Release Date: December 10th, 2018
Reviewed On: PC
Developer: David Szymanski
Publisher: New Blood Interactive
Price: $21.99 (CND)
The tag line for this game on Steam is “Welcome To Dusk, things have gone wrong, better kill everything”. If this doesn’t perfectly encapsulate the style of game that Dusk is trying mimic, I don’t know what does. Dusk is a throwback to 90’s PC FPS games, such as Hexen, Blood, Heretic and many more. As a huge fan of a lot of these classic PC games, I thought it was time for me to dive into Dusk and see how it stacks up.
One of the best parts about 90’s FPS games was pure speed and adrenaline pumping action at which these games were played. Dusk captures this perfectly as the game is very responsive, controls feel well balanced allowing players to quickly get the hang of the mechanics of the game. With a health system that is non-regenerative, you will find yourself always searching every corner of every map to find more health kits. This is especially important on harder difficulties as enemies will deal massive damage, and you will always find yourself in a constant panic to conserve ammo and health items.
The how amazing the gun design in Dusk cannot be stressed at how great the guns feel as well as the variety of weapons at your disposal. With some medieval weapons at your disposal such as a sword and a crossbow, mixed with classic machine guns and shotguns it creates a really unique variety of ways you can choose to play Dusk. However, I cannot stress how great that the Super Shotgun and dual wielding the standard shotguns feel. The sheer fact that these shotguns rival Doom (1993) in terms of power and usefulness throughout the game is fantastic. They quickly become your “old reliables” with weapons like the hunting rifle dealing massive damage with a low maximum ammo count keeps you from being able to cheese through the game with overpowered weapons. With every weapon, the game introduces you to feels better than the next. It made me early on constantly trying to hunt every nook and cranny on the chance that I could find the “next step” weapon.
Dusk’s non-linear style of level design encourages you to hunt out “secrets” which can be very helpful, giving you access to more powerful weapons early on which can then make certain levels go from impossible on the hardest difficulty to only being mind-blowingly challenging. The dark ominous environment, filled with an endless stock of cultists, demonic creatures, and possessed soldiers to blow to pieces. The gore is hilariously fantastic, blowing multiple enemies out of the sky to have chunks of demons rain down upon you drives home the old school vibe of Dusk.
You play a nameless treasure hunter who comes to the town of “Dusk” to seek your fortune. However, things quickly go south as you are captured by local cultists. The story of Dusk takes you through dark farmhouses, military outposts, and demonic churches and all culminates into an absolutely brilliant final episode filled with a killer twist. I found myself completely engrossed in the game’s story and exploring every inch of every level. The deep and ominous voice echoes throughout the game, ridiculing you and communicating with you constantly as you discover darker and more sinister horrors around every corner.
Dusk is almost a perfect time machine back to the glory days of FPS PC games. With dark contrasting colors and a large focus on bloody explosions, it feels like I am a young kid playing Doom (1993) for the first time all over again. The game’s performance is smooth and consistent. No matter how many enemies were on screen at a time performance never wavered. With an absolutely smooth gameplay experience and a throwback artstyle really plunged me deep into the nostalgia of how amazing these “retro” FPS style games really are. Even with the lack of “photo-realistic” graphics the game still has some absolutely amazing landscape and level designs. While the early 90s style may seem incredibly bare bones to some, it cannot be discounted in how much style and atmosphere that this game bleeds.
The audio design in Dusk is sinfully amazing, in terms of both soundtrack and sound design. I cannot put into words how much I was blown away by Dusk’s soundtrack, blasting heavy metal tracks while blasting through hoards of cultists, and monsters were phenomenal. How the soundtrack blasts in during intense battle moments will hit you square in the chest in a similar style to Doom (2016). Guns all sound very unique, and the super shotgun, in particular, you can hear the power of the gun with every blast. All different enemy types have very distinct callout This may be some of the best sound design in an Indie title that I have ever experienced.
If you own a PC, whether it be a basic laptop or a high powered gaming rig Dusk is a must play if you are an FPS fan. Dusk may go down as one of my top 5 favorite FPS games I have played in the past decade. Being able to balance nostalgia of 90’s FPS while still presenting something that feels completely new should be applauded.