As you know, the Gamersyde team does not only like AAA games. We are always happy to discover independent titles, especially when they are well done, like Narcosis. Small developer Honor Code started it as a student project at Cnam-Enjmin in Angoulême France, so we had no idea what to expect in terms of atmosphere or story. If you want to find out more about the game, check out of videos and read our verdict inside. As announced earlier today, we'll also be live tonight at 8:45 with one of the developers.
Narcosis is a very pleasant surprise yo say the least. One might have thought that coming after SOMA would be difficult, but as it turns out, they are quite different in terms of gameplay and narration. Frictional Games' title also put the emphasis on a story-driven experience, but Narcosis doesn't follow in their footsteps, and the same goes with the core gameplay mechanics. They share the same reflection on the implications of survival and loneliness in a hostile environment, but Honor Code's game is a lot more grounded reality, in that it never leans toward science-fiction. As a first project, it may not be perfect, but it managed to keep us on our toes until the very end, up until the unexpected final twist that we personally didn't see coming. Sure, maybe sometimes the developers try a bit too hard to scare the player, which does not seem necessary to us as the game is atmospheric enough not to require such easy gimmicks, but at the end of the day, Narcosis is an experience well worth your time, on a monitor/TV, or with a VR headset.
On the plus side
+ Suffocating and oppressive atmosphere
+ The slow movements of the suit make perfect sense
+ No supernatural monsters or underwater zombies
+ The mix between linearity (first part) and exploration (second part)
+ Solid storytelling
+ Nice visuals
+ Excellent voice acting
+ VR compatible (HTC Vive and Oculus)
+ The unexpected ending
+ The narrative bonus unlocked at the end
+ Good Price/Length ratio (4 to 6 hours for $19.99)
On the downside
- Can occasionally be a bit frustrating
- Pretty generous when it comes to oxygen supplies
- Now everyone will enjoy the slow pace...
- ... or the Walking Simulation aspect of the game