DISASTER REPORT / Agetec / PS2

Like spiritual predecessor S.O.S. for the SNES, Disaster Report is a great concept killed by the fact that it's a massive pain to actually play.

You start out as a reporter headed to his first day on the job at a paper on manmade Stiver Island. However, an earthquake strikes at the absolute worst possible time, while you're on the bridge over the ocean. After being knocked out for nearly a day, you wake up and have to navigate the crumbling bridge, then start looking for a way offa this rock. No zombies, no mutants, just you v.s. tempestuous nature as it shakes stuff you're trying to walk on and occasionally drops heavy objects in your direction. As well as making every single bus and tractor trailer in the vicinity crash lengthwise across roadways somehow, completely blocking them.



Interaction with the game world is a pain in the balls right from the jump. The right analog stick sits there forlornly, serving no use whatsoever, while thoughtless camera angles keep you from seeing the pit-strewn environs around you. Technical limitations weren't a problem in adding right-stick camera control since the environments are entirely in 3D and you can stop to look around via fixed first-person view by holding down Triangle, just apparent laziness or lack of forethought on the part of the designers and programmers (the sequel, Raw Danger, apparently does it just fine). So as you bumble about these decaying environs with often the worst possible view of the dangers all around you, you also move slow as balls. Walking is slow as fuck, particularly given the scale of the screens you have to make your way through. Stopping and dragging the first-person view around is also slow. And if you want to hold down O to run just to move at a reasonable rate of speed? You burn up your "water meter", which already depletes at a ridiculous rate. This guy literally can barely go five minutes without quaffing half a liter (never stops to have a piss either ... can't be good for him). A "stamina bar" of some sort in a game like this is perfectly reasonable, but the one they chose is both cumbersome and ridiculously unrealistic.



None of this is helped by the fact that the game looks like a budget Dreamcast game rather than something that belongs on the PS2. There's no music at all in most areas, which is OK as an aesthetic choice for building tension, but given the abhorrent voice acting and low quality of everything else I get the sense that decision was more about $$$ than artistic direction. The game also suffers from a crappy save structure that only lets you save at checkpoints that are way too far apart (and generally can't be returned to).

Videos :

* Gameplay Video

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