Ever wanted to experience deep feelings of loneliness and helplessness in outer space? Well, now you can, thanks to the combined efforts of developer Three One Zero and publisher 505 Games who late last month launched a new title called Adrift. Also known as ADR1FT to l33t speakers, the game is a very interesting first-person space adventure created with virtual reality in mind, though the title works pretty good on PC as well. Today we’re going to talk exclusively about the PC version so keep that in mind while you follow me on this immersive yet surprisingly relaxing story of catastrophe in space called ADR1FT.
At first glance, it seems very easy to compare this game to the movie Gravity as the two are very similar in scope and concept. One might even say that they are too similar for this to be a mere coincidence. As it turns out, however, Director Adam Orth claims that he and his team conceived ADR1FT well before Gravity came out and that the game was actually inspired by a very different and personal series of events. Just a couple of hours into the game we do indeed come to the realization that the two stories are very different, with the movie focusing on emotions and the human element as the protagonists struggle to survive in space while ADR1FT is more about your journey as an astronaut with no memory of the events that lead to the destruction of the space station in which you find yourself floating at the beginning of the game.
While your ultimate goal is to repair the only remaining escape vehicle and return back to Earth, ADR1FT is a perfect example of a story where the journey feels so much more interesting that the destination. Conceptually, ADR1FT resembles a puzzle game more than anything else as you wonder around the wreckage looking for the clues you need to piece together in order to repair the shuttle and find out what happened to the space station and the rest of your crew. The space setting and zero gravity mechanic certainly make ADR1FT feel more unique than regular puzzle games, but at the end of the day you will spend most of the time completing puzzles, which works against the game a lot of the time. Particularly, the objectives are mostly fetch quests that won’t be too much of an issue to complete, however, the main drawback here is that ADR1FT focuses very little on exploration instead of turning it into a major selling point.
It’s easy to see why ADR1FT was made a part of the Oculus Rift launch line-up because this is one of those titles that can convince people to buy a new platform based solely on how it looksAlthough the plethora of pieces of wreckage are just begging to be explored, there’s ultimately no reason to do so because there’s nothing to find there aside from the occasional audio log or other small items left over by the crew. In addition, ADR1FT features a rather interesting hidden sense of urgency where you don’t really need to hurry to complete your objectives, but you are constantly pressed to find oxygen to replenish your limited supply and repair stations to fix your suit. While this adds a lot of realism to the game, it also essentially dissuades you from exploring the world as the game always pushes you forward towards your main objective. Granted, if you’re looking for a game that realistically depicts survival in space under extreme conditions ADR1FT is definitely one of the best choices out there hands down, however, I can’t help but feel that the developers missed a lot of opportunities here to make the game truly special when they decided not to focus more on exploration.
Having said that, you’d definitely not be making a mistake by checking out this game because it has plenty going on for itself. The Unreal Engine 4 graphics, in particular, are absolutely stunning and do a stellar job at immersing you into this world while the music can be both soothing and downright creepy depending on where you are in the game. The music can get a bit repetitive and obnoxiously loud every now and again, but for the most part the soundtrack does a good job at complementing and great aesthetics. It’s easy to see why ADR1FT was made a part of the Oculus Rift launch line-up because this is one of those titles that can convince people to buy a new platform based solely on how it looks, but even compared to the wide range of graphically impressive games found on PC, ADR1FT is bound to stand out for many people thanks to its wonderful graphics.
As far as the actual gameplay is concerned, there are a number of things that could have been done better. Although the short tutorial teaches you everything you need to know about maneuvering with success in zero gravity, I often found myself bumping into things and trying to find my way around in confusion as I attempted to figure out where the minimap wants me to go next. Maneuvering is made even more difficult by the fact that using the thrusters on your suit to move faster consumes oxygen, which was already problematic to begin with. Starting off with keyboard and mouse didn’t do me any favors either as ADR1FT seems to have been developed mostly with a controller in mind. Don’t get me wrong, you can definitely play this game with keyboard and mouse but it’s far from being the best experience. The game settings are also quite strange for a PC game, particularly the FOV slider which for some reason narrows your field of view as you crank it up instead of widening it.
If some of the problems described above don’t bother you, chances are pretty high that you will enjoy ADR1FT in spite of its drawbacks. Assuming you aren’t particularly interesting in exploration and just want a linear experience that still allows you to wonder off the beaten part, ADR1FT is a game that will certainly fulfill your need to immerse yourself into a space setting that constantly draws you in with its beauty. This will definitely be a hit or miss title for most people with an interest in adventure games, but I do see why ADR1Ft could potentially be very appealing for those who enjoy a good space setting. While I can’t give it a full recommendation, I think that this $20 title is worth checking out for the PC and I can only assume that it’s a must-have for VR where the experience should be much more intense. Not bad as space adventures go, but only an above average game as far as the PC is concerned.
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- Beautiful graphics enabled by Unreal Engine 4
- Realistic depiction of what wondering through space wreckage might feel like
- Smooth frame rates in spite of the huge setting
- Very little focus on exploration
- Main objectives consist mainly of fetch quests and other menial tasks
- Linear progression system
- Tends to get repetitive two or three hours in