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S&S Reviews: Datura

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Title: Datura
Format: PS3
Release Date: May 8 2012
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Developer: Plastic Studios / SCE Santa Monica Studios
Price: $10 on Playstation Network Store (7.99 for PSN Plus Members)
ESRB Rating:  E

Grab your PlayStation®Move move controller (optional) and sink into the journey of a unique artistic experience on the PSN. There’s a lot to this title that won’t be revealed here. I’ll try not to give much of the story away




Story

Datura is an interactive adventure, offering an art form few developers tap into. I immediately thought of Heavy Rain when I heard the announcement of this game because of the suspected similarities in gameplay and genre. Once in the game however I noticed numerous style differences and opted to treat the experience as a separate entity with no comparisons hindering the drama that was to unfold.

The story is swamped in mystery. It’s the glue that connects scenes and kept me focused. This presentation would be a flop if it couldn’t hold that together. You begin on a stretcher in the back of an ambulance as the mystery man himself and you control his hand. Yep, just you and your detached hand frighteningly enough (more about the hand later). The scenes stay alive as long as you want them to. It’s your world and you make the decisions. There are two happenings. Your current surroundings, a dense forest with few leads and many leaves, and your flashbacks, which appear to give the story life as well as keep u abreast with what you don’t know about yourself. There are a lot of questions asked right from the ambulance, of who you are and how these flashbacks are connected. You see, your flashbacks are prompted by particular interactions you come to encounter within the forest. Once triggered, a cut-scene introduces you to a connection you’ve had in the greater story. It’s beautifully done with smooth transitions, producing more of a suspense build-up.

You will embrace the story as it unfolds before you. That’s a definite. The matter in the memories gives you critical insight of the developer’s successful attempts to both lead you into a world of suspence as well as ensure you aren’t entirely alone.


Presentation/Gameplay

This is where the game could go from “wow” to “Woah, no way.” Your surroundings take a moment to get use to and movement a bit longer. I initially found navigation difficult as the maps created (by your unveiling of memory through the feeling of white trees) aren’t meant to show-point you anywhere specific. The realism imposed on trees and stray bark is commendable (minus stereoscopic 3D viewing) if you aren’t expecting the best game the PS3 could offer you graphically. It’s all very solid and to the point, with nothing jumping out at you in terms of the surprise element. Textures and colours are well allocated and accurate with very vague overlays sighted on the odd occasion. Nothing is wrong with the picture it just doesn't go the lengths to boost your entertainment appeal. If it did (granted that it would be very difficult to do) the cinematics would assist the drama heightening the plot in ways unfathomable.


You’re walking the whole way and tapping R2 allows a light jog. It’s not the smoothest of experiences but gets you from A to B. The Hand you control is maneuvered by different actions from your joystick. Tilting, rotating and sometimes smashing to the ground in exasperation are some of the moves you need to pull to get things done. I really wish I had a “move” to compare this experience to but I’m sure it would be smoother. The motion control itself is very accurate but in a couple of occasions I found it difficult to complete the action on a first attempt. Placement was slightly cumbersome but added to the nerves in a weird kind of way.  Before I knew it I got used to placing my hand where it needed to be to grab/push/move objects. I was amazed by the number ways my hand (Which looks like Thing from the Adam’s Family) could be used to fulfill functions. One of those moments you appreciate your PS3.
The music is a necessary addition to capturing anxiety. It is appropriately tense throughout and matches the various moods and surroundings encountered, making you appreciate silence all the more.



Final thoughts
The story is a marvelous presentation. Although quite short I know there’s more to the world that was unveiled to me. Yes I’m sure of this as there’s still some map to uncover after you reach the credits. The movement and graphics aren’t on Unchartered 3’s level, then again, neither is the price. The offering boasts a very unique way of exploration. If you enjoyed games like Journey, Flower and Heavy Rain then this is a must have. If you’re ready for a trip out of your ordinary, pick this out as well. The PSN is home to some of the most underrated exclusives in gaming. The score doesn’t reflect the experience as its difficult to portray this art in quantitative form. Let’s just say I appreciate games like these.


Final Rating: 7/10


Email: siamplante@gmail.com  
Twitter: @Lkbanner
PSN: siamplante

2 comments: Leave Your Comments

  1. Anonymous5/10/2012

    I love this game, definitely not for everyone though. I would use the dual shock instead of move though.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, agreed. Assuming you've tried with the move? Bit jealous although i've never thought of it as useful

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