[PSN Review] Datura
When I first watched the preview behind the concept of Datura, I was very excited. I am a sucker for innovative and artistic games. I crave games that challenge my moralities and keep me guessing until the very end. Datura is like nothing I’ve ever played. It is a psychological thriller inside the twisted mind of a man, that feels more of an interactive experience than an actual game. The bizarre story and rich environment will keep you hooked the entire time. Unfortunately, the time spent in this magical dream is disrupted, on many occasions, by the lack of deep and fluid controls.
The plot starts building up from the moment you wake up inside the back of an ambulance. You wonder how you ended up here. The story will take you on a journey inside the mind of the main character. There are different segments you can interact with, and each segment will lead into a new chapter. Completing all segments in an area will grant you access into a new one and so on. At first it worked perfectly for me. There are a few clever puzzles and some challenging, bizarre sequences. I put down the controller at some point and wondered what the heck am doing! It was a fulfilling experience in terms of the presentation, the sound, the beautiful environment and the disturbingly shocking sequences. The only problem is .. It only lasted for 90 minutes!
I’d like to point that I’ve played Datura with a DualShock controller. The game offers full support for PlayStation Move and a 3D screen. The controls can easily be described as frustrating. There are many sequences in the game where I had to twist the controller in a 360 degree and shake my entire body till I felt sick. Even the simplest gestures of reaching into objects or walking in the forest were hardly simple. I’ve considered turning off my PS3 and cursed my PlayStation Plus discount, but my anxiousness to finish the game and see how the story ends kept me going the entire 90 minutes, only to be disappointed by the unsatisfying ending. I don’t know if playing with the PS Move would make a huge difference (it might since turning my wrist versus turning the whole Dualshock 3 could improve things overall), but I have to do a review of what I played and how I played, not on how things could have been.
I wished the developer had taken more time before releasing the game. It had lots of potential to be among the finest unique gems on the PlayStation Network. It also makes you wonder if this is what the future holds for digitally distributed games: a short campaign and a unique interactive experience with driven motives for exploration.
Datura is not your casual PSN release. It is entirely different from anything you’ve played. The description of Datura on Wiki, a poisonous plant that causes hallucinations and heart attacks, suits this game perfectly. Regardless of the short time I spent in Datura’s world, the ridiculously frustrating controls were always dragging this incredibly unique experience from becoming memorable.
[review score=”55″ pros=”Unique Experience
Beautiful Environments” cons=”Frustrating Controls
Datura is available on the PlayStation Network for $9.99. PlayStation Plus subscribers get a discount at $7.99
This review is based on a PS3 copy of Datura developed by Plastic Studios and Published by SCE.