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Posted by drew10 on Dec 20, 2010
News: Hydrophobia to get flooded with updates

News: Hydrophobia to get flooded with updates

We at Game4anything have always been of the mindset that game development should be a two-way process. Some games companies don’t share our views as highlighted by our very own Mr Niggles in one of his rants about the industry as a whole you can read it here!

However Hydrophobia creators Dark Energy Digital have taken it to a whole new level. Stung by the criticism Hydrophobia received from press and gamers alike (We gave it 6/10 in our review here!)the team at Dark Energy have not sat back and licked their wounds, feeling all sorry for themselves, no sir. Instead they have taken on-board all of the comments and set about releasing an update of immense proportions, titled Hydrophobia Pure. The update will be free to all those who bought the original yet new adopters will now be able to get this new version of the game for a mere 800MS points.

What is in this update oh lords of Game4anything? I hear you cry. Well, pretty much every aspect of the game has been overhauled, from the physics, controls, graphics, everything!

Pete Jones, joint creative director at Dark Energy said, “Thanks to the bespoke procedural technology and data driven architecture of the InfiniteWorlds TM engine, we’ve been able to cram a huge amount into a tiny patch – to be honest we didn’t think it was possible to make as many changes as we have. The camera and control changes alone makes it play so differently; it’s a whole new experience. We have listened to what the community liked and disliked about the game; we know we didn’t get everything right first time around but we have taken this time to refine the experience.”

Here is a video highlighting some of the new features and changes made to the game:

And here is a full list of the updates and it does make for some pretty impressive reading:

Improved Graphics

  • Character dynamic self-shadowing
  • Enhanced lighting
  • Improved textures
  • Better water spray effects
  • Improved water reflection and refraction
  • Enhanced electricity effects
  • Environmental geometry tweaks
  • Additional video texture work

Physics Enhancements

  • Increased number of dynamic objects
  • More realistic character water resistance
  • Explosive forces re-balanced

Overhauled Camera System

  • Camera positioned closer to character
  • Improved tracking of the action
  • Enhanced collision detection
  • Better FOV for framing the action

Improved Movement and Animations

  • More fluid and precise character control
  • Improved character animations add realism
  • Enhanced animation transitions make the character more ‘weighty’

New Climbing System

  • Continuous hand-over-hand climbing system added
  • All new, more realistic animations
  • More fluid climbing controls and movement

Platforming

  • Automatic ledge grab functionality
  • Improved swing mechanic
  • Improved jump-from-balance mechanic

Control Layout

  • Switch to a more traditional control layout
  • A to jump
  • LT to aim
  • RB to detonate enhanced Gel and Energy Rounds

Dialogue Re-Edit

  • Dialogue has been pruned
  • Irritating or extraneous lines cut

Cutscenes Re-edit

  • Cutscenes reviewed and edited
  • Overly long cutscenes shortened

Collectables

  • Emails and E-Books no longer interrupt gameplay when collected
  • Collectables re-positioned throughout levels
  • Points awarded for collectables tweaked

New Waypoint System

  • Waypoints for every objective and sub objective
  • Choose permanent on-screen waypoints or new MAVI only mode
  • Waypoints added for Ciphers and Frequency Keys with colour coding
  • Corpses with Frequency Keys glow orange for easy identification

Map Improved

  • Improved controls and button layout
  • Default view of Kate’s position
  • Toggle Kate’s position / objective location manually
  • Easier to navigate

Prompts

  • Prompts re-worked for better clarity
  • Prompt triggering reviewed and improved

Tutorials

  • Video tutorials cut back
  • Improved in game tutorials
  • New tutorial puzzles

Wading Improved

  • Enhanced physical character feedback from water forces
  • Improved transitions between wade states

Swimming Improved

  • Improved swimming controls, more finely balanced
  • 180 degree swim turn removed
  • Improved camera behaviour when swimming
  • Underwater combat system streamlined

Puzzles

  • Improved feedback for Cipher and Frequency Keys
  • Ciphers re-positioned for greater accessibility
  • New mission orders related to Ciphers add to the backstory
  • Existing puzzles refined where possible
  • New electric puzzle elements added

Damage System Improved

  • Kate no longer unfairly damaged/killed by unseen elements
  • Fire/electrical damage reduced
  • Combat damage re-balanced

Overhauled Damage Feedback

  • Monochrome health feedback system implemented
  • Enhanced directional damage indication
  • Heartbeat force feedback and SFX added
  • Audio ducking system improves health feedback

All New Oxygen Feedback System

  • Oxygen bar added
  • Heartbeat force feedback and SFX added
  • Phobia effect for oxygen feedback enhanced
  • Phobia audio hallucinations added
  • FOV pulse added for drowning feedback
  • Phobia warping effect removed from non-submerged sections

Overhauled Combat System

  • Automatic weapon holster/unholster system
  • Seamless integration of combat / non-combat systems
  • Improved aim reticule
  • Aim remapped to LT
  • Destructible objects highlighted more clearly
  • Destructible objects easier to hit
  • A greater supply of ammo throughout the levels
  • AI improved and enemies rebalanced
  • More enemies and more engaging combat design

Weapons Improved

  • Sonic Rounds overheat removed
  • Sonic Rounds charge time halved
  • Sonic Rounds do more damage to NPCs and are lethal
  • Multiple Gel and Energy Rounds can be deployed simultaneously
  • Deployed Gel/Energy rounds can be detonated as a group

All New Cover System

  • Smoother transitions in and out of cover
  • Easier and more intuitive to get in and out of cover
  • Toggle cover whether armed or unarmed
  • All new animations make cover system more realistic

Checkpoints and Reloading

  • Checkpoint positions reviewed and improved
  • More checkpoints
  • Automated and faster reload after death

Levels and Game Balance

  • Vent behaviour improved
  • General level design tweaks
  • AI numbers and positioning improved
  • Ammo amount and placement improved
  • Collectable placement improved
  • Gameplay balance improved throughout

Value

  • Price dropped to just 800 Microsoft points
  • Trial extended to allow players to sample more of the game for free

It is an unprecedented move and one which we hope will make Hydrophobia the game it came so close to being. We will of course be reviewing Hydrophobia Pure in the very near future.

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