Review: Seeking Dawn
Multiverse does a lot right, then a lot wrong.
Ahead of launch some videogames just have that instant attraction, they look stunning, seem to offer tons of gameplay and tick every box for an awesome experience. Then you get your hands on it and that golden glow starts to fade as expectations aren’t quite met. This is very much the case for Multiverse Entertainment’s Seeking Dawn. The build-up promised a summer blockbuster, yet instead delivers a straight to Netflix job instead.
Seeking Dawn is the epitome of a big bold sci-fi action-adventure title, dropping you on a hostile alien world to save the day and hopefully survive. Set a war-torn 23rd century you play a marine sent on a mission to uncover secrets that could turn the tide of the war. In all honesty the story and voice acting are somewhat on the cheesy side and can easily be ignored for the most part, adding a little light relief after the more intense combat segments.
There are three main components to Seeking Dawn’s gameplay, guns, survival and crafting. One is fun and the rest slightly more tedious than experience defining. The gunplay in the videogame isn’t bad at all. Fairly standard in its design you start off with a pistol and then eventually work your way up to crafting assault rifles, shotguns and explosive weaponry. As with any decent virtual reality (VR) first-person shooter (FPS) there’s plenty in the locomotion options menu to choose from, with smooth locomotion (or walk) the only real choice. Teleportation is short and slow, while Blink – seeing your ghost run out before teleporting to its location – will have you running of cliffs in no time.
As for the survival and crafting elements, the former is about eating enough and drinking plenty of water. The percentages will tick down in the helmet’s HUD display and once below 30 percent the character will then verbally let you know he’s hungry/thirsty every 15 seconds or so. Becoming quite the annoyance if supplies are low.
To build those supplies you need to craft and hunt for suitable materials. While some videogames make this a deeply involved and intrinsic part of the experience, in Seeking Dawn the process feels more tacked on, offering a limited array of options. However, what will grind most player’s gears is the difficulty in finding certain items. Need to make more bullets, or get a better gun to pass through a difficult location, but find you’re missing just one ingredient? Well good luck with that, as Seeking Dawn makes no effort in helping you find what location it might be in. This then involves plenty of retracing your steps to find a particular rock or tree.
Yet for every disappointment Seeking Dawn shines a little ray of light. So the survival and crafting aren’t top notch, sometimes you just won’t care as the studio has created some breath taking scenery. As if mixing the worlds of Alice in Wonderland and Starship Troopers together for a bizarre alien paradise filled with nasty creatures, Seeking Dawn is stunning to look at and be immersed in. It’s well worth keeping the helmet HUD design on as it adds that sense of presence, grounding you further as you peer over a cliff edge or up into the sky to spot planets and mountainous creatures.
Best of all you can enjoy this with several mates, teaming up for some co-op action that certainly helps when facing some of Seeking Dawn’s larger creatures. One thing to note however, the minimum spec that Multiverse Entertainment recommends isn’t suitable for a smooth experience. Loading times are horrendous and even mid-level a pausing glitch can happen on the lowest setting. The biggest glitch VRFocus encountered more than once involved a black square appearing in the landscape. This then grew rapidly, essentially turning the entire landscape – and everything in it – black. All that was visible was some light shining down. This made the videogame completely unplayable and required a restart.
Seeking Dawn is the kind of title you have a love/hate relationship with. On the one hand when it works smoothly it’s a really fun and beautiful VR experience to play, with masses of content and hours and hours of gameplay. Unfortunately it’s not perfect, with plenty of repetition and glitches that need finessing. It might not be VR’s summer blockbuster but Seeking Dawn isn’t quite the dud either.