. I don’t regret having the game sitting in my library, and I could easily see myself putting quite a few hours into it over time, but I can’t seem to play more than a couple of rounds in one sitting.

Overall, I was very pleased with Depth. Digital Confectioners created an exciting team-based game that, though lacking in content, offered hours of fun gameplay. It utilized a very effective use of audio and visuals to create a stunningly immersive experience, and managed to keep the player engaged enough to handle sitting through a few repetitive rounds. With the addition of a few more maps and maybe one or two additional round types, Depth could easily swim its way to the top of team-based games.