Before I even start talking about the game, the first thing that entered my mind as I read the game description was Tom Hanks’s movie, Cast Away. If you have seen the movie, you will find this game based on a very similar concept.
The game is developed by the Beam Team Games. Beam Team Games is an Australian studio that launched their survival game, Stranded Deep, for the PC platform, in 2015. Almost five years later, when the world is looking on to the 9th generation of consoles, Beam Team Games have introduced Stranded Deep for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One as well.
When the game begins, you will find yourself in a very comfortable environment. You will be chilling at the back of your private jet, with a few Champaign bottles lying around. Life is good! However, if you have played Forest (another survival-based game developed by Endnight Games), you might be holding on to your dear life already. Well, you have heard it, the next thing you know is that your plane starts to shake up and down, which I believe is a very unrealistic effect. Anyways, soon enough you see a big hole, in the wall of the airplane, right in front of you.
In the next cutscene, you will find yourself in water and clinging to your life. However, you will soon be able to find yourself a raft and make an escape to the nearest island. This is where the actual game begins, buckle up!
Graphics are usually the selling point of an open-world survival game. The developers have done a pretty good job on the graphics of the Stranded Deep. The colors are sharp, real looking, and bright. Every minor detail on the islands is visible. The ocean looks livelier than ever. But, if we move to the very beginning of the game, when the plane crashes into the ocean, there are no visible aspects that show that you are in the water. The swimming gesture of your player is the only way you can tell that you are now at the mercy of the ocean. Other than that, the graphics are a go-go.
Although the game shares a lot of similar aspects with the Forest, the differentiating element is that this is a comparatively slower-paced game. There will be no beasts or cannibals waiting on shore to gobble you up. Hence, the element of rush has been minimized. However, there will be bosses making an appearance later in the game. According to my estimate, there are around four bosses in the game. You will encounter the first one while you are swimming towards the plane, with the parts, to get it running. The bosses are not something that is out of the world. They are pretty much the creatures you need to be on a lookout for in the sea and on the island, such as whales and eels.
The first impression of the game is that it makes you feel like you are on a vacation, rather than clinging to your dear life. Remind yourself that you are not on a vacation and focus on your survival.
Once you have made it to the island, the game will present a little tutorial to teach you a bit about survival instincts before leaving you unattended.Now, you are free to go exploring on the island. Once you start exploring, you will come to a realization that the size of the islands is pretty small. I don’t know if this was done on purpose from the developer’s side or they were just running out of time. Anyways, as you sail from island to island you will come across various interesting treasures, such as ship wreckages. If I had to sum it up, there are just a handful of things you can perform over at the islands. You can craft, collect crafting material, feed yourself, keep yourself hydrated and rest. That is pretty much it. There is a little attention to detail here, you will also have to keep yourself protected from the sun. long exposures to sunlight will result in death, however, if your health starts to decrease after you have spent a lot of time in the sunlight, you can always head over to a shade and your life will replenish instantly.
The thing that bummed me the most was that the game can only be saved once you are inside a shelter. This cannot mean good news for someone who has a limited time. Once you enter into the game, it could take hours to go through the tutorial and then craft yourself a shelter. Since I have started talking about the drawbacks, it would have been nice if a health bar would be integrated somewhere over the screen. You will have to take a look at your watch every time you need statistics. Another interesting kick to the game is that there is no map either. This was done intentionally by the developers and they wanted you to give you a pure survival experience.The only way to see a map, is to learn the map. There is no other way.
An interesting part of the console version is that there is an end to the campaign mode of the game, which was not present in the original game, developed for PC. You will find a huge shipwreck in the middle of the ocean and inside that shipwreck will be an airplane. You will need to find parts and fix that airplane in order to make an escape.
You will come across three kinds of weather in the game. You will either have a broad daylight, rain, storm, or a fog.
The game seems like a carbon copy of the Forest. The only difference is between the settings of the two games, the rest of the gameplay feels very similar. Of all the imperfections present in the game, they do not make the game unplayable or frustrating. However, I do look forward to seeing a multiplayer option for the upcoming updates to the game, just like its competitor. Till then, have fun guiding you Bear Grylls around!