Corpse of Discovery review
Corpse of Discovery – developed by Phosphor Games – is a game that left me in two minds. On one hand the concept of a lone seemingly dead astronaut searching for answers appeals to me, but one the other hand I found myself getting bored very quickly.
The boredom of Corpse of Discovery comes from the fact that the story is repetitive, an average mission goes like this, wake up > be confused > get mission orders and see visual of planet > put on space suit > go outside > activate A.V.A your assist Bot > collect thruster pack > Complete mission goal > While undertaking task listen to A.V.A talk > see A.V.A power down > you seemingly die > go back to start. You are basically doing this a few times until the game ends. While this repetitive the story’s saving grace is you and A.V.A.
While the story does get repetitive from a gameplay perspective I do enjoy the idea Phosphor Games are trying to create. You are an astronaut that seemingly died when the shuttle approaching an unexplored world was destroyed, and you are basically living out your dreams in some form of purgatory, the missions seem to reflect what the astronaut known as “Major” (not to be confused with The Major from Ghost in the Shell) wanted to discover during his mission, and what he feels has held him back from his potential. As you approach the end of the game it is clear that the Major knows what is happening, and as such the final mission is well odd to say the least, with some aspects of it involving a unicorn, a teddy bear, and a wormhole.
The A.V.A that explores the worlds with you also seems to be an extension of your character, as it offers constant reassurance; A.V.A is basically the main character telling himself to not accept his fate, and to fight against it. However A.V.A and the Major are not the only inhabitants of this purgatory-like world. As you explore the worlds you come across satellites that broadcast videos of the world around you, and there are Dementor like creatures flying around each world, that if you get to close to one, you will get your soul sucked out and force you back to the last checkpoint.
I think it is time to move on from the game’s story and onto other aspects of the game. Let’s talk about the planets and their procedurally generated landscape. The short answer is that they are hit and miss. Rocky planets with little to no vegetation are hassle free and a joy to explore while planets with a flourishing ecosystem are a nightmare. Every time my character re-awoke I had my fingers crossed for a dry radiation-soaked world because those worlds were less likely to get me killed. The reason why I say the foliage-rich planets are a nightmare is due to the fact that the tall grass and objects that you may or not clip through hide deep pits that can kill you (sometimes the grass actually floats above these pits.
If you are wondering about the size of each world, well they do seem pretty large, but don’t think about exploring unless you want A.V.A to hound you until you start walking back to the flashing objective marker. Personally I would have loved to have been able to explore each world without any annoyance, maybe in some form of New Game plus mode where you could explore each planet and find each little-hidden object.
There is also one major nitpick for me regarding the planets and that is the fact one mission had me explore the landscape of a gas giant (similar to Neptune), now my understanding of planets is pretty basic, but I think the extreme pressure exerted by a gas giant would not only crush you, and the idea of a landmass would be close to impossible or maybe I’m just over analysing it. However, I did like the idea of barren planets having solar radiation that can kill you if you stay in the sun for too long.
Before I forget, some planets have platforming sections. These sections are rare and are pretty simple, well simple if you know that using up all your trust at once is a bad idea. The platforming does add some fun to the constant wandering around.
Now, let’s talk controls. First off, there are no key rebindings, no tutorial and no information on how to control your character. Thankfully the game’s controls are very basic with your w a s d movement, e to interact, shift to sprint, and space to jump/activate thrusters.
With regards to game length, it took me only three hours to finish the game, and well while this might be considered a bit short; I feel three hours is the right about of time for this game. If the game was any longer I feel it would have overstayed its welcome. Although, I have to point out my three hours were focused on completing the objectives of each planet, and I only did limited exploration, so in theory you could get another hour out of the game.
As I stated earlier a New Game plus option based around free roam exploring each planet would have been nice, and it would have brought a lot more replay value to the game.
Graphically the game is solid, with my middle of the range computer been able to handle the game on its High settings with draw distance set to four. However, when I decided to change the game’s graphics to medium I did notice several issues with textures appearing in wrong places and objects been visible through terrain. If you are interested in PC games with a lot of graphical options you will find yourself out of luck as the game only offers low, medium and high settings, so if you like choosing your AA etc. you won’t find it here in this game.
The audio in Corpse of Discovery was hit and miss to me with aspects such as walking through the ground station giving me a splitting headache. The voice work was mixed as some characters like A.V.A were engaging while others such as the voice in the station was repetitive to the point of insanity.
Corpse of Discovery is a game with an interesting concept that is let down by its repetitiveness, a limited options menu, and some annoying terrain.
SCORE: 6.5/10 (above average)
+ Great concept
+ Diverse worlds
– Feels repetitive
– No replay value
– Limited options menu
– Foliage rich planets are a nightmare to navigate
|Phosphor Games||Phosphor Games||Adventure||–||PC||August 25, 2015|
*A review code was provided by the game’s publisher.*
If you are interested in purchasing Corpse of Discovery, please visit the game’s Steam page.
Author: Aaron Meehan
Hi, I’m the creator of SG Gaming Info. When I’m not working on my writing or creating content for this site’s YouTube channel, I like to relax and enjoy character driven story games.