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DoctorFinger
12-20-2010, 07:56 AM
http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5050/5277377506_9b9cee232a.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/colonyofgamers/sets/72157625637937782/)
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In the previous post I sarcastically mentioned how "shocked" I was that a popular game was getting DLC. While I won't go so far as saying I was legitimately shocked at this story, I am genuinely surprised.

Developer Dark Energy Digital has announced a major revamp of their recent Xbox Live Arcade title, Hydrophobia, almost all of which is in response to fan criticism of the game.

Hydrophobia launched in the fall with a fair bit of buzz, but to mostly negative reviews (our own Ghostbear gave it a 2.5 out of 5 (http://www.colonyofgamers.com/cogforums/showthread.php?t=19867)). The complaints about the game weren't minor or confined to one area, so these were no easy fixes. Chief among the changes: improvements to the controls and cover system, as well as clearer HUD and objective systems.

In fact the changes are so profound that developer Dark Energy Digital is calling the updated game Hydrophobia Pure to try show just how different things are.

Studio managing director Pete Jones told Eurogamer (http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2010-12-20-hydrophobia-revamp-announced) that the developer read over 250 reviews of the game, and used them all to craft this patch.

All of these changes accompany a price drop, with the game going from 1200 MSP/$15 to 800 MSP/$10

For the full - and loooong - list of changes made, hit the 'more' button.

Hydrophobia Pure - Feature List

Navigation and Objectives

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

Controls, Cameras, Animation

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

Combat and Cover Systems

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

Damage and Oxygen Feedback

Damage System Improved
Kate no longer unfairly damaged/killed by unseen elements
Fire/electrical damage reduced
Combat damage re-balanced
Player is instantly returned to the world on Kate’s death

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

Platforming and Climbing

Climbing
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

Graphics

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

Wading and Swimming

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

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

Physics

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

Puzzles

Puzzle Improvements
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

Dialogue and Cutscenes

Dialogue Re-edit
Dialogue has been pruned
Irritating or extraneous lines cut

Cutscenes Re-edit

Overly long cutscenes shortened

Collectables

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

Prompts and Tutorials

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

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

Checkpoints and Reloading

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

Levels and Game Balance

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


The "Pure" patch should go live tomorrow, alongside the price drop to 800 MSP/$10. The trial version of the game has also had it's time limit extended to give gamers another opportunity to try the game.

Spigot
12-20-2010, 08:09 AM
Wow. That sounds like a game that has all of the bad stuff fixed... which makes it a game I'm actually tempted to play now! Neat!

ThievesAmongUs
12-20-2010, 08:21 AM
I'm impressed. Having played the trial of Hydrophobia, I wasn't really pleased with what I found; but, this looks to address most of my concerns/issues I had with the original version. It's a shame more dev's don't react this way to criticism of their products.

Iron Past
12-20-2010, 09:14 AM
I'm almost tempted to buy it for the sole reason of supporting this behavior. But I'll try the demo again first. :)

biosc1
12-20-2010, 09:21 AM
Now, this type of act always brings up the debate: Do you re-review a game? The old reviews will not disappear, but if this changes the game so drastically, the old reviews become incorrect. It's the reason why many don't "review" an MMO.

Iron Past
12-20-2010, 10:05 AM
If it changes the game drastically enough, I think you do another review of it. The first one shouldn't be changed since that's what the game was at release, but if you feel it deserves another review, then I see no reason not to do a different one (in this case the original review for Hydrophobia and a new one for Hydrophobia Pure).

ThievesAmongUs
12-20-2010, 10:49 AM
If it changes the game drastically enough, I think you do another review of it. The first one shouldn't be changed since that's what the game was at release, but if you feel it deserves another review, then I see no reason not to do a different one (in this case the original review for Hydrophobia and a new one for Hydrophobia Pure).

Agreed. If the changes are truly this extensive, I believe it warrants another look.

quidmonkey
12-20-2010, 10:52 AM
I'm almost tempted to buy it for the sole reason of supporting this behavior. But I'll try the demo again first. :)

Same here. Here's hoping they nailed it this time around.

Ink Asylum
12-20-2010, 11:12 AM
I was intrigued by the premise of the game so I'll give the demo a try now. Water in games has never been done all that well so it'll be interesting to see how Hydrophobia handles it.

Savok
12-20-2010, 12:24 PM
This looks like a revamp of The Witcher: Enhanced Edition proportions... and that turned out really well. I'll get the demo I think.

ElektroDragon
12-20-2010, 01:08 PM
Pure + price drop = PURCHASE!!! Awesome studio for doing this!

Superman's Dead
12-20-2010, 01:09 PM
Man. That is BALLSY. I dig it.

Ravenlock
12-20-2010, 01:47 PM
I'm a little unsure of how to take this, since the Hydrophobia devs made waves after the game's release by reacting to all the negative press they were getting in pretty much the worst way possible (http://arstechnica.com/gaming/news/2010/09/hydrophobia-developer-defends-game-attacks-critics.ars). I mean, they seriously shot themselves in the foot credibility-wise with that.

