by Kiran Sury
reviewed on PS3
Reach out and Touch somebody
Combat also plays a part in Rochard, but contributes more to the puzzle-nature of the game rather than the action aspect. You’ll gain access to a blaster, sure, but enemies have a lot more bullets and will cut you down quickly, regardless of your regenerating health. I found that using the gravity gun creatively was a much more efficient and satisfying way of dispatching enemies. Rip a turret off a ceiling; throw it at a space pirate’s head. Grab a droid and smash it against the wall until it explodes. Combat insofar as shooting isn’t that satisfying, but when the game gives you other materials to work with, it can be fun as well.
Bosses are prominently missing. I understand that puzzle games generally don’t have or need bosses, but Rochard has enough of an action aspect to warrant a multi-step challenge. The final boss fight proves that the game can support a good boss, but there are no others to be found.
You got your disco in my mineshaft
Rochard looks decent, but isn’t going to win any awards for design any time soon. The graphics are crisp and clean and do they job they’re supposed to. The HUD is wisely kept to a minimum so you can see what you’re doing. Cutscenes have a questionable film-grain effect, and for some reason seem lower quality than the in-game graphics. It felt like some of the models should have had textures that just were not there.
The environments all look the same, whether you’re in a mineshaft or office building. One level, however, takes place in a casino and looks completely different. The gameplay remains the same, but neon pinks and greens replace the usual grays and browns and disco music plays through the air. It’s a nice change of pace, one that indicates more environmental diversity would have been welcome.
The music that plays in the XMB and when you start the game is a sort of country-rock that would have the given the game a bit of flair if it had been continued. Unfortunately, it is quickly replaced by a more generic light soundtrack. It sounds nice, but doesn’t have the unique punch the starting music has. The voice actors do a good job of maintaining their southern drawls, but matching music would have further set Rochard apart as a redneck in space.
Nothing like Dead Space after all
The linearity of Rochard makes it less conducive to repeated play-throughs. You can load up select missions to find any collectibles you may have missed, but only the trophy-obsessed are going to want to replay the same puzzles again. There are light RPG elements in that you can find upgrades to your weapons and for your health, but there is no external effect. You’re told that your gun just got stronger or you got more health, but the weapon looks and shoots the same and you’ll still die quickly. There’s just not much of a reason to replay Rochard.
That being said, the game is certainly an enjoyable experience. At ten bucks for a roughly seven-hour adventure, Rochard is definitely worth your money - I’ve bought $60 retail games that lasted far less. It never reaches brilliance or introduces a mechanic that really shakes up the game, but what is there is well made.
Non-space marine protagonist, gravity puzzles work well.
The southern theme never quite meshes, doesn't fully explore gameplay possibilities.