In the year 2666 the earth is heavily drawn with the marks of war. The nuclear contamination forced our civilization to colonize the floor of the oceans and create a new world – Aqua.
Jowood's third game of the series which started in 1997 with Archimedian Dynasty and found its first sequel Aquanox in 2001, is once more an undersea shooter focusing on uncomplicated fast-paced action instead of requiring the user to bother with too much realism.
Chronologically the game coincides with the events of its predecessors; however the player no longer takes control over the submarine commander Emerald “Dead-Eye” Flint.
This time we guide the inexperienced freighter pilot William Drake, who soon turns out to be a key personality in a story about long forgotten myths.
As its predecessor did in 2001, Aquanox 2 - Revelation uses Massive Development's “Krass-Engine” which is once more able to render the oceans of Aqua in an impressive quality onto our screen.
Ascending blobs, sun rays penetrating the water surface, water plants softly waving with the current, highly detailed submarine vehicles with reflective metal casings, and much more eyecandy dramatically amplifes the game's atmosphere and casts a wonderfully detailed undersea world which makes you forget about your last diving vacation on Hawaii.
Unfortunately the developers tried to create a higher level of visual realism than they did in their last game, so the colorful surroundings of Aquanox were replaced with a dark, oppressive ambiance, which in some situations causes the player to miss many of the beautiful details the vegetation of the ocean bed would have had to offer. Besides that the special effects can no longer satisfy us, especially the poor explosions which looked much better in Aquanox.
All things considered, the presentation of the game is still of premium quality, however in many situations the two years old predecessor had a better look.
Contrary to the visual presentation, the sound of the game has been dramatically improved. Fulminating machine gun fire, the booming sound of your ship's motor, ground shaking explosions, all accompanied by a swift techno soundtrack, create a unique adrenaline-boosting atmosphere. Besides that the dubbing of the game's dialogues is satisfying too, which makes the game a pleasure for every non-deaf ear.
Aquanox wasn't a bad game bad game back in 2001 and was able to satisfy with its breathtaking graphics. However game-wise it was not able to establish any kind of innovation.
As in Aquanox the story is once more handled via boring, unsubstantial and sometimes even featherbrained dialogues, which fortunately can be stopped by using the Escape-button. This one flaw renders the story of the game completely useless, as only few fragments of it actually find their way to the player.
The game offers the willing submarine commander two different types of control.
On one side we can choose a simulation-like controlset, while gamers which prefer fast action will choose the action controls which are quite similar to the controls of a first person shooter. While the mouse changes the direction and is used for firing and changing weapons, all other functions are placed on customizable keyboard shortcuts. Unfortunately the game controls are too imprecise, which leads to frustrating situations, especially when fighting faster opponents. Too often you loose focus and orientation, which makes you waste valuable time on finding out and correcting your own position and direction. The game controls are far beyond pale and definitely represent one, if not the game's major point of criticism. This should have been done much better.
The game itself is convincing in the first missions, mainly because of the good graphics and great sound, but after some hours the joy of playing the game loses ground due to the enormous difficulty which is mostly caused by the miserable controls. However once the player got used to those, the game may really be enjoyable, even though the familiarization takes a lot longer than in comparable games like Wing Commander or the Freespace-series.
Aquanox 2 – Revelation is not really bad game. Even though the “Krass-Engine” is 2 years old, it can still compete with any other engine, making the game satisfying concerning the technological criteria. However the game is not innovative at all, and hardly any kind of improvement has been made.
Instead of improving the weak multiplayer mode of Aquanox, the developers decided to completely remove this feature. This may be no big loss in this case, however games in our time, and especially action games should definitely include a multiplayer mode.
Calling Aquanox 2 – Revelation a bad game would be an exaggeration. But saying it is a good game would be impudent and would break at least one of the Ten Commandments. At no time the game was able to satisfy me. The dialogues are too boring, the controls are to imprecise, and the game is way too difficult. What remains is the soporific chaining of different missions, which is due to the weak story presentation completely incoherent and hardly motivating to continue playing.
Maybe fanatic fans of Aquanox will like this game, but if you are not a member of this group you will find no pleasure playing Aquanox 2 – Revelation. What the developers of Wing Commander did about 10 years ago seems to be out of reach for the people at Massive Development – creating a game which tells a story and motivates to play it again and again.