Published on October 17th, 2011 | by Coyle Permetter, Editor
Developer: Recoil Games
Platform: PlayStation 3
Release Date: September 27, 2011
Part Portal, part Shadow Complex, Rochard is a title that really took me by surprise. Set in the distant future, Rochard puts you in control of John Rochard, a miner seeking ever-so-valuable space minerals. The story is completely irrelevant, however this small flaw is more then compensated for with excellent voice acting and addicting game play.
Rochard takes inspiration from games such as Deadspace and Portal in the sense that your character (John Rochard) will be manipulating gravity to traverse several intriguing levels, and smash enemies.
The main characters, John and semi love interest Skyler really breathe life into the game. John is an overweight, blue-collar worker pitted against the evil corporation. His voice acting is well done, witty, and really enjoyable to hear during the game. I found myself continuing to play to see how the game would end, not because of the story, but because I cared about the characters.
Graphically, this side-scrolling puzzler doesn’t do too much to impress. The look does flow very well with the comedic space mining theme though. The game play is at the core of this title and rightfully so. John is outfitted with two weapons: the Rock-Blaster and G-Lifter. The Rock-Blaster is a type of automatic laser rifle, that is used simply for defeating enemies. The G-Lifter however, is used to alter gravity, move objects, move people or even yourself. So switching between the weapons to defeat enemies and solve puzzles is what Rochard is really about.
The soundtracks of Rochard were well picked and artistically placed. The pace and rhythm of the songs picks up at just the right moment to appropriately cast the current situation and scenario of the specific segment. The song choices are similar to lite rock, but they were never overbearing or distracting from the adventure.
The one thing that really plagued this game was the excessive and unnecessary combat. The randomly-placed enemies in-between puzzles is a much appreciated change of pace in gameplay. However, as the stages progress, you feel as if enemies were simply increasing in difficulty and frequency just to add filler to the game. Rochard is a platforming, puzzle solving adventure game at heart, and the introduction of heavy combat doesn’t really support the overall flow of the game. With only two guns, one of which is only really practical for large enemy encounters, makes excessive combat tiresome and chore-like rather then engaging. The game also has some really longer load times than it should. This leads to some really cheap deaths in which I have to sit through another really long load time.
Other than that small gripe, the puzzle solving of this title is amazingly fun. The puzzles start off very simple and easy, and steadily increase in difficulty as the game progresses. This makes it very rewarding when you finish the more difficult puzzle segments. Recoil Games did an excellent job at pacing the difficulty, because it keeps players enticed from the beginning and sort of starts dishing out harder puzzles to challenge not only the character in the game put the person playing the game as well.
The guys and gals at Recoil Games did a really good job at presenting and creating an experience. No this game does not have a story that is discernible, or memorable. They do create three dimensional characters that you have to take on a journey. The puzzles are extremely entertaining, engaging, and placed at the perfect pace to match the game. The combat is very simple and becomes a problem when they increase the spawn rates of enemies just to make it more difficult. It makes it harder, but also takes away from the fun of the game, as it feels like you are dying more then you should simply because the developers placed too many combat sequences consecutively. The load times can also be long, which kind of multiplies the problem with increased combat frequency. The more times I died, the more times I had to sit through awkwardly long load times.
+ Stunning Visuals
+ Voice Overs
+ Puzzles are engaging and well paced
– Lack of strong story
– Excessive combat sequences
– Really long load times