Distrust (PS4) Review
Interesting mix of survival horror, RTS, and random generation
Many characters to unlock and levels to play through
Clumsy camera control
Lacking direction and UI
Insane From The Pain
Just a little over one year ago, one of our editors covered Distrust on PC back when it was first released to the world. Now that this isometric survival horror game has been ported to home consoles, I can say that our original review of the PC version still somewhat applies here to this PS4 version.
Inspired by The Thing, Distrust is mostly about surviving harsh conditions in a frozen wasteland. Not only will you need to scavenge for supplies, the player also has to worry about not freezing, staving hunger, and not going insane. In fact, Distrust plays more like a real time strategy game mixed with the psychological trickery of Eternal Darkness. Each stage is randomly generated and each of the playable characters have different strengths and weaknesses although many characters need to be unlocked. This makes each attempt at survival different but not always better. Unfortunately, there were many times when I simply couldn’t figure out where to go, how to unlock a certain door, or what to do next thanks to the lacking user interface. This always results in the slow slip into insanity and eventual starvation or death to freezing.
It is easy to see the PC origins of this title simply from how the camera moves. Instead of navigating with a mouse, the player has to scroll the screen with the analog stick and pivot the camera with the trigger buttons. Camera control actually gets in the way of gameplay as rotating the camera, which must be used often to see interactive parts of the environment, always swings wide and off center of the player. Further, it is difficult to distinguish what is actually interactive. The player is supposed to cycle through the interactive set pieces in any given room by tapping the d-pad but this only works randomly at best. There is an overhead map that comes in handy but gameplay becomes overly difficult when you need to backtrack through the cold, when your character is already exhausted and crazy, to that one room on the other side of the map to thaw your frozen peas in a kitchen to make you not go hungry for an additional five minutes.
Distrust has some interesting mechanics but easily confuses unfair tedium for fun. With the odds stacked so high against the player, the constant struggle, stress, and worry regarding survival creates frustrating experiences since the player rarely has the right tools for the job and the direction on where to go next. Then, the player has to fight with the camera, UI, and the continuous grunting of the characters in pain. A demoralizing experience through and through, the gameplay mimics the overall presentation.
Not As Good As: Spelunky
Also Try: watching your favorite horror movie
Don’t Hold Your Breath For It: Eternal Darkness 2