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E3 2010: Hydrophobia Impressions

Welcome to the Queen of the World. A city sized ship designed to deal with over population by providing housing for the excess populace. You take control of Kate Wilson, an engineer aboard the ship. When answering a routine maintenance call Kate is forced into a fight for survival as terrorists attack the vessel. These terrorists call themselves the Malthusians and they believe the solution to over population is to kill as many people as possible, starting with those aboard the Queen of the World. However the terrorists are the least of Kate’s worries. The attacks have created deadly hazards aboard the ship. It’s now your job to navigate her through flooded decks, electrical fires, and terrorist gunfire in an effort to put a stop to the Malthusians mass murder.

This is Hydrophobia, a survival-adventure game developed by Dark Energy Digital. Hydrophobia features a water physics engine that far surpasses any water engine I’ve seen to date. Water advances and recedes, evening out or sloshing around. Waves form in the wake of explosions and objects are pushed and pulled as the current changes. It’s even more amazing when all of this occurs in real-time. Be it when you’re traversing the ships many corridors or engaging in a heated firefight, water constantly changes around you.

In Hydrophobia water does more than look pretty. It has an active role in a number of gameplay elements. While I was navigating the ship there was a constant sense of urgency as each room I entered could flood at any moment. In one such instance I was walking through a narrow corridor when all of a sudden the doors along the walls burst open and water started pouring into the room. As the water quickly rose an emergency door at the end of the hall slowly closed. I had to react quickly. I made a mad dash for the door, quickly rolling under it as it shut behind me. This wasn’t a QTE event. I had full control of Kate and I was told that if I didn’t make it to the door I would have been trapped in the flooded corridor. The added variable of water effectively changes the tedium I usually expect from exploration. It forced me to adapt and react quickly to an unstable environment.

Water does more than change exploration. In combat it can be a deciding factor. In another corridor I was facing off against a small group of terrorists. They were dug in pretty deep at the end of the hall and their automatic weapons far surpassed my dinky pistol. To turn this situation to my favor I decided to add water to the equation. I shot out a window and water quickly filled the corridor, stopping at about waist height. Explosive barrels began to float towards enemy cover, granting me a few explosive kills. But it doesn’t end there. Flaming oil thrown from the barrels floated on the surface of the water. Some of it floated behind enemy cover, effectively driving them out of their hidey-holes and into my bullets.

Diving underwater also allows you to move from cover to cover without the fear of being shot en route. Surprisingly the enemies will use this tactic against you as well. I watched as one of them dove below the water in an attempt to position himself behind me. When this happened I became aware of the double edged sword that water was in combat. Though it offers you many benefits this doesn’t mean those benefits are exclusive to you. The enemies will also take advantage of water in their efforts to kill you.

While I was impressed by the possible implications of water in combat and exploration I was left with one concern. As you should have probably noticed I mention "corridors" quite often. That’s because corridors is what most of the floor demo consisted of. I know the argument can be made that maintenance corridors in a ship are bound to look the same. Still I’m hoping they take advantage of the city sized ship by expanding outside of its inner corridors and perhaps taking some of the action out on the deck.

When I finally stepped away from the booth I had to remind myself that what I had just played was a downloadable title. It baffled me. First I couldn’t believe they managed to cram this graphically impressive game into a download. Second I couldn’t believe they didn’t think of making a full fledged disc game. With that extra room I can only imagine how much better the game could have looked. Disc or not I’m sure Dark Energy Digital could really change the way we look at water physics with Hydrophobia.

Comments

  • Zladko 9 years, 3 months ago

    Has Brad fapped to this yet?

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  • vtec2slo 9 years, 3 months ago

    I honestly love the water textures for this. I can't wait til I play this for my self.
    -Alex

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  • Rawkmaster 9 years, 3 months ago

    I still cant believe this is under 1 gig

    i want to see what this game could have been if they had a bigger budget

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  • Warpedpixel 9 years, 3 months ago

    I came buckets...

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  • Jalabhar 9 years, 3 months ago

    I've been looking forward to this for a while now. Even though early videos of it looked somewhat janky, the water effects always looked good and the game certainly seems unique. Good to hear that is turning out well.

