Developer: Plastic | Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment | Platform Reviewed On: PS3
Datura is PS3 exclusive game available for download on PSN. Like Plastics Studios previous game “Linger in Shadows”, Datura is a very unusual game. You begin the journey on life support in the back of an ambulance, and a few buttons later, end up in a magical forest left on your own to explore, and feeling trees is the only way to expose parts of the map. As you travel throughout the forest you will end up in completely new environments, its kind of fun not knowing where you’re going to end up next. The game has no explanation of what’s actually happening, it wants you to figure it out yourself. Even after completing it, I’m still not sure what the hell happened!
The goal of the game is to explore the forest, locate and complete the interactive sequences, and eventually make your way to the final sequence. While there aren’t many sequences, and they aren’t all that long, each one has its own unique look and feel. Also, throughout each sequence you are able to make “good” and “bad” choices, though they don’t have as much impact on the story as the choices in other games such as Heavy Rain etc.
Unless you are using the Playstation Move (and I imagine most aren’t), the controls for this game suck, and make the game a lot harder than it has to be. The standard controller requires you to use the six-axis motion controls a lot, and the DualShock controls add no real value to the experience (almost as if it was just tacked on as an afterthought). The lack of a Playstation Move makes movement feel slow and clumsy, even when running and you will probably struggle as much as I did along the way.
While the game is pretty, and has a lovely environment filled with wildlife and nature, it’s nothing outstanding, and the texture quality ranges mostly from average to bad. The game consists of no puzzles or riddles, and you are only able to control your right detached hand, which looks like Rayman’s hand. When you are able to interact with something, the triangle button will appear at the bottom of the screen, showing you where to look. Once there, holding the button again allows you to interact with whatever has been discovered. Like all interactions in this game, follow a few simple on screen prompts and you simply move on.
So what else can you do in the two hours of gameplay available to you? Not much, you basically just move throughout the forest, with little to explore and some minigames to play. Everything minus the control of your character is very simple and lacks challenge, with most of the game being automated. Some points in the game you do no more than simply follow onscreen prompts.
The artistic value and experience is the only thing about this game I could understand people enjoying. It didn't impress me, though I’m sure some people with love it. I just didn't find it interesting, the whole concept isn't what I would call new and I found the execution to be mostly dull and not moving at all.
The game has little to no replay value, I went through the game and made sure to explore and complete every part of it, and while you can choose to do things differently on your second playthrough, it makes little to no difference to the overall story.
While Plastic at least tried something different, it sadly wasn't enough. If this game had of been a Move tech demo a couple years ago, it would have been impressive, but sadly its not, and I cannot see myself recommending this game.