Developer: Byte Barrel
Minimum: 64-bit Windows 7, Intel Core i5 or AMD Ryzen, 8 GB memory, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950, 4 GB free space
Recommended: 64-bit Windows 10, Intel Core i5 or higher, AMD Ryzen or higher, 16 GB RAM or more, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050ti or higher, 4 GB free space
Similar Games: Doom
The game caught my eye back last fall when I saw the announcement video for the Early Access version. It already looked like it was going to be a prominent title among similar shooters. It’s finally time for version 1.0, so now it’s worth taking a look at it.
The story doesn’t exaggerate the story, it just puts the action that accompanies it in context. In an introvideo at the beginning of the game, we learn that one of our relatives was most likely kidnapped by a Cthulhu sect, and we set out to search for clues. Captioned on each track, we can see if we’re arriving somewhere relevant to the story, but if we skip them, the game still gives it its whole. The point is, we need to eradicate the abominations that evoke the works of HP Lovecraft.
Games like this are fashionable nowadays to be called boomer shooters, and on some level that stands out. In addition to its modern visuals, action and control immediately evoke classic shooters. There is no need for a sprint function, as our character is almost running around. We will also need this dynamic movement, because the monsters will flood us from all directions. We have no crosshairs, we just look in the direction and pull the trigger. In order for the action to never slow down, there is not even a reload in the game. As long as we have ammo in stock, we can push the damage.
You can choose from two characters to shoot with: a priest or a journalist. In the case of the former, the more defensive approach is characterized by the style of play associated with it, while in the latter, aggression will be more dominant. Our weapon supply is surprisingly diverse. A revolver, machine guns, a shotgun, but even something called Thunderonomicon reminiscent of a grenade launcher are part of our collection. We can also develop these weapons, for example, we can unlock a double revolver from the revolver, which can be used with reduced accuracy due to the simultaneous use of the two weapons in exchange for an increased rate of fire. The skill tree used for development is quite diverse, and each thing you can develop has 3-4 levels.
The visual world of the tracks plays a pretty serious role in the experience. We get a storm lantern to light in the dark, but even a flashlight reminiscent of Doom 3. However, we can experience its disadvantage in a similar way, because as long as we have it in our hands, we cannot shoot. The tracks can be very dark, so the light they provide is really useful, but we have to be prepared to switch weapons from the reflex if the opponent shows up. The lights provided by the track elements can also be very spectacular, even though the makers did not use any ray tracing or similar technology.
The cthulhus, tentacle stuff was taken pretty seriously by the developers. The sites are full of elements related to fishing and sea creatures. Most of our opponents also have huge octopus tentacles, and our weapons undergo a similar transformation after they are developed. The improved shotgun, the Spitter, gets several tentacles with colorful, pulsating animations in the middle of which we have to put the cartridge in the middle. The Abyssal Shotgun, on the other hand, is almost turning into an actual fish with fins on top.
Graphics: Regarding the graphics in the game, if I want to put it very superficially, I would say Darkest is a mix of Dungeon, XIII and Doom. The world of visuals is very comic, but the creators have created very cozy venues by using the lights in a particularly creative way. There are 2D models in it in a 3D world that follows our perspective. The explosion of blood and body parts was shown in some detail. The animations of the models consist of quite a few frames, but they are still able to give an expressive image. The game also responds to many small details. For example, one unit that carries a severed head in its hand puts the head in its hand in place of its own if we kill it with a headshot, and so it can continue to chase us. The model can also change, as in the case of the Liquidator, where if the tank on the back is shattered, the liquid in it will immediately erode your body and your skin will disappear.
User interface, controllability: The image of our character was animated to evoke Wolfenstein 3D. It blinks by default, but with damage, its image becomes distorted and bleeds. The edge of our display also acts as a kind of status indicator. If a hit hits us, you will see a bloody splash. Illuminates according to the color of the items you can pick up as they flash yellow (for example, in the case of ammunition). I would note that for someone who is sensitive to flashing lights, this may already be too much.
Above is the life bar of our current destination. On the right you can clearly see the amount of ammunition of our current weapon and the status of the usable things, as well as the shortcuts associated with them. Personally, I really like this in a game, because during a fast-paced action, one sometimes forgets which item is assigned to which button. If we get keys, the game will display it in a nice line to the left, next to our character image, so we can keep track of which ones we have. The game requires very fast reaction time and movement even on medium difficulty, but luckily our character is extremely easy to control and responds quite dynamically to input.
Playability: The development options can make a game play quite different. The two characters are definitely sharpened into different play styles. If someone loves classic-style FPS games, searching for keys won’t be a negative for them either. The tracks are relatively generous in terms of rescue options, but it’s worth taking every opportunity to save. During the early access phase, there were backup connections issues. Fortunately, I haven’t come across any of these in the release version. The tracks and the locations within them are varied enough that we won’t get bored of constant shooting even on a long run.
Intelligence, difficulty: We have to be pretty alert during the game because there will be a lot of opponents and a lot of attacks that will try to fool us. Fortunately, there is a mechanic that can help us in situations like this: madness. This system takes a big twist on the “run and gun” gameplay. The more we replenish our madness index, the more damage we do and the less damage we do. In addition, in a way reminiscent of Sin City, the filling of the meter gradually disappears all colors except red. This can be achieved either by killing or by consuming alcohol. If we are skillful enough, we can maintain this state for a very long time with the right combination of killing and ability use.
Sounds, music: The music fits well with the mysterious, horrorous locations. Mysterious ambient music goes on as soon as we walk in the dark, and then the game switches to fast-paced music as soon as the fight starts. The guns also have a powerful sound, but the shotgun (which, by the way, tends to have the strongest popping sound in most games anyway) and the MP18 sound a little dull. The revolution of the revolver, on the other hand, is quite dynamic, and since it is a fairly strong starting weapon, we will hear a lot. The two protagonists, on the other hand, keep commenting on events, which I can’t believe was unintentionally so cicadic. They approach Lo Wang’s lyrics, but somehow they don’t reach that level of humor in me. The journalist’s dubbing went a little poorly. The noise of the monsters, on the other hand, compensates for this. They have pretty much the sound we would imagine looking at them.
Summary: It was a good feeling to see a retro-inspired shooter capable of smuggling modern elements into the gameplay and technology. The bodyhorror and many tentacles are very good for the game, which is made even more brutal by the bloody, choppy death animations. The fact that you don’t have to reload your weapons allows for very fast arena battles, and combined with madness mechanics, there’s not a dull moment during battles. In history, I thought there would be a bigger difference between the two characters, but the game specifically just replaces the character you just saw in the videos as well. For fans of classic shooters, I think it’s an unmissable piece, but it’s also worth giving a chance to lure monster fans.
Source: SG.hu Hírmagazin – Játék by sg.hu.
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