Ship-to-ship combat is one of those amazing setpieces that we’ve glimpsed in sci-fi standards like Star Wars and Star Trek, but it’s something that’s been seldom seen in the realm of video games for various reasons. Developer Brilliant Skies, however, doesn’t really care – in From the Depths, they’ve not only allowed players to fight to the death in enormous battleships, but to make their own battleships. Despite being in early access, it is a potent combination.
Battleship customization is both complex and robust. A cursory look at From the Depths screams Minecraft, but you can be assured that the only thing both games share is block placing. You can make pretty much any kind of vehicle you want – ships, fighter planes, gigantic sky fortresses, oil derricks – the game’s suite of placeable components allows an incredible amount of flexibility.
The game’s physic system is especially impressive. Giant galleons feel like absolute tanks trudging through the ocean, while speedboats slice through the waves at a precarious pace. Regardless of size, vehicles are all subject to a dynamic damage system, which affects functionality. Hit the engine and a ship will crawl to standstill. Hit the ammuniton stores and you’ve got yourself a fireworks show.
Combat is chaotic and intimately customizable. There is perhaps no greater pleasure than executing a successful broadside, unless you’ve executed one through one of the many customizable weapons, like laser beams and torpedo tubes. If the selection is a little blasé for your tastes, weaponry can be created by combining parts into anything that suits your playstyle. In addition, custom AI, of all things, can be created to man just about anything, from guns to entire vehicles. I detect a Skynet drone being made in the future.
Currently the game’s multiplayer is very bare-bones, but eventually the game will include standard competitive modes (deathmatch, king of hill-type fare) and co-op modes. The real meat lies behind From the Depths’ single player compaign, which is basically a 4X game in disguise. Players must eke out a living on a vast, resource-rich world while fending off or appeasing eight factions with their own custom machines.
From the Depths is easily one of the more complex games out there. I’m very excited to see what kind of insanity people will get up to building their own vehicles. The game is in Alpha but updates very frequently and is available on Steam Early Access now.
Note: A promotional code was provided to Denkiphile for preview purposes by the publisher.