The deserted eyes of the abyss
Narcosis’s protagonist is part of the research project called Oceanova, which in 2016 has captured the attention of the whole world. Three years later, a small team of miners and researchers settled thousands of miles off the coast, and about two below the s
ea surface. On 2 February of the previous year, the $ 2 billion facility was struck by the shock wave of an underwater earthquake. Kip Mattas was on site as an engineer when the habitat – Compass I – was flooded. She fled with two of her colleagues, but she found herself alone on the seabed, trapped in a sophisticated five-pound weight scarf and no longer had the ability to communicate with the surface.
When you take control of it, Kip Mattas is locked in his “self-propelled coffin”, forced to somehow survive in the abyss, fighting his fears and his common manners.
In Narcosis there are no secret organizations and strange machinations, there are not even the most classic supernatural elements: you are the unknown of the depths of the sea and the certainty that death is ready to embrace you from one moment to the next. During this syncopated journey you will be very curious about the ev
ents that are represented, at times confused, with your head full of questions and doubts about what your destiny will be; just to the end you will understand where the story is going to go parade, discovering the results of a really well-written, convincing and mature tale.
Though it has been realized having in mind the virtual reality (and it’s easy to guess how much this fits well with the sense of claustrophobia and tension that the game wants to convey), Narcosis can also be used in a traditional way. However, it should be admitted that the technical sector – perhaps because of this upstream choice – is not the best of production.
It is complica
ted to be able to accept from the outset the constraints your dinghy and your condition impose on you: you are clumsy, slow, advanced to the slow motion and almost full of frustration, with only the possibility of using the propulsors intermittently and covering short distances . As well as being a clear choice of game design, we admit it is both controversial and annoying, it’s basically the best compromise that developers could find to make you immerse – literally – in the w
orld they created. At your disposal you have a powerful torch useful to lighten the darkness of the abysses, the rockets that lighten the small areas and a knife. The latter is actually ineffective, because beyond one, maybe two enemies,Oxygen has a key role in Narcosis , and you need to find cylinders (or stop at fixed stations) before your stocks run out. In this regard, encountering enemies, seeing visions, or being in desperate situations will speed up your heart rate and, consequently, increase your oxygen consumption by far.
In addition to these few elements that are the basis of the actions to be taken during an explorative explorative adventure, you are called upon to solve a couple of puzzles, some environmental, and other logic. Environmentalists show the inadequacy of the control system so that jumping from one platform to another becomes problematic even for the most experienced users, forced to a rather unhealthy trial and error.
Although there are some orchestrated moments, it is worth mentioning the presence of some less successful and inspired sections that weigh inevitably on the final evaluation. Narcosis , on the whole, has a shrill quality: writing is brilliant, knows how to emotionally engage the player and works from start to finish (though in broad points and in the background); gameplay is weaker, even beyond understandable design choices, which can not be an excuse for the objective defects of the game.
Technically, Narcosis has moments that recall the beautiful abyss sections seen in that pearl called SOMA , but it does not match its artistic inspiration and sound design made of abysmal shots and rebellious clangors; nor does it communicate the same feelings of loss. However, it has character, it can be distinctive and staged a credible environment and can disturb and disorient.