Vessel Review

Vessel Opening

*Sources of screenshots are listed in their respective file-names.

_____________________________________________

Vessel* is a puzzle game that-like its main character Arkwright-aspires to be more.

Both succeed.

Vessel shot 1 from Steam Store Page The first thing you’ll notice when playing Vessel is the water.

Vessel contains an amazing liquid simulation. Water pools, splashes and disappears (with heat) into a puff of steam. Goo sticks to various surfaces and slowly drips to the floor below. Lava coagulates into bundles of light. All of this occurs within a dark yet visually-vibrant steampunk world.

Vessel shot 3 from Steam Store Page Vessel shot 2 from PlayStation Store Page Vessel shot 2 from Steam Store Page This liquid simulation is not just for show. Liquids combine and react with each other to create various effects. These reactions include red and blue goo exploding, water and lava creating steam, etc.

Don't try this at home kids...

Don’t try this at home kids…

These alone would result in a deep puzzle-platformer, but Vessel adds one more element-Fluros.

Vessel shot 5 from Steam Store Page Arkwright invented these creatures as a source of free labor and energy. However, over the course of the game they begin evolving. The addition of exploiting and harnessing their emerging behaviors (such as fear of the light/dark) result in some intensely difficult puzzles:

Vessel shot 6 from Steam Store Page The extensive physics simulation combined with detailed retro graphics often cause the game to slow down dramatically (at least on the PS3). Although this creates a cool faux slow-motion effect, it can be visibly distracting.

Vessel also has a Metroidvania-type structure that allows you to explore the environments, backtrack, solve puzzles at your own pace and upgrade your equipment.

Vessel Upgrading from YouTube-DarkAlleyLP channel (1)

Insert mysterious “protoplasm…”

Vessel Upgrading from YouTube-DarkAlleyLP channel (2)

Spin wheel…

Vessel Upgrading from YouTube-DarkAlleyLP channel (3)

Pull lever…

Vessel Upgrading from YouTube-DarkAlleyLP channel (4)

Get upgrade.

One thing certain gamers and reviewers have been disappointed with is the ending (which is purposely ambiguous to invite interpretation).

My personal impression of the ending is that it actually makes sense based on Arkwright’s personality and the direction of the story. From the perspective of a Christian player, I can definitely see the possibility of a biblical interpretation (detailed in our “Potential Concerns” section).

Conclusion:

Vessel contains over 10 hours of mind-bending and diabolically challenging puzzle gameplay for PC and PlayStation 3 gamers.

In general we found the game to be family friendly. The ending (again, detailed in our “Potential Concerns” section) may hamper this aspect based upon your beliefs.

Potential Concerns:

*SPOILER ALERT* 

Please be aware that below is an examination of Vessel’s ending and themes.

Click on words highlighted in blue for linked scriptures.

_____________________________________________

By the end of the game, Arkwright comes to respect the Fluros, regarding them more as living beings instead of mere inventions gone haywire. They are beginning to form hierarchies and change their environment. Endlessly adapting…like us.

In this adaptability, Arkwright sees the key to finishing his device “The Accelerator.
He says:

…bridging the gap between Fluros and living beings. It will be my greatest invention, and the solution to all the ails of the modern world.

Having gathered the tools needed throughout this 9-11 hour adventure, Arkwright begins realizing his creation:

Vessel Journal page 1 from YouTube-Deadlytorch channel (4)

The drawing on the right page above depicting The Accelerator, liquids combining and a “center point” vaguely resemble that of occult practice. In and of itself, this is not very alarming, so let’s continue:

On the next page of the journal Arkwright notes how to bring his vision to life:

Vessel Journal Page 2

Notable lines include:

“…The force applied will concentrate the reaction into a focused point, unleashing the contained energy of a million Fluro lives on whatever lies within the center. The effect will be utterly transformational…”

…I must be the one to find order amongst this chaos. I must be the one to take this first step beyond myself. I have no other choice. I must evolve.

And evolve he does. Arkwright is about to transform from “a man with the power to bring ordinary matter to life,” to something strange (and yet oddly familiar to those with a knowledge of the Bible):

Vessel Diagram of Arkwright in the Accelerator from YouTube-DarkkBlueWolff channel

Players can look at the diagrams around the room and see how the process works, with the reactants swirling around the center point-Arkwright.

