Narcosis (XB1) Review

It’s not better down where it’s wetter. Take it from me.

When I first heard I would be reviewing Narcosis, I looked it up to see that it was originally a PC release, but more importantly, compatible with VR headsets. I was playing the Xbox One version which has no VR setup at all, so I really didn’t know what to think of it going in. After playing it, I can see how this game could be pretty decent in the atmosphere of the VR setting, but as a standard video game, it really falls flat in some aspects.

Narcosis has players take on the role of Kip. Kip is a scientist/miner that has been sent to an underwater base to mine different kinds of minerals. He and some of his team are exploring the ocean floor in their diving suits when an earthquake hits. This practically destroys the underwater base and kills most of his team. Being the only survivor and with limited oxygen in his suit, Kip must find a way out while trying to keep himself sane and oxygenated.

Platforms: PC, XB1
MSRP: $19.99
Price I’d pay: $10

The game all takes place in first person. In fact, the entire game takes place through the eyes of Kip as he is looking through the visor of his diving suit. All HUD information is displayed at the bottom of the visor, and while moving the right stick turns Kip’s head while the left stick moves the body. The suit itself requires oxygen, not only for survival but for a special boost ability that launches Kip forward and at an upward angle.

It is a linear game that will last roughly three hours. The name of the game is conserving oxygen while making it to the next refill tank. There are a few small puzzles here and there and some pretty tricky platforming areas. One in particular was really annoying, and almost made me want to put the game down for good. Due to the look being locked to the right stick, it is not actually used for movement. This doesn’t really translate well to a standard game without VR. It takes some getting used to, and by the time I got used to it, the game was over.

The big standout to Narcosis is the sound design and story presentation. While I found the jump scares to be ineffective, the sound design and, more importantly, the voice acting was very well done. Kip is constantly thinking to himself about what has happened and what is going on currently. It’s well written and executed very well.

There’s not much I can say about Narcosis. It was too short of an experience to really gather a lot for it. At the same time, this was made for VR and I’m sure if I had played it in VR it would have had a bigger effect on me. Unfortunately, while this is supposed to be a horror game, I never once jumped or was creeped out. To be honest, I was more slightly confused and annoyed with some of the choices the developers made when it came to both exploration and platforming. If you’re still interested, there are a few redeeming qualities, but not many. I’d still hold off until a price drop.

Review copy of game provided by publisher.

Good

  • Great atmosphere
  • Good voice acting

Bad

  • Uninspired jump scares
  • Platforming issues
  • Short experience
5.5

Mediocre

Drew is the Community Manager here at ZTGD and his accent simply woos the ladies. His rage is only surpassed by the great one himself and no one should stand between him and his Twizzlers.
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