View Full Version : SA reviews "Distress in Ocean"

Shining Aquas
09-16-2009, 04:40 AM
Well, it's been a long while since I've reviewed anything so I figured I'd get right back into the groove and found myself nicely put with "Distress in Ocean" stuffed at the top of my queue. Absolutely love this level, still rests quite easily in my top 10 levels of all time. Also, I'm extremely glad I'm reviewing it now since the level has an intense underwater-theme that may find itself becoming a bit more shallow and tasteless when the Water expansion comes out (I expect this might have a slight impact on peoples' views regarding The Azure Palace and other levels set in the submerged).

Anyway, I'd first like to point this out for anyone that plans to play the level (which I will not even go to the length of recommending so much as REQUIRING), the creator is named YAMAME3, and the level title is written in Japanese with a small subtext reading [Distress in Ocean] at the bottom. So, if you found a level that was clearly made by someone of Asian decent, you navigated correctly.

So, DiO is nothing especially complicated concept wise. You start by jumping on a boat, the boat goes out a ways, boat gets thrashed by a great white shark with a demonic look in his eyes, proceed to land in the ocean, navigate through crabs and shrimp and other stuff, get chased by the earlier shark in a fairly hilarious chase scene, find an anchor from a boat that rescues you, take a cannon mounted on the boat to blast the shark into oblivion, end up back on land having saved the day, and be rewarded with a mess of fish at the exit. Get all that?

Yes? Good. Let's talk details.

Details and appearance in the stage are nothing spectacular. There are some very nicely put together props like the shark, giant crab, and the boats, but aside from that there is definitely a clear use of pre-rendered objects obtained through the game, all of which are things one would typically find at the bottom of the ocean (squid, octopus tentacles, barnacles, etc) and for that reason I will forgive it. In fact, the general placement and usage of the given objects was generally so well placed and done with such careful consideration that I would go to instead praise the level for it. It never at any time feels like any object is overused or misplaced, everything seems to have a home. So, while the art of the stage is certainly nothing worth raving about, the placement makes for a very splendid treat.

Quick summary up to now: details are good, plot is simple. Let's talk pacing.

Pacing is the term for how quickly something progresses along a given path during all its intervals from start to finish. Stages in LBP (and almost any platformer really) heavily boast a very constant, climbing, and well-set pace allowing almost anyone capable of reaching start to finish with little to no issue along the journey. DiO is especially good at correct pacing, starting with something simple and modest to give us a relaxing start, immediately plunging us into fun action through the shark crash, and immediately shows off its rapid paced fun with a tentacle bunging, crazy crab riding, squid shooting, shark running, boat blasting extravaganza. The entire level is fast, adventuring, and fun, exactly the way LBP should be and always have been (MM levels at least).

Quick summary up to now: good detail, silly plot, fast-paced fun. Let's talk Quality.

Yeah, I know this is a bit of a vague thing to talk about since quality seems like a combination of detail, playability, and general organization; those being all things I've explained in contour already. But, in this particular case, I want to point out quality on a different plane than usual where the general appearance and mood stand out. I want to talk specifically about standards.

Yes, standards people, those things that most of us used to have. It's that mindset about a person that allows somebody to produce something great specifically because they know exactly what they want to do and how they want to make it as best as possible. So many levels I play fall a little flat on their faces because people will occasionally forget along the way why they are making the levels they produce. More importantly than that, they don't do everything they can to make it as excellent as possible, they don't uphold what one would consider good quality work. DiO is certainly not an amazing looking level, nor does it show any amazingly creative concepts. It's also not challenging, nor does it last for an exceptionally long time. DiO, however, is still probably one of the best levels I've ever played, and that's because of how much it does with how little it has. It's like giving a child a giant crate of Tinkertoys expecting him to make a cool model or toy, and coming back to discover that he turned it into a working Go-Kart that can survive a downhill roll and has seating for one. "Making lemons into lemonade" comes to mind, but multiplied to the degree of opening a chain of lemonade stores.

Point is this: DiO is as excellent as it is because it knows, from the start, exactly what it wants to do, how it wants to do it, and then proceeds to make it as absolutely perfect as possible. Play it a few times, you will understand what I mean.

All together, it's an amazingly fun, addictive level that is perfect for anyone of any age or gender. The innocence of the level is part of what makes it so golden in my books, and hopefully will find a place on your hearted page soon.

Final Score: 10 / 10
Quick summary up till now: Silly, Pretty, Fun, and Amazing. This is a total winner.

On a side note, side notes are back too.:cool: