The Ship review
A disappointment, after so much good press.
- An original, promising idea.
- Inexpensive, espeically when bought on Valve's Steam.
- A wide variety of weapons with which you can kill your quarry, and a variety of different outfits and disguises (though these add nothing to the gameplay itself).
In all honesty, too much to list.
So, most bad points are outlined in the main body of the review:
I feel this game was not worth even the $4.99 I just forked out for it. It is a very interesting concept, though - its a kind of "Battle Royale" take with a further twist: it's on a lost ship, between money-hungry passengers, and stealth must be used rather than force to win the day. Immediately, this idea appealed to me. Unfortunately, the gameplay and graphics did not.
Immediately upon opening the game, we are thrust into an amateurishly introduced storyline, followed by an unceremonious plunge straight into the action. After being told by the owner of the ship that we are supposed to kill each other, we now discover (the hard way) that even brandishing something so deadly as a spanner - or indeed knitting needles - in public view is enough to get us instantly locked up in the ship's handy prison cell (which, incidentally, is more comfortable than your room). After finally getting to grips with this and beginning the story, the very first thing we must do is club to death a sleeping woman - our "quarry", who happens to be right outside our room - before talking to a porter boy called "Jimmy". After completing this small, menial task, one may as well stop playing: you have now experienced the full extent of the game. The single-player itself, providing you have the will-power to endure the entire thing - can be completed in just under two hours, though this time is often lengthened greatly by having to do the same missions over and over again due to continued failure at the hands of the poor combat system.
A further note to make about gameplay would be the appalling AI, and damage statistics. Hitting a poor, helpless and defenceless woman from behind with the business end of a large axe doesn't leave a mark, and afterwards, so long as you're not seen holding the axe, she'll conveniently forget about it and walk around as normal. Clubbing a bank-manager with a frying pan, forcing him to let you into the bank vault, and then leaving him to contemplate his attack has no consequence. Weapon damage is calculated by a 5-star rating system, wherein a magnum revolver rates 3 stars, a large axe rates 4 and a kukuri knife 5. And weapons themselves can be procured anywhere. Just check the male toilets; in the locker you'll find anything from a paddle to a fully automatic Tommy-gun or even a katana.
And then, to top it all off, an element of "The Sims" is added. Now, "The Sims", in my opinion, is a good concept ruined only by the annoying chores one must constantly carry out to look after each of their characters, such as taking them to the bathroom, feeding them, washing them, telling them to sleep and socialise, etc. The idea of building a custom family, then a house for them, and then watching them prosper is actually quite appealing. Unfortunately, the element that "The Ship" uses is, you guessed it, the chores. And in "The Ship", they are even more twisted and outlandish, with even more far-fetched consequences. For example, washing your hands will immediately satisfy your need to wash, regardless of how great this need was. Clicking on your target repeatedly just before you kill them will satisfy your need to socialise without actually alerting the target to your presence. And, let us not forget the consequences of neglecting out characters! Not washed your hands in half an hour? Oh no, you've suddenly dropped dead, having been claimed by a "nasty disease"...
The graphics are also quite poor. The Source engine has been butchered: standing on the ship's deck and looking out to sea makes one think that they may well be drifting through deep space, or a hellish purple sea on some alien planet. Animation is sometimes quite clumsy, though the player models have been designed well and in a style that fits with the game. I will say that the ship's layout itself is quite authentic, and satisfies. The multiplayer, I have not experiences in as much detail as the single player, and so cannot produce a well-rounded, informed review. But from the hour or so I spent playing, I found little playability in any of the 10 or so servers for me to choose from. To avoid your hunter, all you must do is stand in plain view of a camera or guard and hey-presto, you've survived the round. I found it to be basically a sped-up deathmatch-esque version of the single-player story mode.
A final note would be the problems that many users appear to be having with fundamental elements of the game. To quote a reviewer on "Metacritic.com", a renowned review site for all types of media:
- Drake M. - "Too many bugs and glitches make this game look unfinished. Check out the games forum first to see what so many people are complaining about, this game has over 25 fatal crash bugs! I am taking this game back, the company that made it are not good and they need to get some better designers for their games..."
I quote, because I am yet to experience any such problems with the game (other than the clumsy inward door-opening that forces you permanently into the wall). But with so many separate sources complaining about randomly falling through the floor into an abyss and such, this side of the game should be considered before you buy.
So, basically, an appalling game. I cannot understand how so many professional reviewers and members of the public alike can possibly give this title any more than 30%, nor how this game came to be published in the first place. The concept behind it had such potential, and it's a real shame that nothing came of it.
It is the range of available weapons and outfits, as well as the interesting concept and half-an-hour or so of authentic gameplay that prompted the frankly generous 1/5 I've decided to give "The Ship".