STASIS

 

Genre:   Adventure

Developer:  The Brotherhood

Publisher:  Daedalic Entertainment

Released:  September 2015

PC Requirements:

  • OS: Windows Vista SP2, Windows 7 SP1, Windows 8 (32/64 bit versions)
  • Processor: 2.6 GHz (Dual Core)
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Graphics: Nvidia GeForce 405, AMD Radeon HD 5400 Series or higher
  • DirectX: Version 9.0c
  • Hard Drive: 5 GB available space
  • Sound Card: DirectX 9.0c Compatible Sound Card with Latest Drivers

Additional screenshots

 

 

by flotsam

STASIS

The Brotherhood

Looking somewhat like an old style RPG, STASIS delivers a wallop as an adventure game while reminding you of some of the better deep space shooters like Dead Space and System Shock. While it strayed a little towards the end, it delivered one hell of a grisly adventure.

STASIS takes place on the Groomlake, a space research ship owned by the Cayne Corporation decorated with blood and littered with corpses. John Marachek wakes from stasis sleep, seemingly alone and in need of medical attention. Take care of that, then tend to some ship needs, and then set off to sort out where you are and what this place is.

It isnít a friendly place. Dark, brooding, and bloody, with hints of horrible things Ė things that happened and others that might be hiding in the corners. PDAs and terminals are everywhere, shedding light on the lives of those that were here, and the events they were part of. The further you explore, the more you learn, and the true nature of the ship is revealed. The lighting, the sound, the design all pull their weight, and everything comes together to deliver the sort of atmosphere you would hope for.

The top down isometric view works well. Some scenes are full screen, others shrunk to a small tunnel or access tube in the middle of your empty black screen. This helps build a closed in and claustrophobic feeling to many parts of the game, further making the ship an unsettling place to be.

While seemingly little that was pleasant took place on the Groomlake, it isnít constantly relentless. While there are reminders all around you, you spend a lot of time just poking about and working things out in order to move further through the ship. There is tension, but it isnít such that you feel that every new location is out to get you. To the contrary, itís generally just another room, albeit a room where something unfriendly took place. This is an adventure game after all, not a FPS.

The Groomlake and its events is made all the more grim by John himself. He wants to find his wife and daughter, a distinctly simple and human desire that stands out from the inhumanity around him. He exhibits those same desires and motivations throughout, grieving for the dead and the not so dead no matter how many times he is confronted by it. It was a little melodramatic at times, but made him a person you wanted to be with.

He is also very good at conundrums and puzzles, and there are plenty. There are more of the former, and most are well integrated into situations and circumstances. Some, as always, were a little too opaque, and there were occasions when I had implements which, for instance, would easily have opened a locked toolbox (a drill and a crowbar, both of which had proved up to the task already) yet I needed to find the key. On the whole though I was well pleased, and some of the straight out puzzles were particularly good.

Give my regards to oblivion

John can die, and probably will, usually the result of misadventure when trying to solve a conundrum. There is a suitably gruesome splatter on the screen when this occurs, and you get returned to the game just prior to the fatal moment. While this occurred about half a dozen times, I donít think the deaths were unfair, in the sense that a seemingly mundane task like opening a door just happens to kill you. To the best of my recollection, there was sufficient information around to suggest that if, for instance, you are going to drill into a highly pressurised container of highly corrosive stuff, there might be some things to do first to minimise the likelihood of it ending up all over you. Do those things, and you wonít even know that death was a possibility.

Some deaths come with a Steam achievement. I got ones called dissolved, eaten, melted, fried and bang, which tells you a little about what occurred. I avoided gassed, blown up, shredded and crossfire, so clearly did the things I was supposed to for those conundrums.

Time out Ė there were nine ďachievementsĒ I wasnít even aware of dealing with suicide. Presumably I could have turned some of the implements I gathered on myself, but John was someone I wanted to help not hurt. He was also someone that didnít want to give up. I got none of them, and canít imagine why you would want to.

Time on - My favourite achievement was far more mundane. I donít really see the point of them, but I did enjoy getting a ďstompĒ, extremely reminiscent of Dead Space 2 and the way you went about searching that environment.

The whole game is played point and click, and there is much to look at and explore. Hovering your mouse over an item you can examine will produce a little subtitled description of what the thing is or whether it contains anything of interest. None of this is spoken, but speaking with other characters will be subtitled and heard, and an image of the character concerned will appear top left of screen. There arenít a lot of these (other characters to interact with), but it is far from a silent game. The ambient sound is excellent, from the noises of your actions, to the visceral squelch of falling corpses, to the scuttly things behind the walls.

John does have to do some icky things. A panel needs a retinal image to open so you can guess what you need to do. Ditto a palm print. Surgery on your own back is a little tense, and some of the visuals and events portrayed might be confronting to some. It is horror after all.

But it isnít action, despite the dying, or an RPG despite the look. As I said before, this is an adventure game, with a few fatal turns.

I mentioned a couple of games it reminded me of, and the makers themselves refer to games and movies, including Sanitarium, Aliens and Event Horizon. You will likely think of more.

STASIS does what it does really well. I had a few quibbles, plot wise (I would have ditched the insects) and otherwise, but pretty much enjoyed everything it had to offer.

Grade: A minus

I played on:

OS: Windows 7

Processor: Intel i7-3820 4GHz

RAM: 12GB Ripjaw DDR3 2133 Mhz

Video card: AMD Radeon HD 7800 2048MB

 

 

GameBoomers Review Guidelines

October 2015

design copyright© 2015 GameBoomers Group

 GB Reviews Index