Introducing Narcosis Dead Space Vent Necromorph

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Narcosis

  • Genre: Horror / Adventure, Survival
  • Camera View: First Person
  • Game Modes: Single Player
  • Developer: Honor Code, Inc.
  • Release Date: March 28, 2017
  • Languages: Multi
  • Available on: Steam
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If you're a horror fan and the name Frictional Games doesn't ring a bell, you probably know one of their games: Soma. The same might go for the developer Honor Code, Inc., whose game Narcosis follows a similar vein, meaning it aims to scare you with the dark depths of the ocean and its bizarre inhabitants.

Anyway, this mix of adventure and survival horror wouldn't be among my to-do introductions if it were just a cheap Soma clone. Nope, Narcosis leans on more realistic horror elements, focusing on the mind of the protagonist, an industrial diver, making for some true psychological horror. Honor Code themselves describe their unsettling dive like this:

Survival, horror at the sunless depths of the Pacific Ocean: Stranded on the seafloor with low light and few tools, an industrial diver takes desperate steps to surface before his oxygen — and sanity — give out.

This first person survival story unfolds from inside a half-ton, high-tech dive suit — a “walking coffin." Influenced and inspired by a growing appetite for unconventional horror and narrative-driven games, Narcosis is rooted in reality, but steeped in the surreal.

So, following a natural disaster at the bottom of the sea, you play as the only survivor, wearing a 1000-pounds deep-sea diving suit. This is one of the elements I particularly liked about Narcosis. As fans of the genre know, slow movement can heighten tension, but here, the claustrophobic suit and the nerve-racking soundscape add to the experience.

The constant thumping, the diver's heavy breathing, as well as the deep gurgling of the water make clear that sometimes it really doesn’t take ghosts, demons, or fictional settings to send chills down our spines. The largely realistic deep-sea creatures you encounter also demonstrate this, including aggressive giant crabs, large fish resembling fangtooth and viperfish, and more.

Thanks to a diving knife and flares, you're not entirely defenseless, but these won't work against every attacker, especially the larger ones. These generally need to be avoided, but don't imagine an underwater version of Metal Gear Solid. Narcosis is a more linear game focused on atmosphere and narrative, thankfully avoiding a catalog of cutscenes that could disrupt the intense experience.

In my opinion, Honor Code's work doesn't quite reach Soma's level, but it certainly isn't lacking in—pun intended—depth. Particularly when the diver is later plagued by hallucinations and the story becomes more surreal, it gets really interesting. If Narcosis's setting appeals to you, you shouldn't miss out on this title.

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