Mostly unknown in Germany, the Disaster Report series has been around since PS2 times. Her main focus: earthquakes. Part four of the series should have been released nine years ago, but then the big Tohoku earthquake that led to the Fukushima disaster can put the reality in between.
In any case, very few of them have become acquainted with the niche series so far and could therefore approach the catastrophe game with false expectations. But that's what we're here for.
On a beautiful summer day, the earth shakes in a fictional Japanese city. You crawl out of the overturned bus that was just transporting you. Chaos, fires, collapsing buildings everywhere. After all, our health bar is in the green, we are full, we do not have to go to the toilet and we also have a first aid kit in our invisible backpack. From now on we hike through the city in search of a way out. Aftershocks occasionally shake us or we are crushed by falling rubble. That seems realistic, luckily the checkpoint system is fair.
Source: PC Games
However: Disaster Report 4 (buy now for € 59.99) is not a survival or horror game, but rather a soap opera made in Japan, closer to a walking simulator than to an RPG. It is also not important to behave realistically in the face of the disaster. Minutes after the first quake has subsided, we enter damaged buildings, crawl between fallen rubble, puddle through puddles of petrol, and are only too happy to listen to the rumble of anybody nearby. The linear story demands one idiot after the next, but at some point you surrender to the confused events and are no longer surprised that the guy next to the burning high-rise building sells cowboy clothes. We spend most of the game constantly, there is a lot of talking, otherwise we crawl through gaps or crouch when the earth trembles. There are almost no puzzles or combat inserts! We usually move through small, closed areas and first have to speak to the right people in the correct order so that something happens and we get on. The mission design shows the age.
The conversation options are important in this very limited gameplay. In some cases, we are happy to have many different answers to choose from, but most of them lead to the same result and sometimes we can only determine what we think about someone or a situation – without any consequence. Although we have the choice of playing a man or a woman, this is also irrelevant to the course of the linear action. After all, you can embody a perfect psychopath as convincingly as in few other games, for example by taunting traumatized passers-by.
Technical disaster alarm
Source: PC Games
In the course of the approximately eight-hour narrative, the plot becomes increasingly absurd, the earthquake fading into the background. The question is whether you can get there. Because even if you have a thing for the absurd stories of this really unique piece of software, you still have to get over the inadequate implementation of the adventure. It starts with the loading times. They are too long and too frequent, we have to wait before entering any room, even before every story-relevant conversation with Cutscene. And that's not all: in the event of earthquakes and collapsing buildings, the frame rate falls to its knees just like our character. The flip book effect fits thematically well with the shaking floor, but contributes to the impression that the port was not very carefully ported. The age of the game is not only evident in the gameplay and the outdated mission design: Although the models of the figures look pretty good, facial expressions and gestures are only rudimentary, which makes many scenes (even stronger than already) seem involuntarily funny. Missing details, podium effects, muddy resolution – these smaller graphic badges also welcome us at Disaster Report 4 on the Switch, but in view of the other problems, these are only trifles.
Source: PC Games
Disaster Report 4 fails in many ways. It does not run smoothly, the mission structure is stale, the game principle boring. And yet the game kept us entertained! On the one hand, this is thanks to the unused topic with an exciting scenario, and on the other hand, the insanity of the story and its strange characters unfolds a pull that can be compared to that of a trash film. But you definitely have to have a soft spot and even then, 60 euros is a very steep price, just to enjoy the game. Better wait for a discount or try out how free you are to trash in the free demo. In any case, despite all the criticism, we have to say: Nice that Disaster Report 4 was still released, we actually had more fun than we thought.
A few minutes ago, an earthquake destroyed the area, this man tells us about his private life. Priorities! (Source: PC Games)
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