INSOMNIA: The Ark First Impressions

So…where should I start? Right, INSOMNIA: The Ark is not a good game, not a complete disaster but damn the game feels outdated. Of course this is not a Triple-A game, the goal on Kickstarter was seventy thousand US dollars and that was a couple years ago. Mono Studio are the developers behind the game and if I am not mistaken this is their first game. Published by Hero Craft which mostly publishes video games for mobile phones; honestly this feels like a mobile game and plays like a mobile game. Did I mention the game costs thirty dollars? No I didn’t because it sounds ridiculous. No one should pay more than ten dollars, at least as it is now. I am not saying this is the worst game ever but usually unfinished games do not cost more than ten dollars.

Let’s start by getting the good parts out of the way. Guess what? There are none. Seriously I couldn’t find a single thing I liked in this game and I’m a major fan of the post-apocalyptic sci-fi genre. First of all it looks and plays weird, there is some kind of blur effect which I could not get rid off and the mouse control felt extremely sluggish, like there was some form or mix of acceleration and smoothing.

There is no control remapping and you cannot change the resolution of the game…I mean seriously? While the game runs pretty decent without any drops from 60fps on ultra settings there are some areas that dropped the framerate down to 27fps. Even when dropping everything to low I couldn’t see any framerate change. The game does not look good so there is no excuse for the poor performance. Thankfully I had only a few crashes which mostly happened when exiting the game.

There is no voice acting in the game, everything is in text, text with boring context; not so funny jokes and a general attitude of “who gives a fuck”. This gets old way too fast and from some point on you just click the next dialogue line without caring a tiny bit. Also the introduction cinematic subtitles use the smallest font size I ever seen in a game.

While there is probably something interesting in the story the whole presentation makes it impossible to follow it with a smile. You wake up, you choose a class (laughable character creation by the way) and off you go on your merry way to punish some hungry rebel scum. While you’re doing your thing you occasionally encounter some kind of apparitions, or ghosts if you prefer, that you do not have any kind of interaction; something that will probably mean…something along the way. Having said that I really doubt the story will become better or more interesting and the lack of voices and facial expressions doesn’t really help.

Animations are not ok and sometimes weird things are happening like NPCs snapping to a different animation like there is no transition between them, which makes them look a bit creepy like Samara from The Ring. The melee combat is ok, it works, for the most part even if the collision detection is almost non-existent. The shooting is…I don’t know how to describe it exactly other than the movement feels like a third person shooter but the aiming feels like a coin-up arcade game, like Time Crisis or something. Even the healing is weird, you got some sort of stimpacks that you inject directly into your neck like Nuke from Robocop, ouch, that shit still gives me nightmares.

There are no quest markers, and while some people like this, including myself, let me tell you this is not fun, especially when the map sucks. You do get general directions from NPCs but as I said the dialogues are not fun. There is also untranslated text, Jesus, which was a problem for me but if you speak Russian you will probably be fine. Last thing, the gamepad controls are messed up, for some reason the right analog stick did not work and there is no analog movement, so basically there is no reason to play with a gamepad, at least for me.

I will be honest, the game does have some potential if the story improves along the way, but in my few hours I did not feel that. Of course the game needs major patching ASAP and even if that happens I highly doubt it will ever become a game worth thirty dollars, but hey, you never know right? My advice is that if you want to play this game just be patient and give it some time and of course make sure you buy it from Steam or anywhere else with a refund policy.

* On Sunday the 29th they released a 4GB patch which I did not try out so everything I described above was with the Day-One patch.

Computer Specs: Case: CoolerMaster Cosmos S CPU: i5 4440 GPU: MSI 960GTX 4GB Mobo: MSI B85-G41 RAM: G.Skill Ripjaws X 8GB HDD: Crucial 275GB MX300 PSU: Thermaltake Toughpower 1200W OS: Win7 Monitor: LG 23″ 1080p