Song of the Deep
Game review on Playstation 4
David Hull / Sun 31st Jul 2016
306 views / 2 bites
OVERVIEW Song of the Deep, a side scrolling, underwater experience weaves storytelling and gameplay into a sweet, yet simple package.
For years, Merryn's father has told tales of his adventures on the sea. So when one day her father does not return from his voyage, Merryn makes it her mission to construct her own submarine and find him. As Merryn unravels the mystery to her dad's disappearance, she begins to discover just how real his tales of monsters and ancient underwater cities really are.
Guided by the gentle Irish voice of the narrator, Song of the Deep presents its tale in short sketched slides as well as voice over during travels. The plot is soft and appealing at first, but after travelling for so long in the same areas, the draw to learn what comes next becomes tiring. Often at times I forgot the entire point of the storyline, only remembering when a mysterious glove was found that possibly belonged to Merryn's father.
Video games and underwater gameplay never seem to mesh well. Finding that balance between manoeuvrability and effect of being underwater has been ever elusive. Song of the Deep's desire to focus on exploration and discovery over combat and fast paced battles are what allow it to work.
Guiding your submarine through ancient underwater cities and wreckages is smooth, responsive and engaging; whilst combat is peppered throughout as more of a roadblock than any sort of challenge. Your craft can also be upgraded by collecting treasure and coins that are exchangeable with a friendly hermit crab for upgrades to your vessel.
Most serve as tools to aid in your travels instead of simple weapon enhancements. Eventually, Merryn can even leave her Sub, clad in a new wetsuit, and explore tighter spaces than she could before.What starts to hurt the experience is the lack of variety and tedium.
Despite being enjoyable, floating through the deep in your submarine and discovering all the little treasures and puzzles, there's not much more. The story gets lost in the exploration and the exploration gets lost in the lack of drive to really do anything. There's no real threats to Merryn and nothing truly spectacular to discover outside of an old wreck.
Merryn's tale is brought to you in sketches depicting her time with her father, listening to his stories before bed or waiting for him, candle alight at the peak of a cliff. In gameplay the oceanic blues are accompanied by Rayman-esque enemies mixed with more traditional denizens of the deep such as jellyfish.
Whilst the game may not focus specifically on combat, jabbing at the same jellyfish model for hours becomes a bore and many of the backdrops, whilst intriguing, fade out of thought very quickly. In terms of technical achievements there are little to no faults. The only load time is quite long, but being a single map that can be travelled through with no additional loading, this isn't a problem.
From the moment Song of the Deep begins, the restful, tranquil score takes the lead. Everywhere you go there's a wonderful or eerie tune to follow. Perhaps it doesn't energise the gameplay, being so comforting, but it works and definitely lifts the experience.
The muffling of sound underwater is an effective little side note of the experience. Rapid movement, torpedoes, are distorted and with no real sound to speak of outside of these, the void can be filled with the aforementioned music.
Song of the Deep is a laid back, if at times dull game that will be ideal for young children or anyone desiring solid underwater gameplay. The lack of variety given the Irish mythos is a missed opportunity and could have led to some much more heart pounding or challenging moments for Merryn.
Thus, if your intent is to fight some underwater Leviathans, then you're looking in the wrong place. However anyone seeking a relaxing game to kill a few hours would definitely enjoy Song of the Deep.