; edited by: J. F. Amprimoz
; updated: 4/17/2012
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Take WW1 - a quite original setting for a game - and, fearing that is not enough, fill it with zombies, demons, vampires and spellcasting... What you get is Necrovision, a game that seems confused as to what exactly it represents - a horror shooter or a zombie comedy... and falls short in both.
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I have an instant positive feeling towards any shooter that is set in the era of WW1. Firstly, I have grown tired of the unending stream of WW2 games - shooters, strategies, even an odd RPG... Many of those games are quite good, actually, but I believe that many gamers long for change... Why not a change that brings in the trench warfare of WW1, old bolt action weapons, the first tanks and other challenges? I believe that such project could be turned in quite an interesting and entertaining game.
Still, it seems like every developer that tries this terra incognita soon starts to believe that WW1 is not quite original and interesting in itself, and tries to spice things up with alternative history and - in Necrovision's case - magic. Which is a sad prospect, as a game with zombies and demons is a game with zombies and demons first - and the background of the events is soon forgotten...
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Let's start with the eye candy part... And here come the problems. I think that shooters are exactly the type of game that benefits from great graphics - you see everything from a first person point of view, and, if the gameplay itself tends to be a bit repetitive, you need something that keeps you hooked. Necrovision does not succeed in this redeeming point for many mediocre shooters.
Graphics are visibly dated, models are blocky, spell effects and supernatural things ungainly, and overall you get the impression that you are playing a game couple of years old. There are some good things about it, though - the surroundings seem grim and dark, fitting the WW1/horror theme, zombies - the type of enemies that got the most attention, it seems - look naturally menacing and evil... But that doesn't help the overal smudgy blurriness, which makes it problematic to see enemy further than a few metres away, low-polygonal environment and the overall feeling of ugliness.
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Despite the orchestral notes and an occasional hard rock theme that jumps in - some deem it inappropriate for pseudo-horror game, but I believe it fits ok because of the purposeful unseriousness of the game - sound is the weakest point in Necrovision. And that can mostly be attributed to the terrible voice acting. It can be seen everywhere - zombies gurgling "Come on and fight", your character's Duke Nukem-ish "bad guy" remarks, threatening hisses of the boss creatures... All that could be fun and enjoyable, if not for the voice acting, that sounds unprofessional and lame. If the voice is meant to play a crucial part in overall expierience - and almost everything in Necrovision speaks or at least tries to - it should get much more attention and polish.
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UP NEXT: Gameplay, Story, and Conclusion
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If the graphics are dated and sound outright horrible, there can be only one redeeming point - that of the gameplay itself. If a game plays smooth and gives a lot of fun, a lot of things can be forgiven. A shame that Necrovision lets us down even here. It is intended as an "old school" shooter - tons of enemies, your gun and you, no surprises. Shooters of this subtype are quite rare novadays, and sometimes can be very fun and bring a well earned rest from more story-driven and complex games.
Sadly, though it has the requirements - hordes of menacing zombies and other supernatural threats, Necrovision fails to deliver again... In this subgenre, a core requirement for gameplay is smooth and easy movement - you have to constantly evade your enemies, jump, run or ammunition and change your position, but this game approaches you with sluggish, slow and blocky control over your character - more than once you will suffer a hit just because your character stumbled against a piece of terrain you don't even notice, or couldn't evade in time although you could swear you pressed the key... Really unforgivable for supposedly high-action, twitch based gameplay.
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I already told you about my gripe soiling the rare WW1 shooter with supernatural elements... If the story would be captivating and told well, though, it could turn into either a Lovecraft-like horror tale, which was promised by developers, or - more likely because of overall unseriousness of gameplay - a trash-horror comedy in the style of Evil Dead.
As it stands, it seems, the creators of the game couldn't decide, either, and tried to steer in two directions imultaneously. Over the course of gameplay, you will find letters filled with grim tales of struggle against evil and hopelesness - on the other side, you will see zombies muttering the "F" word or the main character remarking "I don't know who is a bad or good guy here, but I have the gun!" The game is filled with, in my opinion, incomprehensible, cutscenes, where obsecenly twitching and jumping soldiers spit out some poorly written and hardly understandable piece of storyline. Overall, it becomes a mess and you stop caring for the story at all.
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I'm really sorry, but I cannot recommend this game, be it gamers hungry for a change from WW2 shooters, lovers of the old school "shoot'em all" action games or those who enjoy horror, mystic tales and suspense. On the other side, if you are brave, have nothing to do and would like to test your shooting skills in an environment that punishes you severely for even trying, you are welcome...