The Solus Project: Why Controls Are Important

Steve Anderson : End Game
Steve Anderson
The Video Store Guy
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The Solus Project: Why Controls Are Important

I was looking forward to trying out The Solus Project, and with good reason. Another open world survival game, one that had already been described as similar to Ark: Survival Evolved--a game I'm still enjoying like no tomorrow--posed an exciting notion for me. Yet when I tried it, I found a surprisingly disappointing title awaiting, and the problem came down to one key thing: controls.

The premise was exciting enough; your player falls out of the sky, riding down a vessel in search of a potential new home planet for Earth's displaced masses. Shot down by an unexpected burst of energy, you crawl out of the wreckage and begin to explore the planet, looking for a means to transmit to the rest of humanity's ships and get retrieval, while also addressing the issues taking place on the planet. I was excited; while Ark: Survival Evolved was clearly a wilderness survival game with some recent technology--a polymer assault rifle is pretty up to date--The Solus Project seemed like an advanced science fiction game. Could have had laser weapons to take on who knew what, and that was an exciting prospect.

What I got instead, meanwhile, was a sludgy mess. It took me three minutes just to figure out how to cut a length of cable with a sharp rock. As I wandered around the crash site, and found a lot of things to pick up that I couldn't actually pick up because I apparently had a cargo capacity better suited to a lady's clutch purse. Then, I began walking the field, and discovered the next step in the process. But even moving around was difficult; the controls were overly sensitive, and I would often swing around too hard for what I actually wanted to accomplish. About an hour later, I gave up for the evening, and went back to Ark.

Even saving the game proved a trial; you could only save when asleep. It was literally impossible, as far as I could tell, to stop the game, mid-play, and walk away. That's a ridiculous oversight, as far as I'm concerned, and really should have been resolved right out of the gate.

This is where the real importance of the controls comes in; when a game controls as roughly as this one did, it gets in the way of the experience. Ark: Survival Evolved, by comparison, was easy to pick up and play, without a lot of trouble. This is what really helps a game catch on; sludgy controls and unclear objectives aren't exactly parts of a great game. This should be a clear note to game makers out there; story is important, but if the game is unplayable, what's the point of even a great story?

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