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Review of KURSK. Time for a serious conversation

Agree, few people these days have the courage to talk about the serious tragedies of recent years in the format of video games. Such projects can literally be counted on one hand. A small Polish studio Jujubee S.A. The activities of these young people were even mentioned by the leading Russian media – Komsomolskaya Pravda exposed the developers as almost enemies of the people who made fun of the grief of others. Nobody began to talk about the fact that games are not only a means of entertainment, but also a means of self-expression. But was KURSK worth such close attention?

Jujubee S.A. Kursk were engaged in the development of small projects, mainly for mobile platforms. But like any small studio, the Poles have come to a time when they need to self-actualize, create something more. Why the developers chose this particular tragedy from many others is explained by the increased interest in modern Russian history. Is it worth playing – read our review on KURSK.

Chronology of events

For a young audience, to begin with, it is worth telling about the tragedy – unfortunately, not everyone is even interested in the modern history of Russia. On August 12, 2000, the Russian nuclear-powered missile-carrying cruiser K-141 “Kursk” crashed in the Barents Sea. None of the crew – 118 people – managed to survive.

This event caused a serious public outcry, since many ordinary citizens and prominent public figures extremely negatively assessed the actions of the authorities in this emergency situation. Since very little time has passed, they try to bypass the tragedy. But the Poles decided to tell their vision.

To smooth out possible rough edges, Jujubee S.A. a certain foreign agent is used as the main character, which was not mentioned anywhere, but he witnessed all the nightmarish events. It is clear that this move was originally made not in order to restore a real historical picture, but only to be able to tell about Kursk without hurting anyone’s feelings. But how the main character got to a particularly secret facility, to which a little more than a hundred people had access – it only brings a smile. According to the plot, one of the sailors literally “got sick” and did not appear at the object, and instead of him our character went to the submarine. The developers, apparently, did not really want to work on the legend of the special agent, but this does not greatly affect the experience of the game.

That’s all there is to know about the game’s storyline. Then Russia begins, the cold northern seas and young Vladimir Putin.

Where I am?

Kursk review

The beginning at KURSK is quite atmospheric: you drive with a soldier in a UAZ to a moored submarine, simultaneously looking at the military town outside the windows. On the way, you will learn a lot about the life of Russia at that time: the driver shares stories, uses phrases that accurately describe the mood and political situation in the country in the early 2000s. Against the backdrop of brave speeches about greatness, gray landscapes sweep by, tired servicemen in sweatshirts walk and obsolete Soviet equipment of the 50s weaves.

With this prologue, you expect a lot from the game. Indeed, not every Russian who has survived this period at a conscious age will be able to describe the life of the country so accurately and succinctly. Having arrived at the destination, the player is already in anticipation of something unusual and memorable.

But when our hero gets on the deck of the Kursk, inspiration begins to quietly change, first to surprise, then to bewilderment, and finally to boredom. And in that order. After all, the first thing a player pays attention to is detail. The KURSK looks very realistic: all the details of the nuclear submarine, all the cabins and the layout of the compartments are very similar to the original. Jujubee S.A. as far as possible in relation to a top-secret facility, they recreated the infamous missile-carrying cruiser.

When you pass the Kursk for the first few times, you get the feeling that the Poles have jumped over their heads. The combination of pretty good graphics for such a budget and attention to the smallest details makes the project awe-inspiring. The developers really found something to surprise the player at the start. But the first impression, as you know, is deceiving.

Kursk review

When you start talking to the crew, you still expect to plunge into some kind of heartbreaking drama. But with each new dialogue, with each new task, this expectation disappears somewhere. The fact is that even in the few hours that it will take to complete KURSK, the game manages to really get bored. Although the characters are recreated from real crew members, the sub is made in the smallest detail. There is simply no room for action here. It is clear that this situation is due to the theme of the game, but this does not change the state of affairs. Plus, many dialogues are very plastic. The crew communicates rather strangely from the point of view of the army chain of command, there are a lot of clichéd phrases. These are all, of course, little things, but if you worked them out, then the game would have another big plus. For such a small project, every such defect serves as a fly in the ointment.

Painfully familiar

But all of the above would not be so noticeable if not for a single nuance. The Poles are so focused on historical accuracy that there is simply nothing to play in KURSK for a person who knows the history of the tragedy. Once in the role of a foreign agent on a submarine, you will not have to take part in any dramatic story; KURSK will not demonstrate anything interesting and creative. Jujubee S.A. so carried away by realism that they simply forgot to do at least something artistic. The lack of an author’s idea is emphasized by rather tangible bugs and management problems. Even though KURSK is a simple adventure with the mechanics of David Cage’s gameplay (Quick Time Invents and dialogues combined with solving simple puzzles are the basis of the game), here you will have to swear hard more than once due to poor optimization.

When you pass through the narrow corridors of the submarine, something strange happens to the character – he either gets stuck in the most inappropriate place, then the camera starts twitching feverishly due to constant contact with the hull of the ship. It manages to get tired of the order, even the head can ache from such constant shaking.

And, of course, when you run from one end of the submarine to the other for the hundredth time (!), It becomes extremely boring even just from the sight of the same scenery. The developers did not bother to somehow dilute the gameplay with possible forays into the open sea or, perhaps, with the agent’s memories. No, you will be running back and forth during the entire game time, performing errands of the “fetch and serve” type. Agree, this is not what you expect from a game about such a large-scale tragedy.

Kursk review

Video sequence

Overall, KURSK looks pretty good. If you can ignore the constantly shaking camera, you will be left with a very detailed, but slightly dated picture. Here you will not see anything that severely hurt the eye. Simple, but worthy for such a budget. The only negative is the characters. The very moment when you start a dialogue with one of the sailors … you better not look into his face. So the game will leave more positive impressions.

Eventually

We have a bold project from Jujubee S.A. with a claim to high art. But alas, the Poles did not find how to hook the player, because the history of the tragedy is known to most in the CIS countries. Considering that KURSK is focused on this particular market, such “documentary” was clearly a failure. As a result, we ended up with very poor optimization, clumsy controls and a plot completely spelled out on the Wikipedia page. We are waiting for new projects from ambitious Poles.

LID2PRO reviewer verdict

Playability

The same mechanics of adventure games are becoming more and more boring. And especially when this is combined with a lot of bugs, small downloads and constant problems of interaction with the outside world.

Picture from 2010, but a lot of work has been done in creating the scenery. The Poles have clearly stood up.

The game features a whole bunch of “sea sounds”: constant hums, the rustle of opening hatches, clangs and rolls. Dialogues, of course, do not sound very good, but KURSK is forgivable.

Single player campaign

The lack of an author’s view and fresh ideas literally “drowned” KURSK. Well, who cares to run back and forth on one set to find out the story written in Wikipedia?

Constant problems with interaction with surrounding objects, terrible movement and worthless optimization in general. Here the Poles have failed.

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