Review of Still Wakes the Deep – “The Thing” on the Drilling Platform

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Review of Still Wakes the Deep – “The Thing” on the Drilling Platform

Still Wakes the Deep is a depressing horror from the studio The Chinese Room, which gave us Dear Esther, Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs, Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture and is preparing the return of Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2, which will happen this fall. The game sends gamers to a drilling platform, where they will witness chilling events. We managed to visit this adventure before the title’s release, and we are ready to share our impressions of what we saw.

  • Developer: The Chinese Room
  • Publisher: Secret Mode
  • Platforms: PC, PlayStation 5 , Xbox Series X|S
  • Release date: June 18, 2024

1975, oil/gas drilling platform near Scotland, where Kaz McLeary, our protagonist, works. The guy, in general, is in good standing with his colleagues, but is unloved by his superiors – of course, on the “mainland” he got into trouble, from which he fled to an island of metal and concrete in the middle of the North Sea , forced to leave his family, about which very sorry.

Things were going relatively well, but one fine day the drillers finished drilling. First, there were reports of a certain “situation” in the lower part of the platform, and then a catastrophe occurred, but not an ordinary one: some kind of chthon appeared from under the water, entwined the location with its tentacles, and turned those poor fellows who were in its way into monsters – thinking, feeling unbearable pain, bloodthirsty and cruel.

Review of Still Wakes the Deep – “The Thing” on the Drilling Platform
Review of Still Wakes the Deep – “The Thing” on the Drilling Platform

The few survivors are forced to look for an opportunity to escape, which is complicated by the gradual destruction of the platform, damage to the only helicopter and lifeboats, as well as creatures scurrying back and forth, as if they had arrived here straight from the Antarctic station, where RJ MacReady fought with them (by the way, even the names of the main characters Still Wakes the Deep and “Something” are very consonant).

The game is wonderfully staged. The voice of the protagonist was given by Scottish actor Alec Newman, who played Paul Atreides in Dune 2000 , and also appeared in such films and TV series as Star Trek: Enterprise, A Very English Murder, Dracula, and he is very good conveys the character of the character, a kind of blockhead who is at the same time the life of the party and a bully who is not averse to scratching his fists on occasion.

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Review of Still Wakes the Deep – “The Thing” on the Drilling Platform
Review of Still Wakes the Deep – “The Thing” on the Drilling Platform

The other actors are not lagging behind, and their performance is complemented by localizers who very ingeniously translated the lines into Russian, without being shy about obscenities – which convincingly fits the setting and environment: it is difficult to imagine that the workers of the drilling platform will begin to speak in Shakespearean style.

Enhancing immersion is the interface , which almost completely dispenses with the HUD, leaving the player with only a dot that indicates the direction to the mission goal, called by pressing Tab. Otherwise, the picture is devoid of any elements, at the same time the player sees the arms and legs of the protagonist, and performs actions by pressing and holding buttons: for example, if you need to pull a lever towards yourself, the player must grab it with the left mouse button and then pull it by pressing keys S. The game never switches to a third-person view , and from the beginning to the very end, events are visible only through the eyes of Kaz.

Review of Still Wakes the Deep – “The Thing” on the Drilling Platform
Review of Still Wakes the Deep – “The Thing” on the Drilling Platform

If you’re expecting serious puzzles from Still Wakes the Deep , you’ll be disappointed. Like previous The Chinese Room games, the title is a walking simulator – with a cinematic presentation, interesting events, but a minimum of activities. Basically, you will have to turn knobs and pull levers, sometimes you will have to hide and run away from monsters, and a couple of times you will have to solve simple attentiveness puzzles. The passage is linear, the correct path is highlighted by visual cues, and checkpoints are placed close, so the cost for an error if, for example, you fall into the clutches of a creature or fall from a height without completing a QTE , will be small.

Our character can walk slowly and run a little faster, swim underwater, pick up objects and throw them to distract monsters, jump and grab surfaces, use ladders and move boxes. In general, the developers competently combine episodes with leisurely exploration of locations, stealth missions and action with escaping from monsters; I only want to criticize the very slow movement on and under water, combined with not always convenient navigation in some areas.

Review of Still Wakes the Deep – “The Thing” on the Drilling Platform
Review of Still Wakes the Deep – “The Thing” on the Drilling Platform

Still Wakes the Deep looks beautiful and sounds great. Events unfold over several hours, and during this time the time of day, the appearance of the platform and the weather change, so when you once again get out of the corridors “out into the street”, you can see either fog, or a storm, or even a local apocalypse with fire and destruction. The passage takes 5-6 hours, so the adventure does not have time to get boring, even despite the lack of various game mechanics. If you like walking simulators and you love creepy stories about monsters that defy description, the new project The Chinese Room will definitely be to your liking.

Review of Still Wakes the Deep – “The Thing” on the Drilling Platform
Review of Still Wakes the Deep – “The Thing” on the Drilling Platform
 
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