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Day One: Garry's Incident

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By MrJenssen22-10-2013
BloodyFanGirl (editor)
StuntmanLT (editor)
Day One: Garry's Incident

The Defence

Developer:
Wild Games Studios
Publisher:
Wild Games Studios
Genre:
Adventure, Indie, Shooter
Release Date:
25-09-2013

The Prosecution

CPU:
Intel Core 2 Quad 2.8 GHz
AMD equivalent
VGA:
Nvidia GeForce GTX 570
AMD equivalent
RAM:
8 GB
HDD:
3 GB
DirectX:
9.0c

The Case

Oh dear, poor Garry has gotten himself into quite a sticky situation! First, Garry the humble bush pilot had a bit of a mishap during a not-so routine transport job due to Yellowstone’s Mount Saint Helena erupting right as he passed over it, resulting in a crash landing in the middle of...The Amazon jungle? If that wasn’t bad enough, Garry now needs to endure countless lethal cannibalistic natives chasing after him all over the place, puzzles that’ll test your patience and game-breaking bugs that are as hilarious as they are frustrating. Let’s take a look at Garry’s Incident.

The Trial

So, here we have Day One: Garry’s Incident, Wild Games Studio’s brand new, first person, action-adventure survival game. You play as Garry, a pilot who just crashed into the jungle and soon realizes that, along with the aggressive and possibly very hungry natives, rock-flinging monkeys and badly animated panthers that will devour your heart without a second’s hesitation, there is also something else going on in this place. Something very strange. Something...alien.

Hmm, I wonder what the second ingredient might be...

Hmm, I wonder what the second ingredient might be...

That’s basically the whole story summed up. Now that we have that out of the way, let’s look at the gameplay, shall we? So, Day One is, if anything, ambitious. It combines a lot of different gameplay mechanics in an attempt to stand out from the crowd. Though the description of the game might have you believe that this is some sort of open-world, free-roaming survival simulator like Minecraft or Don’t Starve, Day One is much more linear than that. You still have some freedom to move about the lush jungle environments as you scavenge for supplies and resources to stay alive, but this is definitely no sandbox game.

Speaking of Minecraft, there are some comparisons to be made between it and Day One. In a somewhat similar fashion to Minecraft, you have a hunger meter that gradually depletes over time unless you find food via hunting, fishing or plucking fruit from bushes. Day One also has a similar crafting system, where you combine items you find and click a button to convert into new tools and other useful things. Though you can experiment with the system to craft items, you’ll also discover pieces of recipes as you explore the world. You’ll need to memorize these, because the game doesn’t log the recipe for you before you successfully craft an item on your own.

The crafting itself is simplistic and the inventory menu is sub-par, making the crafting more tedious than it has to be. Click the crafting tab, then click the items you wish to use in the crafting process, hit “craft” and you might make something. Every time you craft something you need to go through the exact same quicktime event, over and over again. In fact, QTEs are very commonplace throughout the game and you’ll get annoyed by them faster than you would watching Daniel Tosh do stand-up “comedy”.

This ‘puzzle’ where you align statues can take hours to complete.

This ‘puzzle’ where you align statues can take hours to complete.

Another issue with the crafting, that is also something that goes far deeper than that, is the fact that this and the hunger system are completely arbitrary. You will never really need to catch much food. In fact, you can stay alive on the random fruits you find around the world alone. This is in part due to the fact that the game only has a couple of hours’ worth of gameplay before you complete it. In other words, risking your life hunting panthers or combining dozens of random items in an attempt to make a fishing rod is absolutely pointless. You’ll never need to worry about finding water sources to drink from or refill your bottle for longer treks either. Just click C - the default “drink water at water source” button - and you can drink water directly. Anywhere. Yes, even if there is no water around.

Now, the aforementioned is obviously a bug and not intentional. Bugs are something Day One has a lot of. A LOT. I’ll give the developers some credit: they’ve released about five hundred million patches by now, improving upon the abysmal performance issues players had at launch and many of the worst game-breaking bugs. But even with most of the worst bugs now fixed - hell, BECAUSE many of the bugs are now fixed - it’s just so obvious that the game sorely lacks quality gameplay.

I mean, where do I even begin? Okay, let’s look past the bugs for a second. I’ve already mentioned how the crafting system is pointless. Beyond that, the game’s mandatory puzzles are incredibly tedious and often demand that you backtrack and search every single crevasse in the large environments to find that one thing that’ll let you continue.

Oh hey there, sexy...

Oh hey there, sexy...

At one point, you’ll find yourself trapped inside an enormous maze of underground tunnels, where you need to pull switches in order to align some statues that opens up a gate, allowing you to escape. This simple task is arbitrarily stretched out and made incredibly frustrating by the fact that the switches are scattered around the maze far from one another, and finding them all is a pain because you only have a crude map painted on the rock walls to guide you. There are plenty of dead ends too. Sure, the various traps you’ll encounter are cool and somewhat challenging to master, but walking around for hours looking for switches gets tedious fast. This is not engaging puzzle-solving, people! It’s clearly just a cheap attempt to artificially pad out the game. In fact, the entire game suffers from this problem; you can spend a dozen hours completing this game that only has about three hours of actual gameplay and believe me, that’s not meant as a compliment here.

