Great graphics, especially when travelling around with the ship. Has a lot of potential, and could see some great improvements that would only better the gameplay experience.
The awkward story line, and time consuming boat travels make for a somewhat dry gameplay experience.
Hidden behind a wall of hidden potential, Coast Guard makes me want to play but seems to always leave me a bit disappointed when I do. Through outstanding graphics, and a fairly interesting murder mystery theme, I expected a little more. I believe that the creators are on the right track, but have to iron out a few kinks first.
Where To Get It
There are two very different types of gameplay that exist in the game, and both of which have the potential to be exciting but seem to constantly fall short.
The most seen type of style is the puzzle theme. This involves you attempting to find some clues and solve a puzzle of some kind, like you are playing Scooby-Doo on a boat. You are forced to check out every fact and every clue before being able to make an official call on the situation. I think this bothered me a little more than I expected, but I think it was because of the way that it is handled. When trying to find clues you often times have to talk with your fellow shipmates, who usually tell you what to do. When you are ready to give your shipmates an answer, a multiple choice list will show up, and your job is to simply pick the correct answer. The setup is simple enough, but when you have not yet found the answer, it just simply does not appear in the list of available answers. There do not seem to be any real consequences for selecting an incorrect answer other than "Haha Finn, great joke. Seriously though, what is 'insert puzzle piece here'?"
The second style of gameplay is an interesting of mystery thriller. I really liked the style that the developers were going for with the scenery and scariness behind it all, but I always felt like I had a very specific objective to accomplish, and it was never any difficult to complete.
I would love to see a Coast Guard two, one that introduces a multiplayer aspect. It would be nice if there was a lot more open water that you can actually travel and find random things with a partner. Maybe your partner has their own boat, or maybe not, but in the end the two of you have to rescue stranded boats or possibly chase some pirates.
Overall, the user interface is not bad, but there are some good and bad things that should be shared. The game is primarily a first person style, and all of the controls are exactly what you would expect them to be, except for space bar. I know, it's a simple key binding problem, but when I hit space in a first person game I always expect to jump instead of having my camera angle change. You have no idea how many times I accidently changed my camera instead of jumped. The game also utilizes a drag and drop system of interacting with important items from your inventory. The system is not bad, but it is a little annoying sometimes because the interaction is not as smooth as it could be.
The game looks great, but has some demands from your graphics card. I was running this game with an NVidia 780, granted not the strongest of GPUs but still has some solid power behind it, and the game was able to bring my card to its metaphorical knees. The transitions were strange when I would notice a frame rate drop. Normally I will be running with roughly 60 fps, but when I travel to the bottom of the ship I will stay at a constant 10-15 fps. I had to learn the patterns of when and where my card would struggle, and tried to avoid those areas at all costs.
When travelling the seas, everything looks fantastic. From the water crashing against the side of the ship, from the various boats that you meet on your journey, everything has a nice look appeal to it. Although I had a bit of trouble with the controls of the camera, the different angles are really something to enjoy. My favorite position on the boat was manning the water cannons, those were both hilariously fun and great to look at.
The overall sound of the game seems quite pleasant. When you have to drive your boat around, the tempo of the music is fairly slow and relaxing. Whenever you have to walk around, the tempo sometimes picks up a little bit. There are no pop music boat parties going on, but to be fair you are a part of the coast guard. Maybe that could be a pitch for another game, "Coast Guard II: Party Time". All in all though, the sound seemed to fit quite well for the style of gameplay.