That said, if they had a genuine change of heart and decided to seriously go in and fix things, then good for them, and I'll be excited to see how it turned out.

shodan2020
12-20-2010, 02:56 PM
I'm impressed. Having played the trial of Hydrophobia, I wasn't really pleased with what I found; but, this looks to address most of my concerns/issues I had with the original version. It's a shame more dev's don't react this way to criticism of their products.

It's probably easier to do something of that magnitude with a DLC title than an actual boxed game. A lot of companies don't have the time or money to "fix" problems like this. Not that I'm at all against this, I think this is a good idea and will actually try the new demo to see if I want to purchase Hydrophobia.

Ghostbear
12-20-2010, 06:04 PM
If it changes the game drastically enough, I think you do another review of it. The first one shouldn't be changed since that's what the game was at release, but if you feel it deserves another review, then I see no reason not to do a different one (in this case the original review for Hydrophobia and a new one for Hydrophobia Pure).

Well I'm not doing another one, fool me once...

Iron Past
12-20-2010, 06:25 PM
Well I'm not doing another one, fool me once...

:)

short

MagGnome
12-20-2010, 07:58 PM
This happens fairly often on the PC, wherein a promising but problematic release is given a second chance. It's good to see this kind of revamp appearing on the consoles.

Mike Kelehan
12-20-2010, 09:30 PM
This is a great idea, because it really gives people reason to get episode 2. Nobody would get it, even if it had all of these improvements, if they played and hated episode 1.

You hear me, Too Human team?

Savok
12-21-2010, 03:09 AM
I'm a little unsure of how to take this, since the Hydrophobia devs made waves after the game's release by reacting to all the negative press they were getting in pretty much the worst way possible (http://arstechnica.com/gaming/news/2010/09/hydrophobia-developer-defends-game-attacks-critics.ars). I mean, they seriously shot themselves in the foot credibility-wise with that.

That said, if they had a genuine change of heart and decided to seriously go in and fix things, then good for them, and I'll be excited to see how it turned out.
What happens when you let women out of the kitchen.

That seems to just be one crazy bitch, while she was foaming everyone else there was listening. Be interesting to know if she still holds that position.

SenatorSpacer
12-21-2010, 03:55 AM
This sounds pretty awesome, I'll totally play through this again to see all of the changes.

Wolvie
12-21-2010, 06:31 AM
I'm a little unsure of how to take this, since the Hydrophobia devs made waves after the game's release by reacting to all the negative press they were getting in pretty much the worst way possible (http://arstechnica.com/gaming/news/2010/09/hydrophobia-developer-defends-game-attacks-critics.ars). I mean, they seriously shot themselves in the foot credibility-wise with that.

That said, if they had a genuine change of heart and decided to seriously go in and fix things, then good for them, and I'll be excited to see how it turned out.

Good LORD! That PR director had better be fired or demoted by now. That is just throwing a hissy fit at the professional level.

Anyways, I am gonna DL this today. The demo did nothing for me, so it'll be interesting to see how this patch works out. On a side note, I wish all DL game makers were like this. We made a bad product? We will fix it!

Narradisall
12-21-2010, 08:45 AM
Having played the original I enjoyed it, but it had a lot of issues and ended in a fucking annoying cliffhanger.

Put me off getting the next one. I may give the update a whirl at some point, but right now I couldn't load up that game again without wanting to kill a kitten.

Ravenlock
12-21-2010, 09:17 AM
That seems to just be one crazy bitch, while she was foaming everyone else there was listening. Be interesting to know if she still holds that position.

That's fair enough. She was their Creative Director, though. I don't know their org structure but that sounds important. (It also sounds like somebody who'd have frankly no idea whether the game was a buggy mess.) ;)

CptTripps
12-21-2010, 07:52 PM
I'm almost tempted to buy it for the sole reason of supporting this behavior. But I'll try the demo again first. :)

Same way I feel. Will try the demo first of course but they already earned some bonus points.

Spigot
12-21-2010, 09:14 PM
I'll try it because I'm afraid that if I don't their PR person will come to my house and yell at me.

quidmonkey
12-23-2010, 12:57 PM
I tried and purchased this. I didn't play the pre-patch fail, but I like what I've played so far.

Savok
12-28-2010, 08:33 AM
Finally got around to it.

It's really quite decent now, I'd probably of bought it were it not for a pet peeve. Typical "oh shit, run!" stuff but then as you're running for your life or someone elses there's over 9000 collectables hidden around place. Each with their own blocks of text to read too. It completely trashes the pacing and turns what was already teetering on the edge of silliness (creepy child singing, really?) into a full blown parody of itself.

It's as if the person in charge of the creative direction was completely out of their mind...

ElektroDragon
12-28-2010, 05:31 PM
I don't understand. You can't go back for the collectibles later?

Savok
12-28-2010, 07:46 PM
Well considering everything is on fire and/or flooding then exploding, I don't see you going back at any point.