Don’t do it.
There’s never any pleasure in playing a bad game and calling it bad. Even less enjoyment in describing how terrible it is through multiple paragraphs. Alas, here I am with another Energy Hook-like experience to go through so you don’t have to. Submersed hasn’t been generally well received everywhere, but I can guarantee that didn’t influence my opinion. The game itself did that in the very first chapter. Which is grossly disappointing because less than a half hour into Submersed you realize that a Deep Blue Sea mixed with The Last of Us is what could have been. There are no words in any human language to describe how far from that my playthrough was.
Submersed tells the story of a main protagonist responding to a distress call from an underwater sea lab. I say protagonist because I don’t remember his name nor care too. It’s hard for me to even recall if he was given a name. Maybe when he first arrived on the scene in the helicopter crash on the base’s landing pad, but otherwise you get subtitles that indicate a “You” is talking. Upon arriving he discovers multiple workers and scientists dead and a strange bacteria has taken over the nearest sea life. It strangely takes over the specimen’s mind just don’t expect to actually see this. You only know about it because of what’s told to you or what you read on computers through the journey. Sharks will still look like normal, doughy eyed, stiffly animated sharks who wouldn’t scare a toddler. Beyond that though a conspiracy arises with this strange micro-bacteria and what the scientists were doing with it. Don’t expect a competent retelling of this trope though.
I also feel the need to mention the personality of this “You” character. He’s portrayed and written like a gruff badass from a B movie action flick. However, he doesn’t seem to be in on the joke that this isn’t a serious title and even whines like a baby when something moderately stresses him out. The two other human characters are also pretty by the books. Generic, stereotypical scientists on opposing sides of an issue. It’s not hard to see where they will end up. And if you’re thinking that the sharks stalking you in some parts are so scary and terrifying that they’re a character in their own right…you’re incredibly wrong and you should feel bad. They swim backwards, get stuck on objects, only have one attacking animation, and couldn’t be more uninspired.
Gameplay is from a first person perspective and mostly sees “You” walking around to pick up things and solve his way out of the dangers facing him. This is also pretty by the books: getting around locked doors, finding a certain item, weaving around deadpanned sharks, and rarely redirecting energy puzzles to open passageways. There is technically combat if you want to call it that to stave off the sharks in the form of “electric weapon.” Yup, that’s what they’re called. You can find batteries for them lying around since they’re only one use per swing and only stun the sharks. This will cause them to leave you alone for all but a few seconds if it works at all. There was even an area where utilizing this weapon was the way forward and it refused to work. It literally made the area impossible to complete until I said screw it and sprinted through. To my surprise this worked like I didn’t have a care in the world and made me realize that every level could be completed within minutes.
There is a small inventory management feature, but it’s mostly pointless as you can just combine health or tool items while discarding other non-essential items with little hassle. A storage box is available to put stuff in that you can retrieve in a handful of places and I found myself relying on it exactly zero times. Flashlights and chemical lights can also be used or you can just turn up the brightness and turn away literally every shadow. Which makes the simple level design, with somehow unclear directions at times, even easier to complete. Unfortunately, your biggest obstacle in most levels will be “You” magically getting caught on corners or sometimes nothing at all. I had to back up from my current location in order to try to walk through a door again. Yes, an open door can be a challenge to overcome.
On the technical side of things the voice acting and dialogue for Submersed are awful. Not even in a so bad it’s good way. You could try muting the volume so you can just read subtitles, but then you’d have to worry about multiple lines overlapping each other. So you see what appear to be makeshift alien signs on-screen. Also, for some asinine reasons there’s low budget rock music that plays at random times. No idea why, but it doesn’t work on any level. Even sound effects for “You” walking or running don’t feel genuine or like they work. Graphics on the other hand are ok if you don’t count the Dollar Store sharks.
Submersed PS4 Review
Overall, Submersed is not worth your time by any stretch of the imagination. The game can be unintentionally completed in forty minutes if you just run through everything and honestly that’s for the best. You get to avoid as much of the broken gameplay, terrible plot, even worse voice acting, and sub par shark designs. There are plenty of other underwater horror experiences that are worth your time like SOMA or even Narcosis.
Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a copy of the game provided by the publisher. For more information, please read our Review Policy.
Reviewed using PS4 Pro.