Title: FREEDIVER: Triton Down Extended Cut
Developer: ARCHIACT INTERACTIVE LTD
Publisher: ARCHIACT INTERACTIVE LTD
Genre: Adventure, Narrative, Simulation
Platform: Oculus Quest (reviewed), PS4 VR
Age Rating: PEGI 12
Release Date: 25/02/20
Price: £6.99 – Rapid Reviews UK was very kindly provided with a review code for this title.
FREEDIVER: Triton Down Extended Cut places you in the wetsuit of renown diver Ren Tanaka on a mission of survival through a sinking ship she was once aboard. The game starts you off learning how to swim in VR, which in itself is a unique experience where your arm movements propel you forward, backward, up and down as if you move through the ocean and the submerged ship. The immersive way in which the game uses momentum to drive Ren forward is reminiscent of the Mission: ISS experience you can try on the Oculus Quest.
Along with swimming and diving deep into the waters, you will need to keep Ren alive by finding and using the various oxygen tanks found around the ship. You’ll interact with them by grabbing them and bringing them to your face. On your wrist, your oxygen level is displayed and will change colour and beep as it goes down, and also when it’s at 100%.
A claustrophobic survival story
The early level of the game starts you off finding three keys to open up a hidden door and teaches you the mechanics of the game. The underwater caverns are dark and twisted. Playing in VR you will need to duck and dodge rocks as you get pushed around by underwater currents and avoiding slamming into rock walls. You can also move forward by gripping against the walled tunnels of the cavern and later the interior of the ship as you navigate the levels.
After finding the keys and opening the doorway a quick cutscene details the mission you were on when the ship sank. This opens up the memory of Ren on the sinking ship and the now desperate measure in which to escape to safety. Navigating the ships multiple floors, corridors, and stairwell leads to some truly immersive, if not, panic attack inducing moments of gameplay.
A true test of a good or great VR game is how it makes you feel like you are dropped into the world of the character you’re tasked with playing and the way time around you seems to escape. FREEDIVER: Triton Down Extended Cut is unique in how quickly the survival of Ren becomes your survival story. I found myself looking for items like axes to break glass windows and hatch locks, keycards to unlock doors and digital diaries from crew members telling of their voyage and last moments before they drowned.
A Lonely Ocean
One unsettling realization is that Ren, and the captain, are still alive and now you must swim around the sinking ship seeing the bodies of your crew members that did not make it. There was one moment where I had to take a flashlight from a member to use to see in the dark corridors of the ship. Hearing the diary entries of families now left without a father or mother were also sad and emotional.
The anxiousness of the sinking ship and narrow hallways with falling items and raising water levels makes finding oxygen tanks or hatches still above water a fight or flight race to the end or to death. As you move through the various parts of the ship, the captain, when he is still alive, will help you to find the next doorway you can open, guiding you through your mission to survive.
The ship does have some interactive pieces to it, like cranks that need to be turned, gates that can be pried open, grates that can be moved, and other interactive pieces. There was one section in the game that had you manoeuvre through a corridor as the door was closing ahead of you and you had to quickly swim against the current and grip the pipes around you in order to make it through. These moments of quickness made me sweat in real life as swimming frantically and pulling yourself forward consisted of real hearty swimming motions and speed needed to get out alive.
If there is one thing to fault FREEDIVER: Triton Down Extended Cut with it is its short campaign. The whole game can be completed before even needing to charge the Oculus. That’s not to say my time with the game was a disappointment, but to the contrary, I wanted more. During the early stage of the tutorial, you uncover a mysterious set of ruins and a sea creature that looks almost magical. Once again at the end of the game, which you are swimming frantically to get out of the ship, you come across the creature again.
It would have been great to explore the ruins and the meaning behind this magical creature and its origins, but instead, the game goes to black and the credits roll too soon, in my opinion. The overall experience of manoeuvring through the ocean and the sinking ship is decent enough and very immersive.
The sections that speed Ren through narrowing caverns, debris-filled hallways, and near crushing death could be expanded upon in another section of the game, but alas, the game’s less than 2 hour run time is chalked up as an immersive experience with a shallow story and length. Here’s to hope that the developers expand the tale of Ren and allow us to uncover the mystery of the creature and the ancient ruins which intrigued and enticed me to play the game in the first place.
Rapid Reviews Rating
3 out of 5