Coast Guard from developer Reality Twist is described on its Steam page with adjectives like "extraordinary", "exciting", "thrilling", "intense", and "breathtaking", all of which couldn't be further from the truth. I'd like to preface this review by saying that I'm a fan of simulator type games, especially when they're done right. Coast Guard is described as a simulation type game that infuses adventure and narrative elements that combined tell the tale of coast guard officer Finn Asdair. It's almost as if the developers had some distorted view of what the Coast Guard does as nearly everything presented in this game seems out of line with reality. Add in an unnecessary focus on creating dramatic situations and inclusion of odd dream sequences make Coast Guard a confusing and frustrating game release.
While at first glance the game might seem like other simulation titles where players are given the freedom to pursue a range of jobs and other activities based around that particular simulated job, Coast Guard instead only includes a story mode with linear levels and no real sense of freedom. After this disappointing realization I thought maybe the story would make up for the experience as if the marketing material was any indicator this would be a thrilling adventure. Unfortunately, the combination of terriblevoice acting performances, a premise that makes little sense, and odd dream sequences make for a truly difficult narrative to suffer through. It doesn't help either that the story jumps to the past, present, and future with only vague indicators of what is happening. Lastly, the characters are dreadfully boring and their relationships between each other make no sense when it comes to situations they face in the story.
Once I had discovered the disappointing narrative I thought the gameplay might make up for the experience. Unfortunately again, I experienced the game's most frustrating aspect. Nearly every element from steering the ships in the sea to performing rescue operations are tedious operations that are a result of lag-suffering controls, poor performance, and overall a lackluster experience. In particular, one set of missions focus on solving a murder mystery on a oil rig which from the premise sounds like it has a lot of promise. Somehow the developers found all the ways in which to ruin this scenario by forcing players to talk with poorly voiced characters. There are literally areas of the level that block off players from easy access routes and instead forces them to make long detours for no apparent reason, other than to possibly pad the game's length. Other levels are just as disappointing as activities range from rescuing characters from the sea to analyzing lab samples, all of which are never entertaining experiences.
Other gameplay elements involve interrogating possible criminals, extinguishing boat fires, and of course driving boats from point A to point B. It was disappointing to see all the possible good ideas that the developers had for this game fall apart due to poor execution. In particular, some of the dream sequences contained puzzles that made no sense and provided no real direction on how to complete them. In other instances levels dragged on for no apparent reason other than poorly implemented gameplay design. The whole mystery aspect of the game in which players witness a different part of a dream in between each level should have been dropped entirely as the attempted drama and intensity don't fit the game's overall tone.
If those weren't enough issues the game also suffers from some of the worst optimization I've seen in a game. After having set the game to its lowest graphical setting and bringing the resolution down to 1280x720 it still had difficulties staying at a constant 60 FPS running on a Geforce 980. Some models looked great such as the boats and their interiors, while others like all the characters and the oil rig level looked truly awful. From the poorly designed gameplay mechanics to the terrible performance, Coast Guard is a game that needed a lot more development time or just a complete redesign of its core concepts. There are far better simulation and adventure games available to play. Coast Guard isn't worth your time or money.
* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company.
I've been writing for Gaming Nexus since 2011 and focus primarily on PC games and hardware. I'm a strong advocate of independent developers and am always seeking the next genre-breaking and unique game release. My favorite game genres are strategy, role-playing, and massively multiplayer online, or any games that feature open worlds and survival elements. View Profile