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  • SiShenDao 9 years, 3 months ago

    I hope this doesn't turn out like Bayonetta where the ps3 edition is inferior the the 360 version, because I definitely want this game now.

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  • Draslushee 9 years, 3 months ago

    Okay, I honestly had no idea that this was a download title until the end of the article. I must say, I'm quite impressed. It's an interesting take on the survival game to say the least, and I hope it winds up being a wholly enjoyable experience.

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  • kd_battletoad 9 years, 3 months ago

    This game has the coolest water effect than any other games out there i've seen. Cant wait to play this game.

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  • aptom 9 years, 3 months ago

    Damn Corvus i wish i was able to see some demo footage of this with g4 e3 coverage lazy bastard thanks for bringing this up i wanted to see some screen shots after the guys had talk about it this looks beautiful and a change of game-play will hopefully be a refreshing as diving into a cold pool on a hot day

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  • Sinisi 9 years, 3 months ago

    i really want to try this the water physics look really cool

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  • xtenext 9 years, 3 months ago

    I hoping this game will be able hold player's attentions . I think that is why it's a DL game, because it would be hard to make a game, that mainly showcases a nice water engine, too long without seeming repetitive. Also, it needs to have a good story, or else it's really going to have trouble hooking people in.

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  • SomethingSnappy 9 years, 3 months ago

    looks really cool

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  • zzman305 9 years, 3 months ago

    Like the rendering of the water...

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  • patryndemigod 9 years, 3 months ago

    The game both looks and sounds amazing, especially for a download, can't wait to try it out for myself. The sense of dread and what sounds like decent AI definitely put it on my list

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  • Delta_03 9 years, 3 months ago

    I was utterly amazed at the water physics and the gameplay itself but when I heard about this being a downloadable title, my jaw dropped to the ground plus, the first thing I look at in games is the water as i've always loved the aesthetic appeal of it, the way it glitters in the sun and even the smallest ripples in the waters surface and this game seems to do it perfectly so I cannot wait for its release.

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  • s1yfox 9 years, 3 months ago

    This looks simply amazing!cant wait to get my hands on it!

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  • Whats that?..oh it's your face!!! 9 years, 3 months ago

    I'm in the same boat as you guys (haha > how unfunny was that?!?). I had no idea this was a downloadable title either. It's amazing to even consider you can get something like on download!...amazingly impressed!

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  • twilight1125 9 years, 3 months ago

    I heard about it from a friend and from what i have seen it looks amazing. I think this is going to be one of the few truly original and new games that we will see.

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  • Warpedpixel 9 years, 3 months ago

    This now my number 2 most anticpated game I can't belive i haven't heard of this yet.

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  • PancakeChef 9 years, 3 months ago

    This is one of my most anticipated downloadable games, I love games that have physics that you can interact with and it looks like you'll be able to do so in some interesting ways as well.

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  • Hegs94 9 years, 3 months ago

    I'm not one for DL games, generally I pass them off as 2 hour little things that are just time fillers. But this game is changing my mind, and fast. I really can't wait for this game.

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  • Deluxlux 9 years, 3 months ago

    This is BP at its worst.

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  • JamSandwhich! 9 years, 3 months ago

    @twilight1125, agreed!..I've had a look around and there's nothing else like what this game is doing that comes close too!. True fluid combined with it being compared to other AAA...and it's on Arcade!...Insane!.

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  • DestroytheTyrant 9 years, 3 months ago

    This loks fantastic even for the guy that hates all water levels in games.

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  • Eddie! 9 years, 3 months ago

    I read on a article somewhere that they have included something called challenge rooms!. From what I read, it's kinda like Horde and that's never a bad thing in my book!....but with Water Powers...no idea what they are but it sounds ace fantastic!!.

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  • McVittie! 9 years, 3 months ago

    My 'Impressions' of this are...a very much WANT!!!!. It's amazing - the leaps and bounds that XBLA and digital downloads have achieved in only the last few years. Suffice to say - im majorly impressed!!!!.

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  • Bruce Wayne! 9 years, 2 months ago

    I'm loving everything im hearing about this title!. It looks like it's offering so much for for an XBLA title!. It looks sweet!!!. Lead character goood!.., Water tech gooood!, Amazing graphics on XBLA goood!, things blowing up!...gooood!.

    What's not to like?! - Awesome times!

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