Vessel Ending Examination from YouTube-DarkkBlueWolff channel (1)

After gathering the required elements, Arkwright jumps into the Accelerator.

Vessel Ending Examination from YouTube-DarkkBlueWolff channel (6)

Emergency lights begin to flash…

Vessel Ending Examination from YouTube-DarkkBlueWolff channel (35)

…and he is sucked into the center of the Accelerator.

Vessel Ending Examination from YouTube-DarkkBlueWolff channel (61)

Blue and red goo particles begin to swirl around him (as required of the reaction).

Vessel Ending Examination from YouTube-DarkkBlueWolff channel (76)

…subsequently causing several small explosions to rock his body as the particles mix.

Vessel Ending Examination from YouTube-DarkkBlueWolff channel (77)

…subsequently causing several small explosions to rock his body as the particles mix.

Vessel Ending Examination from YouTube-DarkkBlueWolff channel (84)

…subsequently causing several small explosions to rock his body as the particles mix.

Vessel Ending Examination from YouTube-DarkkBlueWolff channel (94)

More emergency lights begin to flash as the components combine to form Protoplasm (the substance known for upgrading your equipment throughout the game).

Vessel Ending Examination from YouTube-DarkkBlueWolff channel (113)

The mixture spins faster…

Vessel Ending Examination from YouTube-DarkkBlueWolff channel (172)

…and closer…

Vessel Ending Examination from YouTube-DarkkBlueWolff channel (194)

…until finally…

Vessel Ending Examination from YouTube-DarkkBlueWolff channel (213)

…Arkwright is engulfed.

This mirrors Arkwright’s progression throughout the game, steadily becoming more obsessed with his creations and further scientific progress.

Vessel Ending Examination from YouTube-DarkkBlueWolff channel (217)

The protoplasm then explodes.

Vessel Ending Examination from YouTube-DarkkBlueWolff channel (224)

Is this the end of Arkwright?

Vessel Ending Examination from YouTube-DarkkBlueWolff channel (232)

No

Vessel Ending Examination from YouTube-DarkkBlueWolff channel (310)

The protoplasm forms a new configuration-a perfect circle.

Vessel Ending Examination from YouTube-DarkkBlueWolff channel (340)

Out of this circle emerges a figure…

Vessel Ending Examination from YouTube-DarkkBlueWolff channel (417)

A…body.

Vessel Ending Examination from YouTube-DarkkBlueWolff channel (446)

Out of this light a set of features wax into view…

Vessel Ending Examination from YouTube-DarkkBlueWolff channel (451)

Out of this light a set of features wax into view…

Vessel Ending Examination from YouTube-DarkkBlueWolff channel (474)

Female features, it appears.

Vessel Ending Examination from YouTube-DarkkBlueWolff channel (491)

The being’s eyes open.

Vessel Ending Examination from YouTube-DarkkBlueWolff channel (504)

Cut to black.

After the credits the following quote appears:

Vessel Ending Examination from YouTube-DarkkBlueWolff channel (526)…I am not dizzy. I stand as a tower, a lighthouse; the pale ray of my sentiency flowing from my face.

Ultimately, Arkwright evolves to become one with his creation-the vessel of progress.

A higher life-form.

A god.

Players should note the ending to ensure compatibility with their beliefs/satisfaction with their purchase.

Buy Now! (PC)

Buy Now! (PS3)

*This title was received for review. See our statement of ethics here. ________________________________________________________________

*Do you want to be saved?

*Do you want to make sure that you are saved?

*More articles from Video Games and the Bible.

About Nelson

Writer, amateur #gamedev, and Founder o' Video Games and the Bible. My interviews bring the boys to the yard. Featured from Kotaku to Rock Paper Shotgun. Dropsy.
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2 Responses to Vessel Review

  1. Elijah says:

    Good to see you making these reviews again.

  2. Ilse says:

    Your style is unique compared to other folks I have read stuff from.
    Many thanks for posting when you’ve got the opportunity, Guess I will just book mark this web site.

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