The free games of the PlayStation Plus often allow players to try titles that have been lost over the years, or test themselves with video games of a genre they do not normally dedicate themselves to. Many console players may therefore have taken the opportunity, with the arrival of the games in May 2021, to test Stranded Deep, or a survival game, a genre that, although increasingly common also on consoles, is mostly typical of the PC world.
So here's ours Stranded Deep review in PS4 version (but played in backward compatibility on PS5).
From the stars to the ocean
The work opens with a more cinematic style than the average survival. Our character (man or woman of our choice) is on a plane when an accident of an unknown nature causes the crash in the ocean. We then leave the sinking wreck and swim to a rubber dinghy, just before the plane explodes and knocks us out. isola, the real starting point of the game.
Stranded Deep, unlike many other survival games, does not give us access to a large one map from the very first moment. The game places us within an archipelago made up of multiple islands, all quite small in size. The first of these is dedicated to the tutorial that teaches us the basics of the commands and the creation system.
In fact, it wouldn't be a survival if we didn't spend most of our time a create objects with the resources at our disposal. So expect all the more classic elements, such as wood, stone and leaves to be used to create tools such as an ax or a spear. The latter is perfect for catching crabs and fish in one go, from which to obtain the meat which is then cooked in a camp fire to feed us.
La fame is one of the characteristics to keep under control, together with health, thirst and body temperature which, in a tropical island, risks rising too much, especially in the middle of the day when the sun is high in the sky: however, it is enough to put yourself in the shade or take a swim to cool off. Stranded Deep tries to be quite realistic in terms of game mechanics: an example are coconuts (you can use them to quench your thirst, but drinking too many in a row causes dysentery and dehydration) or snakes that poison us and require us to manufacture antidotes through some plants.
The number of game mechanicsHowever, it is all in all limited, especially compared to more massive games like Rust or Ark. Stranded Deep is something of a little brother to the great survivors of recent years, so don't expect to have access to hundreds of resources, multiple biomes or the ability to tame wildlife. Furthermore, on consoles, multiplayer is also missing, which is often the driving force of this type of games.
Stranded Deep is betting on an adventure solitaria and on the micro-management of resources. You understand this from the first island, very small and poor in objects for crafting (especially plant fibers, essential for creating any advanced tool). The player is therefore enticed, after becoming familiar with the game structure and after taking care of hunger and thirst, to leave with his dinghy to other islands, in the hope of not ending up on a flood of aggressive animals, which in the first stages are complex to deal with.
La difficulties it is not particularly high, in any case, also thanks to the fact that it is possible to play without definitive death (base deactivated) and it is possible to save at any moment using a shelter (very simple to create). Before leaving for a new island or trying to face a dangerous creature it is therefore possible to save and put your resources in a safe place (unlike games like Ark that force us to recover resources from our corpse). By playing wisely and saving regularly, therefore, you are not taking great risks.
Furthermore, by exploring the underwater areas around the islands, you can find additional tools such as a torch, but also food and advanced crafting materials. The statistics (Cooking, Creation, Gathering, Hunting, Physical ...) increase by carrying out actions related to them and therefore make us stronger and more efficient. Creation, in particular, unlocks new recipes. In the advanced stages this will allow us to create faster and more solid means of displacement, so as to manage multiple islands at the same time. At some point we will also want to create simple buildings and cultivation areas, as well as go in search of the game secrets.
Hardly, however, Stranded Deep will be able to occupy the same number of hours as other survival, as mentioned. It doesn't help that the game is technically anything but exemplary. Survival is never a point of reference on a graphic level, we know, but Stranded Deep, at least in the PS4 version, has a very evident pop-up effect and problems marked performance, with an unstable frame rate that spoils the experience a bit.
Let's also add a 'interface user and too cumbersome inventory management, especially using a controller. There are also some optimizations to the quality of life, such as the possibility of creating more objects in one shot or being able to interact more easily with what you have in hand (if you catch a crab with the spear you have to leave the spear on the ground, interact with it to get the crab, drop the crab on the ground, select the knife, interact with the crab on the ground to get the meat: absurdly convoluted).
We also point out that Stranded Deep allows you to create the islands at will and position them freely in the archipelago: this, added to the fact that it is possible to set the aggressiveness of the fauna, the permadeath and the level of difficulty, allows you to create a personalized experience, lowering or decreasing the complexity of the challenge according to one's needs and taste. Finally, we point out the pleasant background ost, which enhances the sense of solitude of this watery desert.
Stranded Deep does not have content and variety comparable to the most famous survival and overall each of its mechanics is quite derivative. The game is risk-free and offers just what fans of the genre expect, making it a solid and enjoyable adventure. The technical and interface problems are unpleasant, but they are not so serious as to make Stranded Deep unplayable. The purchase is not recommended for experienced players of the genre, but those who want an access point that is not too demanding and are intrigued by the tropical setting could consider it. Having it "for free" on PS Plus, of course, is best. But remember that on PC it is possible to play in local co-op (or online, using Steam Remote Play Together).
- Island editor
- Solid mechanics
- Some technical problems on PS4
- Improved user interface
- No multiplayer