Buggy and extremely unpolished
This isn't intended to be a AAA title, I understand that. But I do expect a game where at least some measurable effort has been put into it. I expect a sim to actually simulate what it is said to be a sim of. I just didn't find that here, and instead, I found a seemingly incomplete, too early to be released attempt to be a firefighting sim. There are too many things wrong with the game that break the immersion of it feeling like a firefighting simulation.
Had this been an early access game, I may have been able to see potential (and obviously, reviewed it differently). But because this is allegedly a complete game, it must be reviewed accordingly.
=== THE GOOD ===
The premise. To be honest, that's about all I could find good with the game. I do find the genre (rescue simulator) interesting and fun, but the premise only takes us so far...the mechanics, gameplay, ambiance, etc. all must come together to help immerse the player in the experience. The game just doesn't do that.
=== THE BAD ===
AMBIENT SOUND ISSUES
--engine sound cuts on and off despite there being no running vehicles nearby
--door sound opening/closing whenever a person is nearby in the station (despite no doors opening/closing nearby)
--no sound distance; all same level despite distance (with a couple exceptions of cars I found while I was walking on road, but even then, they cut in and out instead of properly fading in and out)
--repeat voice loops (constant "good morning" and "Man, another shift that seems like it will never end." On the way back from the event, he kept repeating "I could really do with another hour of sleep." I didn't know firefighters complained so much about their job.
--roaring fire sound same for all fires, even an extremely small 1 box fire. That is, it doesn't matter if a building is on fire or if it is a shoebox, it's a roaring fire with the same sound effect 100% of the time
--shading is bad on characters and other assets, more like smoke. It's difficult to describe, I've never seen a game do that before. I've changed the settings to see if it changes anything, it doesn't. I may post a screenshot to give an example.
--reflections don't make sense. You can see reflections of things (like people for example) at angles, distances, and heights that are physically impossible (walking through the tutorial will give you an example of what I meant, but perhaps I should upload a screenshot to illustrate)
--hose is non-existent once it is connected to water source. Nozzle appears in hand, but it is never connected to the hose. This is an immersion breaker.
--reflections in vehicle rear view mirror are non-existent (except for sometimes, the top 1/4 of the rear view mirror displays the sky, nothing more)
--100% of all civilian vehicles have darkest possible tint - can't see inside any vehicle
--walks randomly w/o meaning (back and forth down halls). They have no real tasks, they do nothing. They are just there to give the illusion that the facility is not empty, but it just doesn't work IMO.
--will continue to walk into obstacles (like a desk). Eventually they seem to stop...but it takes a little while before they figure out they can't walk through the desk, it's weird.
--colleagues do not actually do anything at all. They are there just for aesthetics (they do not put fires, they only appear to be doing so). The Steam home page advertises that your fellow firefighters do help you...but they don't. They don't do jack. The outcome of an event/emergency rests entirely with you...the other "people" there are just for show.
=== THE UGLY ===
--Tutorial only takes you through walkthrough of the department, it does not teach you the operations of the vehicles, nor does it tell you anything about any of the tools you use in putting out fires. There's a fair amount of different equipment, but absolutely no training on how to use them or what it connects to, etc.
The tutorial does absolutely nothing more than what an in-game map could do. That is no exaggeration. There is no benefit that the tut gives other than showing you where rooms are and in some rooms, what can be found there (a couple items here, coffee maker here, etc.).
--Mouse sensitivity - despite having it on its lowest settings, it's still extremely sensitive, I had to use my control panel to adjust settings since game's settings are insufficient. 1st time I've ever had to do that in a game.
--Physics...high pressure hose does not affect any entity in game except fire. 100% of all entities are there for aesthetics only (gas cans, boxes, trash, etc.). There are no movable objects.
--Water...once it leaves the hose, it magically appears, never to be seen again. There is no water on the ground, no soaking walls, nothing. It leaves the hose and disppears into thin air.
--cars take ZERO damage when running into them. They stop (at least), but nothing else happens. Obviously this is not a demolition sim....but I expected at some some sign of damage or some penalty. There's not a scratch on any vehicle, not even the truck I'm driving.
--100% clipping when walking into cars (or them driving into you). They are "ghost cars" apparently.
=== CONCLUSION ===
This is a game I'd expect to be in very early access. Currently, there are many early access games that are further along than this. The idea behind the game (being a firefighter faced with different emergencies) is great, but the application fails miserably IMO. Far too many bugs, immersion breaking issues, and lack of polish in just about every area imaginable.
I had reasonable hopes for the game, but they were dashed by a poorly delivered product on almost every level possible.
IMO, the game is worth around $5. I doubt that many players will get more than a few hours of game play from it as it is tedious, buggy, doesn't make sense at times, annoying (eg sounds), and has too many immersion breaking issues.