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Corpse of Discovery review: Musing the passage of time at 15 frames per second

Hayden Dingman | Sept. 15, 2015
Photographs and memories.

Corpse of Discovery
My eyes rolled so hard they were probably a metaphor for something. (Click to expand)

The game's a bit more active than your average walking simulator though, with a jetpack and enormous spans of empty planet to "explore" on the way to each waypoint. The story gets especially hard-hitting towards the end, though it never explains a few of its more intriguing mysteries and I was forced to wonder if it could've gotten to the point a bit faster. All told I spent about three hours on the game, with literal minutes of rote traversal for each dribble of story—a bit too much even for a walking sim-type game. The jetpack helps break up the walking dreariness a bit, but at times I wearied of mindlessly holding down "W" with no indication how much progress I'd made.

That goes doubly because traversal is Corpse of Discovery's Achilles heel. I cannot—absolutely cannot—in good faith recommend the game in its current state, and honestly don't understand how it passed muster to release. The game is either poorly optimized or suffers from a massive memory leak or both. Either way, the end result is the same: Running on a rig equipped with a hulking Nvidia GeForce GTX 980 Ti, I dipped down to 15 frames per second during some scenes. On medium quality. For minutes at a time.

Corpse of Discovery

There's something vaguely funny about playing a game obsessed with squandered time, with "Doing something for a job," when your job is literally to play said game at sub-30 frames per second and mutter curses under your breath for three hours.

Bottom line

If those (pervasive) problems are solved, I think there's a solid core to Corpse of Discovery, provided you're the type of person to mull on aging, to obsess over work and then regret obsessing over work, to sacrifice parts of your life that probably shouldn't be sacrificed. If the game succeeds in spite of its sometimes-overwrought writing, it's because these themes are easy to exploit. "Carpe Diem" or "Live life to the fullest" or "YOLO" seems like a frat-house cliché until you're actually confronted with dying. Then suddenly, regrets.

I don't think Corpse of Discovery is nearly as strong as its influences, but there's something raw about it—an emotional intensity and earnestness—I find lacking in many games.

Unfortunately it's broken. This is one of those instances where I find the idea of a game more interesting than the game itself, not least because I quickly tired of trying to first-person platform at a herky-jerky 12 frames per second crawl. I'll try and update this review if it gets fixed, but in its current state Corpse of Discovery is nigh-unplayable.

 

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