Week 6 and Sean takes a trip to the worst sci-fi adventure on the PS4 in Albedo: Eyes From Outer Space.
Game: Albedo: Eyes From Outer Space
Developer: Fabrizio Zagaglia
Publisher: Fabrizio Zagaglia
When I agreed to take on the challenge to play 52 games in a year, I thought to myself “Hey. This will be easy. I have hundreds of great games I’ve not yet played“. Well, the past 2 weeks have been difficult. Last week I played a game I dubbed “the worst game on PS4” but I might have been too hasty as this weeks game, Albedo: Eyes From Outer Space is a definite contender for that unenviable title.
In Albedo you play as John T. Longy, a night-watchman at a super secret research facility that houses an array of weird experiments. Of course, this being a game, something goes wrong and the whole place turns to shit. Stuff blows up, Aliens are running a mock, corpses are rising from the dead and John has to try and find his way out of the complex facility.
On paper, this game should be brilliant. Set in a 60’s sci-fi B-movie setting and all the tropes that come with it, the puzzle poser turned FPS channels a lot of what made Half Life and the original Bioshock so great – perhaps borrowing a little too much influence from the aforementioned classics. It’s claustrophobic rooms feel like the close corridors of Rapture. The zombies don a headcrab-like creature like those that invaded the Black Mesa facility. Large portions of Albedo are original but its influences constantly shine through.
Albedo was written, designed and created by one man. Fabrizio Zagaglia. The achievements of Fabrizio shouldn’t be ignored – to make a game alone is a feat all by itself but to build one that’s this complex and feature complete is astonishing. Unfortunately, Albedo suffers from all of the pitfalls of a game developed by a single person or small team. Take the first room of the game as an example. There is an alien bashing on the door and you are armed with nothing but some rope, a biscuit, a live rat and a broken vending machine. How do you escape this potentially deadly situation? By hiding in a dark corner, using the rat as bait and then turning the vending machine into a makeshift mouse-trap, pulling it on top of the alien with the rope. This is such a left field and obscure solution that could only really be found by chance and it sets the tone for the entire game. Albedo is riddled with these esoteric puzzles that are more frustrating than enjoyable that are often avoided in games developed by bigger teams. It would have just taken a quick conversation of “Erm… This is actually really confusing? Maybe signpost it a little better?” or “This portion of the game is simply annoying. We should probably cut it” and Albedo might have been a much better and more pleasure game to play. Instead, it’s exasperating.
Having watched footage of the PC versions of Albedo, it’s clear that the game took quite the graphical downgrade on its way to the PS4 too. Some portions of the game still look great, especially when standing still, but more often than not, the games insistence on making things glow green ruins any potential retina-pleasing visuals it has.
The same can be said of the audio which sounds like it was recorded on a Nokia 3310 in a public toilet. Every word that John T. Longy says has a blunt, overly-bassy echo making it indistinguishable from the games background ambience. Again, this seems like something that only effects the PS4 version.
Then there is the plot. *Insert Captain Pickard face palm meme here*. Even taking into consideration that the game is based on 50 year old B-Movie sci-fi flicks, the game has some awful sections and a terrible script. Albedo does eventually pay off, right before its credits roll, but the cringe worthy moments that lead to that point are hardly worth it.
More complaints Sean? Yes, Other Sean. Plenty of them. For the first time ever when playing a first person game, I got sea sick. This is because Albedo has a jarring sway to its movements, especially when strafing and looking around at the same time. I felt queezy during parts of the game which is a first for me – although it could have been down to some of the terrible script lines too I suppose. And the inventory and control system – what a mess. It’s a system that was obviously designed around a key board and the extra tactility that it offers. It’s journey to the PS4 was an unkind one that leaves it clunky and unaccommodating.
Is Albedo: Eyes From Outer Space the worst game on PS4? Sadly, it’s a contender. It’s a game that shows a lot of potential and, when compared to almost all other games I’ve ever played that were developed by a single person, is quite an achievement for Fabrizio. Unfortunately, when compared to most other games in it’s genre, the spotty audio, the awkward script, the games self-destructive visuals and its continual use of obtuse puzzles make it a tough slog to get through and among the worst PS4 games I have played. And I’ve played some stinkers.
6 weeks down and I hope to whatever gods are listening that next week I get to play a game that I can enjoy. The last 2 weeks have been tough.
For first time visitors, Sean is attempting to play and complete 52 games in a year and to write something, anything about each one. You can keep up to date on his progress by clicking here or visit previous weeks efforts below: