Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Format: PlayStation 3
Release Date: May 9, 2012
Copy obtained via PlayStation Plus
I’m almost at a loss for words to explain Datura.
It’s definitely a video game, but there’s nothing about it that comes off as fun, entertaining, or worth the investment of time and money. It’s a game that left me with more questions than I can waggle a DualShock at, but they aren’t even questions that I really care to know the answers to.
Even after playing the game from start to finish, I have no clue what the plot is.
Datura starts off by having you play as a man riding in the back of an ambulance. You’re hooked up to a machine, a nurse is monitoring your vitals, and you’re tasked with unplugging yourself and escaping from the vehicle. Things don’t go as plan, and the nurse injects you with some sort of medicine to knock you out. You then wake up in the middle of a forest, complete with with weird structures, a fat pig, and doors that may or may not lead to anywhere.
As you explore the small forest, the screen will occasionally fade to black.
After these fade outs, you’ll find yourself in one of several odd situations. One had me sitting next to a strange man in the back of a futuristic police vehicle, another had me using a crowbar to pry wooden planks off of a door, and another had me using a pickax to break through the ice under my feet. These segments are extremely odd, fail to fit in with the rest of the game, and come off as nothing more than pretentious.
Making matters worse, Datura has one of the most uncomfortable and awkward control schemes I’ve ever encountered. The game is in first-person, which is fine, but both movement and turning are done on the left thumbstick. Do I really need to explain the problem here? The reason for this is that the right thumbstick controls your hand, which floats around on the screen like a disjointed phantom. You use the stick to move the position of the hand, the motion control inside of the DualShock to alter the direction it’s facing, and the R2 trigger to interact with objects. It’s a horrible clunky mechanic that instantly turned me off due to how poorly it works.
It is worth noting that the game was originally designed with the PlayStation Move controller in mind, but I don’t own one of those funky little devices. Instead, I was stuck using the DualShock control scheme. Perhaps it works better with a motion controlled device, but I don’t think I could ever bring myself around to playing this game again to find out.
On the plus side, the visuals and audio weren’t complete rubbish.
The fall colored leaves in the forest are beautiful to look at it, which is nice saying as how virtually every other aspect of the game is ugly. Thankfully, the score in Datura is rather pleasant as well. It lends itself nicely to a jaunt in the woods, it’s just a shame that the woods don’t offer much in terms of interesting things to see or do.
On a closing note, Trophy Hunters might be interested to know that you can complete the game and earn all of its trophies in around an hour and a half. There’s no Platinum, but it’s a real short and manageable 100%.
Please do me a favor and avoid Datura.
The story is practically non-existent, the whole game comes off as pretentious, and it has one of the most confusing and unfriendly control schemes I’ve ever had the misfortune of using. While you might be intrigued to give it a download since it’s being offered this month (September 2016) via PlayStation Plus, let me stop you before you waste your time. Unless you enjoy tormenting yourself with bad games, don’t waste your time or money on Datura.
– Zack Burrows