Narcosis- A state of stupor, drowsiness or unconsciousness produced by drugs. The definition of the word drew me to the game. Yet the first-person horror game holds quite little to how good the name may sound. While yes, the character does in some places feel drowsy and the game blurs lines of reality and hallucination, I can’t help but feel like it could have been better.
This game was good, don’t get me wrong… until you realise it has the exact same feel and atmosphere as another horror game, Soma. Soma did it better, much better. This game seems to have gotten the audience wrong as well as blatantly copied another games concept, story, and looks. The ship that you find yourself on in Narcosis seems extremely familiar, because it feels the same as Soma. If you haven’t played Soma before this I recommend playing this, as you’ll think it is an entirely new concept and is creative- maybe even scary (with its cheap and far between jump scares and dead atmosphere that couldn’t even make a child scared). Then once you’ve played this, play Soma and come back to me- tell me it’s not the same.
As well as all that, the game doesn’t control very well, the buttons are mapped easy though which is a plus, but when you play with a controller (no VR) it’s very hard to move the character in conjunction with the camera, especially in tight places and narrow corridors. As I previously stated the game is a horror (self-proclaimed) as I was not at all scared with this game, petty jump scares that you can see a mile away and giant crab spiders aren’t my vibe. I went into this expecting to be scared and I was left wanting more from something that wasn’t giving anything. I think a major factor to the lack in horror is the weakness of the story, it isn’t very strong or comprehensive and I found myself sitting there thinking ‘what am I supposed to be doing?’ Not to mention the sound is well off, the music, which is a huge help to creating that classic horror feel, was far too low, even when other settings were adjusted and the voice of the main character too loud. I found his voice very much like someone talking down my ear, which I get may be partly what they were going for, a sort of out-of-body experience, but no. It doesn’t work very well, it just sounds weird.
Yes, there are more negatives in this review than positives, but I would like to point out that maybe playing with VR could change the experience, maybe make it easier to control? Maybe fix the sound if you use headphones, maybe even make it scarier! But it shouldn’t matter, yes VR may enhance, but it shouldn’t be the thing the game relies on to be decent, and if it is what it relies on, it shouldn’t be an option to play without a VR.
The game is lengthy however about three hours collecting as much as you can. As well as this there is some replay value there, as achievement hunters will be pleased to know its 100 GS for most if not all achievements. There are some achievements that maybe you may miss on your first go, so you can replay to get those, if you’re not completely annoyed or put off by your first go. Also, if you’re not into super scary games maybe you can appreciate this story more, as for me this wasn’t a horror story and felt like a rip off, yet maybe someone else could enjoy the sci-fi vibe Narcosis gives off.
So overall, I guess I didn’t get the full experience for this game because I didn’t play with VR, but as I said I personally don’t think it should make much of a difference. The story was rather poor as a horror game and the scares were cheap and far between, the sound was off, and the acting was very poor. The graphics were good, and the controls were well mapped and were a few new selections of device (the flares) than what is normally expected from a horror now days. Yet its unforgivable to me how hard it was at times to move my character and the fact that the atmosphere was so flat consistently is an issue for this game. There is some replay value there but not enough in my opinion to make anyone want to play again. And last but not least, I do feel as though i’d already played the game due to the similarities to Soma. I even asked others to play a small portion and they (of their own accord) said it reminded them of Soma.
REVIEW CODE: A FREE Microsoft Xbox One code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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