Publisher – Honor Code Inc.
Price – US $19.99 / EU €19.99 / UK £15.99
Release Date – March 28th, 2017
Input – Gamepad
VR Support – Seated experience
Available From – Steam / Oculus
Reviewed on – Oculus Rift
Care to go on a mind-bending adventure, fighting to escape the depths of the ocean all while managing to slowly lose your mind along the way? This is a survival horror game where you must traverse and adapt through a very hostile, underwater environment, all to sustain your ever-dwindling oxygen supply.
Starting off trapped at the bottom of the sea in a research station that has suffered some sort of catastrophic event, your mission is to survive by any means necessary and somehow make your way to the surface. Narcosis will present you with several diverse types of challenges besides keeping your oxygen up for your diving suit. Dangerous creatures and other horrors pop up seemingly at random constantly keeping me on my toes and moving cautiously around every corner. The puzzles offered here present a lot of challenge and the looming threat of enemies kept me on the edge of my seat.
The subtle feeling of losing your mind was my favorite part of this title. During the story you’ll experience several flashbacks or teleport you to another place to enjoy an incredibly lucid daydream. The slight changes to room variation or scenery on serve to make yourself feel like they are going crazy. I thoroughly enjoyed all the subtle, and not to subtle, ways this game tried to make you feel like you were going crazy. This is also accompanied with the usual jump scares of a horror genre and those are implemented very well using the advantages that virtual reality offers. I never once took my headset off feeling completely sane after playing Narcosis.
The only real problem I had with Narcosis was the locomotion system that is implemented. The game plays very slow and underwater you walk at a snails’ pace. If your aren’t a fan of the free movement option, you are left with pie-chart turning with your joystick rotating you a set amount of degrees. I managed to make the proper physical (and mental) adjustments with this, but it was a little jittery. It’s alright once you get use to the system but it’s easy to get disoriented in your actual environment.
Narcosis utilizes both visual and audio experiences to heighten your gameplay as much as possible. Flashing colors, and lights work perfectly to gain your attention leading you to something you otherwise might miss. Visual hallucinations are used very well as they transport you to another time and place at your most vulnerable points. The audio effects in the game add a lot to the ambiance of being trapped in a steel tube at the bottom of the ocean, as well as increasing your horror as you are tracked down by murderous eight legged beasts of the sea. One noticeable issue were the bodies lying around the game, they mostly appear to be bald white men, but when you investigate closer, their bio shows a completely different appearance. This wasn’t a huge issue, but it did hamper immersion a bit.
Narcosis is a survival horror game complete with the ability to fight back. This is definitely one of my favorite survival games for the VR, simply for the ability defend yourself instead of just fleeing and hiding at every encounter. Narcosis will take you through highs and lows, getting your hopes up and shattering your dreams when you get ever so close. The game be conquered in 4 hours or less and the first hour definitely drags a little, but get past that and the pace and story ramp up to a high level. This is a cerebral experience, a great take on survival horror and must play for those looking the mess with their psyche a bit.
What would I pay? I would gladly pay $20 for Narcosis. This is a great horror experience and for those looking to feel uneasy, you can’t get much better than this.
Honor Code Inc. supplied theVRgrid with a review copy of this game and, regardless of our score, we thank them for that!