#511 Disaster Report

Posted: 2nd May 2018 by Jeroen in Games
Tags: , , , ,

690th played so far

Genre: Action
Platform:Playstation 2
Year of Release: 2002
Developer: Irem
Publisher: Irem/Agetec

As I’m writing this, it’s actually the first weekend of the new year and we watched the Disaster Artist yesterday – making for two names I keep mixing up – and put the Christmas decorations away. This may seem irrelevant, but because of the layout of our place, the PS2 is not very accessible when the Christmas tree is out – especially when I had to redo some cables so our PS2 can show its images in slightly higher def (and require less awkward cable swapping).

This meant that while I selected Disaster Report (or SOS: The Final Escape as it’s called here) as our next game a few weeks ago, I’ve been skipping it until I could reasonably play it again. We’re there now and it’s finally time to dive into this world.

Our Thoughts

One of the things I’ve never experienced where I live are earthquakes. I’m glad I’ve been able to avoid it as it feels horrendous. In Japan, however, they are more common, and although I don’t think it’s explicitly spelled out, a game about an artificial island wrecked by earthquake feels incredibly Japanese. There are even, from early on, tips on what to do and how to move to survive an earthquake.

The first semi tutorial area sets it up well. You’re on a bridge to the island. You have to make your way across, which involves climbing over barriers, jumping across places and carefully walking. This is set up to create some cinematic moments – the bridge drops away behind you, you have to run to make sure you escape without falling and at least once need to rescue someone from a falling subway car.

The world opens up after this first section, although it isn’t as open as it seems. There are sidepaths, but they’re not that long, and you need to trigger plot events to shift things in the world and open paths. Nicely, it feels like backtracking is usually possible (but that isn’t something I checked much), but there’s always a limited number of ways to go forward. It’s really where it takes on basic adventure roots – how do I get passed, where do I go, and what item do I use where to proceed. It’s combined with action segments (though no quicktime events – you have to think here) that mix up the speed quite nicely.

One of the things I obviously didn’t check is the new game plus mode. Apparently you can find a bunch more goodies and such. Maybe I’ll get to that one day.

Final Thoughts

Disaster Report presents an interesting setting to explore, sometimes frustrating to find your way around, but a different enough setup that it was more enjoyable than I first anticipated from the title. There isn’t as much rescuing as I thought there would be based on the title, instead there’s some bits of survival as you need to keep up your water levels and such. It’s probably a far more interesting path and tell its story better this way.