The extensive list of mind-boggling design choices continues. The game employs a crude stealth system that allows you to sneak up on enemies and kill them in a single hit. However this system is also made pointless because you’ll find so much ammo for your two pistols that you can easily kill every enemy in the game without worrying about ever running out. What is the point of spending three minutes sneaking up on some native - or engaging in close combat with him that exposes the atrocious melee system with broken hit-registration and laughable animations - when you can just shoot him in the head and move on without risking your life? For a survival game, surviving isn’t all that hard. Well, for Garry, anyway. For you, as the player, it can be a tough test to endure the torment of this game.

Crafting works, but...

Crafting works, but...

At least the game looks kind of okay. The graphics aren’t high-end or anything, but the jungles have a lot of foliage, making them feel lush and alive. It’s quite ambitious for such a small game. Animations, however, are not good. The world design is confusing and repetitive. You’ll also get stuck on objects or invisible walls all the time and you can clip through objects and even the ground. The sound design wobbles between mediocre and horrendous. Aiming your weapon feels sluggish. The inventory menu feels like it’s a pre-alpha placeholder. The QTEs are never-ending and...the list just goes on and on. Let’s cut it off here, shall we?

The Verdict

I can sympathise with Garry Friedman. He’s in a pretty shitty situation. As was I, when I played this game. No matter how hard I tried to look for redeeming factors, I just couldn’t find any. When I finally reached the abrupt ending, I was disappointed that the game just wrapped up before it ever made use of any of its interesting mechanics and before it went anywhere with the story. But, at the same time, I was also happy that I was finally out of that hell. It’s obvious that the developers had a lot of ambitious ideas, but sadly the few mechanics that work are rendered pointless by the level design and the game-breaking bugs. Despite some glints of ambition here and there, even when ignoring the bugs, there isn’t anything here to warrant purchasing Day One: Garry’s Incident.

Case Review

  • Lush: The jungles are appropriately lush.
  • Arbitrary systems: The hunger, stealth and crafting systems are meaningless.
  • Pricey: 19 euros? For this?!
  • Broken: Here’s an idea for a drinking game: Drink every time you encounter a bug! Just remember to call an ambulance first.
  • Not What it Says on the Tin!: It’s advertised as a survival game but it doesn’t feel anything like one.
1.5
Score: 1.5/5
Whoever felt that Garry’s Incident was complete upon release should reconsider their career choice.

Appeal

Day One: Garry’s Incident has a very interesting concept, as there isn’t a lot of single player survival style games where you’re left on your own with no help whatsoever. You crash land on a jungle with wild animals and crazed local natives that want you dead on sight. While scavenging for items you must also maintain your hunger and thirst simultaneously, which isn’t a brand new idea, but it certainly is an interesting concept that can work if you do it right. Unfortunately, to my surprise, it definitely isn’t working here.

There are a number of issues with Garry’s Incident. You have a combat system which consists of a combination of melee as well as ranged combat and it isn’t very fun due to most ranged weapons having poor power behind them whilst the melee system is half broken as you can’t block. The only option you are left with is to constantly spam attack until your target is dead. It certainly doesn’t help when the animations for the natives and the animals are atrociously bad, making it hard to distinguish when they’re swinging their weapon at you. Combined with poor in-game performance despite the poor visuals when maxed out, even for high end systems, it is not a good combination and certainly detracts from the experience as a whole.

You also have the option of crafting items, which is nice to see (you can even see the animations in front of you whilst you make bandages, heal, skin animals etc). But this will annoy some as you basically need to go through a quick time event to do these actions, and this is very obstructive whenever you suddenly get ambushed and killed while in the middle of one. It is likely to result in you spawning all the way back at the start of the level you were on, leaving you with nothing but your default weapons and equipment. To conclude, this game is a waste of money and time; it isn’t fun to play and the only appealing thing about it is the survival aspect, which has been poorly executed. My advice is stay away until there is an overhaul or a lot of updates that improve upon it, but don’t count on it.

1
Score: 1/5

Appeal

Mediocre game is mediocre. There isn't much more to say unfortunately. It isn't a bad game, certainly not nearly as bad as many people are painting it, but nor is it a good game. It's just kind of, well, mediocre. There are some good concepts here, but these are executed without any real sense of panache and they fall short of their full potential.

It feels a lot like an awkward hodgepodge of a heavily narrative driven adventure game, coupled with an open ended survival simulator. Sadly, finding that there's too much of one aspect for the other to work, it sits uncomfortably in the middle trying to look inconspicuous. Which is pretty hard, because it's certainly a visually eye catching game though not because it's particularly impressive, or ugly for that matter, but because it's just so...clumsy.

Animations are laughably stiff whilst visual fidelity is nothing more than competent. Though allowances can be made for this not being a multi-kajillion dollar powerhouse, it's still barely scraping by as acceptable. That said, the lighting effects are pretty damned good and the art style is interesting. All in all, Garry's Incident is a noble attempt that falls flat in its execution, which is a shame because there really are a lot of good ideas hidden underneath the surface - they're just too heavily bogged down in a mire of, well, mediocrity.

2
Score: 2/5
Comments (4)
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Posts: 2740

@XiDiO: I did. Right there. In the comment you were replying to. See it? The bit where I said "Totally a paid review" that was me, saying something about paid reviews. I understand that it may be too complex for you to understand, given how impossibly complex the words I used were

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Posts: 341

Who said anything about paid, oh right, dyslexia.

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Posts: 2740

But we gave it more than 0!

Totally a paid review

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Posts: 341

Nice, some honesty in this one, shame it lacks in other reviews. But its a step in the right dir........ wait pj