When I look around at what games are being released, there are always a few that catch my eye. The reasons vary; interesting concept, good graphics, known developer or publisher, and more. Another Dawn by developer and publisher KR Games was one of these titles.
Coined as a tropical island survival adventure game, I had visions of the TV series Lost blended with Green Hell. The developers sell the game as a family holiday gone wrong on a mysterious island getaway. You must use your survival skills to; battle scrupulous mercenaries, attack non-human creatures, scavenge for food and drink, all the while you are searching for your beloved.
I expected good things.
Another Dawn isn’t this indie developer’s first rodeo, and I had high ish expectations about what I was about to experience. Unfortunately, after the first 5 minutes I had to scrap those thoughts, and lower my bar considerably. This game is unintentionally hilarious and is terribly optimised. I’m surprised I caught nothing while playing it as its rife with bugs.
Graphically, it is sub par on many elements, and other than the lighting effects it is mostly forgettable and dated. The audio is painfully flat, and noticeably absent in places. Again, there is one exception, and that is the music is apt and suits the theme.
Let’s stop for a moment.
Let us stop this negative talk for one moment. I’m going to put some meat on to those broken and tired bones. The game opens with you relaxing on a small fishing boat. You are interrupted by a phone call from your wife. Disturbing screams and a message about being attacked ring in your ears, your holiday is ruined as you realise only you can save her!
Once the intro ends, and you are free to explore this large mysterious island. You can go wherever you please, and the game encourages you to search every inch. A sound, but tired concept, and one that should have worked perfectly with the theme and genre of this game. Unfortunately, KR Games failed in; concept, design, style and execution. All these poorly implemented layers fuse to create a car crash of a product that needs a serious revamp.
So many loose ends.
So many aspects of this title would work well if they were matched with the setting and story correctly. The location is described as a tropical paradise, yet the huts appear to be from a third world country that has recently seen civil unrest. Mercenaries randomly attack for no reason, and though they can kill everyone, they miss you from point blank range as you club them to death with a wrench.
The list could go on.
You swim like you are waxing the sky, run like action man with arthritis, and brush through branches like they don’t exist. As guards try to flee your presence, they turn their heads as if they are an owl, or that girl from The Exorcist. It’s creepy and hilarious, but not what I imagine KR Games was aiming for.
You walk around aimlessly with no idea or where to go, or what to do. When you find a new area, it cuts the action and you travel through an odd portal to a new section. Bad optimisation, or mystery doorway to another realm? I’d hope it was the latter, but my money is on option A.
Game breaking bugs.
I’ve never been one for graphics. I don’t care if it’s dated, pixelated, or triple A. I just want it to apply to the genre, and work without issue. Another Dawn contains so many issues that it appears to have been optimised by a child. The scenery doesn’t render correctly, or is missing all together. Character models show no signs of how they were killed, and clipping the scenery makes you jitter about like a jellyfish. It would be fair to say that this came out of the game production oven too early. It needed at least another year of baking before it was ready.
So many areas of this are broken that it ruins the game; Branches have no substance and you can run through them with ease. In the water it appeared that I had 4 arms (a magical island indeed), pathways disappear, and you get stuck, this causes you to die. Finally, the pièce de résistance, I escaped the map, managed to live out the rest of my life beneath the island in a yellow box. No modern game should have this number of faults.
Flat audio and poorly optimised controls.
At last I can sweep away the cloud of negativity for 1 minute. The music is very well designed, and a rare enjoyable moment. A variety of styles complemented the action, with the upbeat tempo doing a great job of adding to the tension. This unfortunately comes crashing back to earth with its tinny and flat sound effects. Footsteps sound hollow, and the guns are reminiscent of my kids hitting saucepans with spoons. The acting is wooden and adds nothing to the gameplay.
If you thought it couldn’t get worse, keep reading. Another Dawn has clearly been optimised for PC. The instructions prioritise the PC controls, which leads to confusion. The labels regularly fail to match the Xbox layout, which caused me to not be able to complete some actions. The sensitivity is so high that you run around like you’ve consumed speed. Its saving grace is you can and will reduce this to almost zero. The analogue accuracy is poor, making the guns impossible to use at a distance. In short, it’s a jarring mess that will enrage you.
Exploring the island should be fun.
The idea of a large mysterious island that is free to explore should draw you in and keep you playing. The reality is that in its current unbalanced state; you are unlikely to want to finish it, let alone return! A small achievement list requires you to search every area, but won’t take long to unlock. At £15 it represents poor value for money.
I’m a “The glass is half full” sort of man. I like to see the positives in everything. Another Dawn pushed me to my limits. With few redeeming qualities, and mainly broken elements that are unacceptable in today’s industry, there is little to be cheery about. The premise is sound, with some interesting lighting effects, and well designed music. But these parts are glued together with some unwelcome and poorly executed vital mechanics. I cannot, and will not, recommend that you buy this. However, a link to the store is here is you wish to tarnish your library. It’s a poorly executed mess that is as broken as it is dated.