Narcosis is a first-person deep-sea survival horror game created by Honor Code, set in the unforgiving depths of the Pacific ocean. Narcosis tests the players resiliency as they must fight to survive against the hostile beings that inhabit the depths, contend with running out of oxygen and ultimately keeping their sanity intact. There is something about any adventure being set at the bottom of the sea that gives an uneasy feeling, perhaps this is because we humans are yet to fully explore those dark trenches, who knows what horrors truly do lie where humans dare not tread.
It would be fair to say that this game suffers greatly from its slow start, for the first 20 minutes or so you will find yourself walking along the sea bed, with only your surroundings offering any sort of entertainment, not very exciting. Our story begins with a group of industrial miners working to uncover untold treasures that can be found deep below the surface, naturally an unforeseen earthquake happens to strike setting the events of Narcosis into place.
Following the catastrophic earthquake which has left the miners headquarters in tatters, taking the lives of many workers in the process, we and our protagonist must find a way to survive, find a way to the surface before falling victim to a lack of oxygen or any of the oceans inhabitants that would gladly kill us. Armed only in the industrial work suit with a small knife for protection against some (not all) hostiles and some flares to be used wisely we set out on our journey. Be sure to keep a close eye on the oxygen meter, any threats perceived, or uneasiness felt is ultimately going to raise the stress levels of the protagonist causing more oxygen to be exerted. Oxygen tanks as well as flare boxes can be found all around the facility as you explore, keep an eye for this, as they are key to surviving this ordeal.
The voice acting in this game is much better than I expected it to be, with narrative being well done and well received. Too often in games, poor voice acting takes away from the experience, going so far as to ruin what could otherwise be an enjoyable game. Fortunately, in Narcosis the voice acting was on point offering a valuable story as opposed to incessant rubbish. Throughout the course of the game you may hear radio frequencies indicating that there are other survivors following the same protocols as you in their desperate attempt to not suffer the same fate as their co-workers.
Narcosis has brought out a fear that I had no idea I possessed, as someone who doesn’t have an issue with spiders it appears as though that may not be the case with underwater 8 legged freaks, please keep those things away from me! Unable to penetrate their exoskeleton with a knife we are left with little choice but to avoid them entirely or attempt distraction with a flare. There are always options for dealing with the foes our protagonist must face, some may be fended off with the knife, while offers must be avoided at all costs. This is what you will typically find in most horror games, having to avoid an enemy certainly adds to the tension, particularly when you are in a slow-moving suit on the sea bed.
Admittedly the graphics were lacking, while not terrible they could have been of a better standard, however thanks to the amazing voice acting and sound effects, I found myself not minding this downfall quite so much. As I wandered through the dark, abandoned facility searching for my fellow miners I could feel my heart racing, hearing the pitter patter of spiders or seeing shadows form above me was enough to paralyze me in fear. Narcosis achieved this remarkably well, the creepy atmosphere combined with physical terror propelled this title to new heights.
The biggest downfall Narcosis faces is the lack of areas to explore, there were a few narrow passage ways to tread but navigating them became so frustrating. Being in a suit that allows minimal movement when trying to get a look at the area you find yourself in ruined the games pace, a lack in direction has dented what was otherwise a well-designed game that created a mostly enjoyable experience.
While it may be lacking in graphics, direction and not having any replay value past wanting to see how quickly you can complete it, it did offer an enjoyable story with an eerie atmosphere surrounding you on your fight for survival. The hallucinations we experience throughout the game were well designed, adding to what would otherwise be basic horror experiences thanks to the inconvenient enemies. If you enjoyed SOMA, another sinister deep-sea adventure then I would recommend Narcosis, nothing quite gets the heart going like facing the unknown deep in the ocean where no on can hear you scream.
REVIEW CODE: A FREE Playstation 4 code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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