I thought I remembered something about AquaNox. Apparently it was for good reason – it’s a 12 year-old game, back when the nvidia GeForce video card range was getting very popular. AquaNox was one of those games that showed the true power of the GeForce 3, the flagship video card back then, with brand new technology like T&L (Transform & Lighting) and whatnot.
I never did play it back then though, up until just now. I’m gonna have to say that it hasn’t aged particularly well in terms of looks, but it doesn’t hurt the eyes like earlier 3D games of the day.
AquaNox is an arcade-style action game that puts you in the seat of a submarine in the far future, when the Earth’s population is forced to live deep in oceans, breathe different gases because Oxygen doesn’t actually work well under the high pressure and all the people have funny voices and bad voice actors. You could blame it on the fact that all the people seem to have holes in their throats, but I still cringed all too many times while listening to conversation. And there’s a ton of conversation in a game that is basically under-water simple Privateer, where you do missions for money to upgrade your ship.
I like the fact that they talk about the universe, obviously lovingly created by the developers, considering all the detail of thought they put in it, but it also feels as if they wrote too much inconsequential dialogue in there, making it hard to pick out the interesting stuff from the fluff. There’s also some real life facts about oceans in there, which is a nice touch.
The gameplay itself almost takes a backseat to the conversations in the game, but there isn’t really much there to talk about – there’s a few weapons you can switch between, everything is first person. The controls are easy to use, basically just using WASD to maneuver and the mouse to change the heading, though it feels somewhat unresponsive at times (I thought my mouse is acting up).
Overall, I think the game is a bit too verbose at times. It would help if it stopped for a minute and shut up, at least to give you some time to breathe. It’s rather old, so the looks are antiquated, the voices are cringe-worthy and it’s not particularly interesting gameplay-wise. It has a nice premise behind it, as the universe seems to have a lot of thought behind it, as well as interesting ideas, unfortunately hidden behind layers of useless information.
It’s on Steam at 5 Euros, or 8 if you want to get the sequel as well. I wouldn’t recommend it at this point.