Aquanox Deep Descent (PC) Review

By Athanasios 05.05.2022

Review for Aquanox Deep Descent on PC

Published by THQ Nordic, and crafted by Digital Arrow, Aquanox Deep Descent goes back to the ocean, as the newest instalment in the series, this time backed by a Kickstarter fund. Early looks showed something that was good… but was just that, with nothing really standing out. Unfortunately, the same can be said for the complete product. It does nothing wrong, but it sits right smack in the middle of the fun scale. In other words, it's mediocre.

Aquanox Deep Descent tells the tale of a bunch of cryogenically frozen survivors of an era where humanity destroyed the environment, forcing those who remained to hide beneath the surface of the sea. Despite the promising setting, however, this is a pretty generic tale, with generic factions, generic characters, and generic plot twists that most will be able to see a mile away. So generic, that it's actually hard to remember any names. The main faction? United… Underwater Alliance or something. The enemy? Something-something pirates and non-US/EU submarines. The cast? Gruff Military Guy #1 and #2, High Ranking Officer Lady, Scientist Chick, and so on and forth.

Generally, this isn't the underwater Fallout it could be. This dystopia is a pretty subpar one - and that doesn't stop with the writing. Gone are the vibrant colours of the original, and in come the lifeless greys, blues, and greyish blues of AquaNox 2: Revelation - minus the dull yellows, luckily. It's not bad looking. No, no. It's just that no effort was made to create something that would stand out from the mostly dark, featureless, and monotonous vistas on offer. Some dynamic light and shadow play would really make things catch the eye too, but it just so happens that even gunfights lack the necessary spark.

Screenshot for Aquanox Deep Descent on PC

The gameplay revolves around exploration via a high-tech submarine, or DSF, which can salvage resources, and also engage in some first-person gunfights. After doing all that, one can dock in the various bases on offer, and do some minor shopping, grab whatever tasks are available, and talk with some characters in a visual novel-like manner. In essence, the eight to 12 hours that you'll need to do pretty much everything, will be spent between going back and forth these bases and the ocean itself, with the vast majority of missions being extremely simple fetch quests, with a few simple confrontations sprinkled all over the path.

Immersion-wise, the control of the DSF is great, with its purposely mechanical feel and "weight." Also, don't let the weird UI scare you. You'll be able to learn whatever there is to learn in a matter of minutes, and after that shooting, reading the various screens, or pulling off dodging manoeuvres will become second nature. This, however, fails at being that engaging. Combat remains the same from start to finish. Aim, shoot, and dodge whenever necessary. Furthermore, the missions add almost zero variety, and the ambushes that happen while at it are way too predictable, not to mention heavily scripted, with enemies appearing out of nowhere when you get close to a point of interest or grab a key item. Almost every, single, time.

Another big issue is that little to no decision-making is involved here, with players upgrading the moment the upgrades become available, with newer DSFs or weapons simply being better than the ones before them, whereas all great shooters don't just have weaker or stronger weapons, but treat their arsenals as tools, with each one having pros and cons. Here, you'll never meet enemies you can't handle, which will force you to hide, run away, or re-evaluate your strategy. Couple that with the boring story, and there's little reason to try this out.

Screenshot for Aquanox Deep Descent on PC

Cubed3 Rating

5/10
Rated 5 out of 10

Average

Aquanox Deep Descent is the "perfect" mediocre game. It does nothing bad, but nothing that good either. From the weak story, characters, and atmosphere, to the almost uninvolving gunfights, and unimaginative quests, this fails at being a big recommendation - especially to fans of the series. Oh, sure it has no competitors in the 'First-person Subaquatic Dystopian RPG' genre, but this doesn't mean it gets a free pass.

Developer

Digital Arrow

Publisher

THQ Nordic

Genre

Real Time RPG

Players

4

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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