This is BY FAR one of the best titles that you will find in Early Access. The Devs are very active and devoted to creating a new and brilliant style of gameplay. If you want proof of this, just check out the forums; Nick Smart (one of the devs) is constantly interacting, updating, explaining, and accepting new ideas with members of the forum. From the Depths is a very unique RTS, sandbox, and RPG mashup that flows together very well.
The biggest feature that this game has to offer is the vehicle designer gamemode (In a way, the creative mode that many of you understand well). You start out an a little wooden raft and are free to build whatever your creativity can come up with. 17th Century Sailboat? (Yes there are sails in the game) Done. Civil war ironclad? Done. Speedy figher jet that drops bombs everywhere? Done. Alien spaceship invasion force? Done. Rocket powered speed boat? Can do. You add an AI mainframe onto the ship and suddenly, it comes to life, full sail with lasers for broadsides. You test it to ensure its absolute domination on the sea against other creations. It works, you tested it, and it looks great; now, you use it to take over the world.
The next step is the campaign gamemode. You spawn in the world on the bottom left corner of the game's map. You have a starting fortress and a limited amount of resources. Soon, you'll have an enemy fleet coming for an attack. You fix your fortress, gather some resources, and build your first dinky wooden warship. With that warship, you capture enemy resource territories and build a fleet to take on the world. You build several of that hulking mashup of a sailboat and science fiction and wipe the other factions off the map, all while acting like you're some space pirate here to steal the world's loot.
And that's just scratching the surface.
From the Depths has a whole other level of detail that goes into the creation of your weapons and ship internals. Engines are the first step, with the engine block connected to crank shafts, connected to cylinders, connected to carbeurators, connected to fuel tanks as well as.... You get it. You can customize fuel efficiency vs. power production. You make power so that your cannons can work... with their firing pieces, various barrel types, explosive amunition... Same sort of thing. This pattern continues with the lasers, the missiles/bombs/torpedos/mines, the drills, the custom jet engines. and the AI. But you also have to pay attention to the hull, because if you make a large rectangle with a flat frontal surface, it will barely move due to drag. But watch out for that armor, because if you neglect it your ammunition barrels will get hit and explode.
THAT is the level of detail that you will find in From the Depths.
All vehicles are affected by physics. A missing wing will cause you to spiral out of control. A damaged engine won't provide as much thrust. A hull breach caused by ammunition storage going off will cause your heavily armored battleship to sink to the ocean floor.
The wonderful thing about it: there is no ONE way to play the game. There is no single prediscovered tactic that if-you-don't-use-you-won't-win sort of thing (Civ V I'm looking at you). Any branch of tactic can work, AND WORK WELL. It's very well balanced. A fleet of airships can do well, a fleet of submarines can do well, a modern navy can do well also.
-Underwater warfare, naval warfare, land warfare (soon to be ironed out as it is not fully fleshed out yet), air combat, and space combat (soon to be fleshed out as well)
-Limited Multiplayer (currently undergoing major optimization and expanding)
-Strategic control of forces
-Epic explosions and vehicle destruction!
Very few, and the few there are are very quickly stamped out by the Devs. None will be game breaking.
Decent, as it currently uses up a whole lot of CPU once the bigger battles commence. (However, there are options in the gameplay that allow you to limit immediate size of battles so that you can keep your computer at a decent FPS.) It can get quite laggy, but it's not horrifying if you have a moderately decent computer.
To give perspective, when I originally got this game, all I had was a Macbook Pro (sad days). I could run the game with a few fairly large ships in and still have plenty of FPS to have a good experience.
In all, I love it. Many Early Access titles have reviews that say a game shows "promise". Many of these games never fufil their promises unfortunately. From the Depths, however, has already fufilled its promise! The game is already more immersive in Early Alpha than many games become in years. The promise of From the Depths is now being told in what comes in the future to further gameplay and depth.
Hopefully, over 400 hours put into a game that is still technically in pre-alpha is a good indication on what and where FTD is going.
this all obviously takes some time. It will take a while to learn how to use the game. You will spend up to several hours making a ship. This will only appeal to certain people. If you are looking for a small game to pass a little bit of time, this is not for you. If you do not have the patience to use the game to its fullest extent, look somewhere else. It will feel like a waste of money if you cannot afford that.
IF you have all of these, as well as some creativity and desire, you will love it as well.
Please give the game more than 15 minutes before you get mad and post a negative steam review, it is well worth it if you look past the game's surface.