Disaster Report 4 is, in so many ways, a complete failure. Its objectives are an illogical botch, the frame-rate tends to lurch down to single figures, there’s an eternal haziness that makes it look like you’re viewing its world through petrol fumes while character models look like they’ve been picked fresh from a PlayStation 2 game that’s been sitting unloved on a CEX shelf for some years. I absolutely implore you to try it.
There’s every chance you’ve played something like it before, if your tastes were a little bit more esoteric during the early noughties. Known as Zettai Zetsumei Toshi in Japan, the first game in a survival series that places you in the aftermath of a natural disaster made its way to these shores under the name of SOS: The Final Escape in 2003 before its sequel was given the title Raw Danger upon its western release. Since then the subsequent games have never been localised, with original developer Irem shifting away from video games leaving its developers to start splinter studio Granzella to carry on the flame.
It’s a slightly convoluted history that gets more convoluted still when it comes to Disaster Report 4, a game whose development began under Irem’s watch before the great earthquake of 2011 in Japan saw the project put on hold, with Granzella and original director Kazumi Kojo returning some years later to see it all through to completion. Which might go some way to explain the shabbiness of Disaster Report 4. To say it plays like a game from almost a decade ago would be overly polite; instead, this plays like a PS2 game that’s been put in a tumble dryer that’s just been thrown down several flights of stairs.