Late to the Party: Depth

Price I paid: Played it during a free weekend.

Available on: PC

My introduction to online PvP games was Alien Vs Predator. Two friends and I would take turns, switching to the next player upon death. I played the aliens almost exclusively, learning then that I loved man vs monster games, especially when I could be the monster. So when I saw Depth, a diver-eating simulator, was free to play for the weekend, I cleared a few gigs on my hard drive and gave it a shot.

The use of three-dimensional space is what sets Depth apart from other PvP games. Both teams move around and utilize the space in attacking or defending. Despite the idea of fast-paced movement in a fully 3d environment getting my stomach ready to flip before the match even began, I found it to be clean and not at all disorienting. I wish I could explain why, but I can’t for some reason. It just worked for me. Well done, developers.

Another nice aspect of the game is that you can choose to play each match as a shark, a diver, or you can let the game decide. Sometimes, you just want to snack on divers, and I’m glad the game let me do that.

 2015-07-12_00008 The divers start off in a nice takeout contai- I mean, safety cage.

Depth has two game modes: Sharks Vs Robbers and Tempt a Megalodon by Getting in Its Face and Shooting It Point-Blank with a Pistol. In Sharks Vs Robbers, four humans follow a robotic sub around as it retrieves things from four spots while two sharks try not to get diving equipment stuck in their teeth as they devour the divers. The other game mode is pretty self-explanatory. One person is a megalodon, and everyone else is a diver trying to kill it. If you kill it, you become the megalodon until someone kills you.

Within the two game types, there isn’t much variety of game play. In the Sharks vs Robbers, divers follow the robot, hunker down while it does its thing, and then shoot sharks when they show up for a snack. The sharks swim around, trying to find the best way to get to the divers without getting a face full of harpoons. Because the ratio is always four divers and two sharks, well-placed and coordinated divers can pretty much crush the sharks no problem, or at least that was how it appeared in my limited time playing. Unfortunately, that scenario is rather boring for both teams.

With the megalodon, the best strategy I found was rushing the megalodon and shooting him. You might die, but you respawn quickly, and there isn’t much to do (that I found) other than rushing it. However, you respawn quickly in both game types, which kept the pacing fast.

2015-07-12_00010The murky atmosphere adds to the shark’s foreboding presence.

My time as a diver was uneventful. As a shark, I had more fun. The sharks seemed a bit more dynamic, but it could be because I love playing the monsters in people vs predator type games. Unfortunately, all of the divers looked the same to me, so I could never prioritize my attacks. If one diver had the assault rifle and had blown me away five times in a row, I just had a one in four chance of snagging the right diver and a three-fourths chance of being blown apart by bullets.

Sharks see where people are by their outlines, even through walls. This always lets the shark know where to go, removing the need to search the environment. Given the size of each level, this is a huge plus. However, telling which side of a wall a diver is hugging can sometimes get troublesome.

After  mauling players and taking damage, sharks can regain their health by eating seals that swim around the level. But holy seacow, those seals make the saddest noise when you eat them. If you have a heart, you will feel like a bad person for eating them.

There’s also no tutorial, as far as I could tell, so I have several unanswered questions about some of the mechanics and abilities in it.

2015-07-12_00004Another issue I had with the game. Here I have 110 evolution points and no idea how to spend them after my third upgrade. What do I do?

Despite the fun I had thrashing divers around in my maw, there wasn’tenough to keep my interest past the free weekend. For $24.99, I expect more (but I am a cheapskate). Free weekends got me to purchase other games, such as Chivalry, and four packs of beast vs buffet games, like Orion: Prelude, were cheap enough to get my money without a free weekend. But Depth lacked too much content to get my money.

That’s really sad, because I had fun playing it. What the game offered was creative and enjoyable, but unless they made some serious content updates, I doubt I would keep having fun. If the idea alone is enough of a reason for you to want to try it, then snag it when it goes on sale. For me, there are too many other games I want to try to spend that much money on it.

4/10 enjoyed playing Shark Week Simulator for a few hours.

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