When someone brings up games set underwater, 2K’s BioShock franchise and the indie hit Soma come to mind. Narcosis is the latest addition to the list of games that aren’t content with a terrestrial game world. Developed and published by indie studio Honor Code, the game is best experienced in VR, preferably the HTC Vive which is how we tested it.

Narcosis is a first person survival, horror game that tells the tale of a survivor who walks out (or rather swims) alive after an underwater industrial operation goes wrong and people start dying quite violently. Narcosis doesn’t offer much in the way of a story or combat. In fact, it would be apt to say that it is more of an experience than a game, if you have a VR headset, that is.

Narcosis: A Deeply Immersive Experience

Exploring the depths of the Pacific Ocean while managing your oxygen draw and at the same time evading big (and by big I mean absolutely gigantic) spider-crab creatures that too in a half-a-ton dive suit is quite harrowing. It doesn’t get any more atmospheric than that. On top of that Narcosis has some neat survival mechanics, with an impressive attention to detail to boot. You are supposed to watch your oxygen levels and gruesome experiences like say getting mauled by the demonic angler fish increase the oxygen intake quite dramatically.

Narcosis
An Anglerfish

The best part is on your first run you have absolutely no idea when or where that might happen. This is also when the player character starts hallucinating and you start seeing all finds of freaky stuff like your dead comrades coming back to steal your soul, among other things that are sufficient to dull your sanity.

Oxygen cylinders are fairly common throughout the game, but that’s not what will bother you much, at least once you get used to it. Its the resident fish. They aren’t very welcoming, and the fact that they look like otherworldly monsters doesn’t make it any easier. Whats worse is that you can’t fight all of them.

Kitchen Knives and Navigation

I mean all you get is a kitchen knife that you swing around almost in slow-motion. And even if the knife was bigger I doubt it’d help against horse-sized spiders. With the heavy suit and all, your best bet, no, your only bet is to hide and hope they don’t see you. And if you have a phobia of spiders like me that makes it even worse.

Narcosis
Big spider-crab things

My only complain with this game is the navigation and the map, to be more exact the lack thereof. Its really hard to navigate and figure out where you’re supposed to go with absolutely no directions, especially when everything looks the same. Early on in the game this doesn’t cause any major problems but by the end it starts to get annoying and the fact that you have a limited supply of oxygen doesn’t do you any favors.

Pros

Highly atmospheric and detailed

Decent visuals

A realistic version of the deep-sea

Creepy fishes and spiders?

Cons

Lack of story and characters

Short

No map or navigation

 

Conclusion

Narcosis isn’t for everyone. If you don’t have a VR headset, then only consider buying the game as long as you are a fan of the genre, or perhaps if you like large, creepy spiders. As I mentioned earlier, its more of an experience than a game and a VR headset is highly recommended for complete immersion.

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