With this episode our time with Submerged is at an end. There are still plenty of secrets to collect to fill out the story of the city, and in fact I did that in a stream the same day Submerged came out. I am definitely up for discussing what the cities story is, because some of the later stages are… odd, I can’t say I am totally confident that my interpretation is correct because some of the events that I think it talks about do not seem physically possible.
I found it kind of strange to see Miku and Taku’s backstory catch up to them inside the city, it just seems odd to have the game relay information I already have. I know what Miku did in the city, I was there I was controlling her at the time, those events are not a revelation, in general game backstory that gets revealed through play doesn’t go past the beginning without there being something new to say. Maybe it is for a returning player who just wants to look at the story rather than play through it again?
I definitely did not see the final twist coming, frankly it feels pretty deus ex machina, the remnant absorbing the changes, reverting Miku and allowing the pair to leave. It feels like a bit of a cheat to give the player a happy rather than a bitter sweet ending. Ultimately like many exploration focused games like these the story and sense of place are what the game relies on, if they grab you from the start you are likely to have a good time, if they don’t, then it is probably best to give it a miss. I was pretty keen from the start, based on the art style, the concept and my misplaced assumption that it was set in Sydney. I definitely had fun playing through it, I hope you had fun watching.
As Miku collects the supplies for Taku she slowly becomes affected by whatever is in the water and plantlife of this area. The implication is that this is the kind of thing that happened to the literally faceless Remnant that you see wandering around the city. They are definitely interested in her and her brother, but not interested in a direct confrontation. You will literally see them run and dive off of buildings rather than interact with her. It makes me wonder if in the original version of this game’s design they were intended to be treated as wandering monsters on the way to collect supplies. Instead they exist as a mysterious but obviously present observing force, like a less creepy version of the G-Man.
By this point I am very convinced that we are heading for a tragic ending. Taku may survive this and leave but I fully expect Miku to spend the rest of her days in this town slowly becoming one of its long-term inhabitants.
I really like the postcard feature, it fits very well with this kind of exploration heavy game. It also is obviously designed to encourage players to share nice screenshots that just happen to have the Submerged logo emblazoned on the bottom right hand corner. I wonder how frequently it will be used, I hope at least it will be used by more skilled hands than mine.
I did learn to appreciate the unlocked camera that it provides, later on when I was focused in collecting more of the secrets this game hides I used it to get a better viewing angle around corners and over ledges to try to find the right paths. An unlocked camera can be a very useful tool.
Somewhat unsurprisingly Taku continues to need supplies, really he needs a hospital pity there isn’t a functional one to be found in this city. There is a ruined one on the outskirts though, definitely work a look for one of the supplies we need. As I mentioned last time, it appears that the city in this game is entirely fictional. That I cannot find anything about Saaftinge Hospital on Google certainly seems to back this up, it seems that the name is a reference a place in the Netherlands known as the Drowned Land of Saeftinghe, which is hardly going to have modern looking buildings in it.
I continue to enjoy the look and feel of this game, the ruin is a pretty peaceful place. I do have some quibbles about plants that grow directly from concrete with no root system, there are many places where it is abundantly clear that the plants have been placed purely to look good from the boat. Plants that are growing out of bare concrete railings, plants growing in air and trees growing on a thin concrete slab with no sign of a root system. Most of the time it is fine but it definitely grates at points..
I am taking a brief break from Papers Please because I had the opportunity to play through Submerged by Uppercut Games, obtaining a copy via the big red Press This Button if you want a promo key. The thing that first caught my eye for this game was the thumbnail for the trailer (which frustratingly appears to have changed). This thumbnail shows the ruins of a bridge that looks remarkably like the Sydney Harbour Bridge, that combined with the Screen Australia logo made me leap to the inaccurate conclusion that this game must be set in a post-apocalyptic Sydney.
I have never seen a game that would let me wander around Sydney, let alone a post-apocalypse version so I was really eager to get my hands on this game. That this assumption turned out to be completely unfounded is by far my greatest disappointment from this game. Instead I had to cope with a mysterious, fictional city whose history was available to me only through collecting books that would provide me with individual images I could piece together to tell its story. It turns out that I am definitely weak to this kind of thing.