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Hydrophobia: Prophecy Review

Superb water effects not matched by the basic gameplay

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Kate acquires a special water power in the last parts of the 3.5 hour experience. The power allows you to create a peak of water and move it around with ease. Once gained there is very little reason to bother shooting anymore. You can just create the peak and inundate the poor Malthusians with wave after wave until they drown or suffer gross physical abuse. Instead of creating a complementary power to the shooting, like plasmids in BioShock, they completely drown it out. This is further demonstrated when taking on the challenge room.
Behold my water peak in all its glory
Behold my water peak in all its glory
Hydrophobia: Prophecy is a great proof of concept. That may sound insulting but it should be considered a compliment for the potential the game has. At $12 the water implementation alone is worth the price of admission. Sadly there are many opportunities missed through physics, puzzles and action. The simple puzzles are no match for the outstanding physics and the dull shooting barely suffices in between. The single water power used briefly is a fine technical achievement but isn’t balanced and therefore not satisfying. There are many directions that could be taken to improve the game.
To improve Hydrophobia it might be as simple as removing some action and creating more intelligent, unique puzzles. The game could use the fantastic water physics to create fun solutions to multi-step scenarios. Perhaps some creative water powers could improve the combat and compliment the shooting. What if Kate had the power to create a whirlpool that caused enemies to spiral out of control? She could even use the water in some defensive capacity to block attacks. I want to play more Hydrophobia and if only some of that potential was untapped it could be a very special experience. Instead Hydrophobia: Prophecy is merely an average game with exceptional water effects. 

Our ratings for Hydrophobia: Prophecy on PC out of 100 (Ratings FAQ)
Water looks great, has real volume and resistance. Otherwise the game doesn't look too bad, does reuse environments and has poor enemy models.
Shooting is barely serviceable, swimming and interacting with water is usually good with some camera issues. Rare free climb platforming is satisfactory and the MAVI is a neat tool.
Single Player
Short with basic puzzles that aren't expanded upon. Minimal exposition and character dialogue propels the story. Challenge room might provide some with a little extra to play around with.
(Show PC Specs)
CPU: AMD Phenom II 955 @ 3.2GHz
GPU: Sapphire Radeon HD 5850 1GB
OS: Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit
PC Specs

A relatively good PC is required. The review machine performed fine on max settings without anti-aliasing, high amounts of water don't noticeably slow the game down.
The great water effects are begging to be exploited with clever powers and physics puzzles. The rest of the game is only alright but it is worth playing for the low price.
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Hydrophobia: Prophecy
Hydrophobia: Prophecy box art Platform:
Our Review of Hydrophobia: Prophecy
The Verdict:
Game Ranking
Hydrophobia: Prophecy is ranked #955 out of 1580 total reviewed games. It is ranked #94 out of 105 games reviewed in 2011.
955. Hydrophobia: Prophecy
956. Nuclear Dawn

Hydrophobia: Prophecy
14 images added May 16, 2011 04:53
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