Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Ship

Developer: Outerlight
Publisher: Valve
Release Date: July 11, 2006
Systems: PC
ESRB Rating: N/A
Official Web Site

In a nutshell: The Sims meets a first-person shooter

0:01 After hours spent downloading the game and updates to various drivers for my out-of-date computer, we're ready to go.
0:03 OK, now we're actually ready, after two minutes or so of loading. I'm in a nicely adorned room aboard an old-fashioned ship steamer ship. A pleasant British voice explains what's going on.
0:04 I'm told I have to take care of "needs" such as sleeping, eating and, er, expelling. If I wanted to worry about that stuff, I'd play real life!
0:06 I like the simple "context-sensitive" interface -- a couple clicks and you can do practically anything. Reminds me of The Sims.
0:07 "As you can see, your thirst need has gone down, but your need for a pee is increasing." I could listen to this voice talk about stuff like this all day.
0:10 The last three minutes have been spent in an over-complex discussion of the inventory screen. BOOORING!
0:13 The actual point of the game is finally explained -- find your "quarry" and kill them without getting spotted by security. Like hide and seek mixed with Mafia. Interesting.
0:14 Break the rules and you go to prison, lose your weapons, get fined, etc. Sheesh! An indiscriminate shoot-'em-up this ain't.
0:15 The type of weapon you use affects how much you get paid. A screwdriver kill is worth more than a frying pan, currently. I love it!
0:16 All set and ready for the arcade mode. After more loading, that is.
0:24 Finally done loading! "REMEMBER: It's only a game!" Er, I know the environment is engaging and all, but I don't think I'll forget.
0:27 It's pretty hard to find your way around at the start. I know my quarry is in "third-class cabins, deck C," but I have to keep consulting the map to figure out where that is. It almost makes me wish for those big yellow arrows that guide you in other games.
0:28 I'm lucky enough to find my quarry, but I forget about the witnesses and get arrested when I try to shoot her. This is going to take some getting used to.
0:30 All right, my first kill. But I'm still being hunted until the end of the round. Time to hide!
0:31 New round: I tail my new quarry, waiting for him to get to a nice, secluded spot, when suddenly I'm murdered from behind. I never saw it coming.
0:34 The single-layer AI could use some work. My quarry is completely safe in the bar, but then meanders outside for no apparent reason. Easily murdered.
0:37 I find Katherine Bolland looking out over the side, like a sitting duck. I sneak up on her and... crap! Someone spotted me. I've GOT to remember to look for witnesses!
0:38 I get out of jail and Katherine's still just where I left here, jumping around randomly near the railing. Weird...
0:42 Note to self: if another character starts sprinting at me as soon as they see me, RUN! Or, at the very least, DEFEND MYSELF!
0:45 Argh. I stumble across my quarry immediately, but I have no weapon. By the time I find one he's off in the bar, safe. Oh well... I patiently wait for him to leave and shoot him in the back. Yeah, I'm dishonorable. So what.
0:47 The game won't let me put on woman's clothing as a man. Awww. Cross-dressing disguises would have been an interesting twist.
0:48 After a death, you have to wait for a new round to start before resuming the killing. This gives you time to find new weapons and such, but it seems too slow for single-player mode.
0:50 Odd... I kill Rebecca Antonucci as she's talking to the bartender, and he doesn't blink. Oh well, I'm 1$2,000 richer because the straight razor I used is popular at the moment!
0:54 I get slashed by a razor"Well done, you stopped your murderous hunter."
0:56 I haven't yet stayed alive long enough to max out any of my needs yet. This is porbably a bad sign for my skills.
0:57 I win the game with 5 murders and 6 deaths, mainly because of that big money kill with the razor. I doubt I'd do well in online play though.

Would I play this game for more than an hour?
Yes
Why? It's an interesting twist on the old shooter, plus it doesn't really require twitch shooting skills, so I have a feeling I could be good with some practice.

This review based on a trial copy provided by my friend Mike via Steam. Thanks Mike!

4 comments:

Raton-Laveur said...

PLAY.
IT.
ONLINE.

Next on GamesForLunch : Enemy Territory Quake Wars, Unreal Tournament 3, Quake 3 Arena, World In Conflict and other online-dedicated games played against IA, with more first minutes dedicated to loading because of Kyle's craputer !

AMike said...

Gotta agree, the AI is terrible - but it's not really the point as it's designed to be played against other peoples.

There's actually a separate single player game you can download for The Ship if you want that. I think it's about $10, but themultiplayer is more than enough for me.

Kyle said...

Yeah, I hear you guys, but I was hesitant to go into a game with such a complex world and rules without going through the tutorial and a little practice, so unfortunately you have to suffer through my battles with the underdeveloped AI. I tried not to hold that against the game too much, though, as it is designed for multiplayer.

Luke said...

I guess it's kind of out of your purview to re-review a game, but I would like to hear about your online experience if you do try it out. I have been vaguely curious about this game for quite some time, but in the end it's the quality of the online experience (which in turn is highly dependent on the players) which is the big deal for me.