Narcosis throws players into the depths of the ocean, more specifically into a Methane Mining Base, in a high tech diving suit whilst trying to escape jump scares. This diving suit features incredibly slow and restrictive movement mechanics which initially didn’t feel ideal. Although I could liken it to ‘Tony Starks MK 1 Iron Man’ suit in terms of its cumbersome nature, the thought process behind it is sound given its genre placement.
The game starts in the training base which serves as a tutorial which involves a nice introduction to the protagonists HUD. Showing players various stats such as Oxygen, your Flares and thrusters which is placed very nicely just on the bottom of your screen feels like a natural placement. However, it does also take up a large portion of the players’ field of view, which for this reviewer interfered with the immersive quality of Narcosis.
Let’s jump into the horror aspect of Narcosis. If you love jump scares, then this game is for you! With that being said, Narcosis doesn’t tend to experiment with jump tactics, making some instances predictable. There are also many creatures in this game that appear throughout as previously mentioned. Without giving too much away there is a mix of creatures, smaller ones can be despatched with a trusty knife, whilst bigger creatures can sometimes prompt a runner!
Tank Combat, without the Tank
The combat in Narcosis leaves a lot to be desired. Moving back to the slow movement mechanics, this becomes quite a pain in the posterior when trying to take care of mid-level / sized creatures upwards. The key in any game that features combat as a game mechanic is to ensure that button presses represent a certain action in-game and wields the desired effect. Narcosis doesn’t really follow this structure and punishes players for trying to make the best of it due to the amount of damage taken whilst waiting for the next blow to land.
For all of Narcosis’ shortcomings, it’s eerie silence (which only breaks for almost ethereal environment effects) really adds to the game’s tension. From the exaggerated sound FX of footsteps to the sound of Spiders crawling around. Hell, I dare readers to put on a surround sound headset whilst walking through a cast (thanks Google) of Crabs to then not start slapping themselves.
Overall Score: 4
Narcosis is a Diamond in the rough that never got it’s last few rounds of polish. Whilst the presentation, creature design and sound work is brilliant, the core gameplay aspects break its immersion. If players want to find out how much damage they can take from a Crab whilst literally wearing a house, then this is the game for you!
Format: Playstation 4
Price: £16.99 (UK PlayStation Store)
Publisher: Honor Code, Inc.
Developer: Honor Code, Inc.
Age Rating: M/ 18+
Release Date: 24/07/2018 (UK Release date)
Review Copy Provided by Publisher