NecroVisioN is a shooter based on the Painkiller principle of giving you a scary variety of weaponry and a whole load of boss battles. That isn’t a bad thing though, I thoroughly enjoyed Painkiller, and while it was no Deus Ex, it was certainly enjoyable. So too is Necrovision, it certainly isn’t a game for deep thinkers, even though it claims to be inspired by the works of Lovecraft, rather it is for those of us who like nothing more than to blow up the undead in a nice gory fashion.
This game is all about the action, you will often find yourself trapped in an area until you rid the room of whatever type of being that is trying to kill you. While this would be grating in a more serious shooter, it works well here as you can explore the vast killing potential of your Yankee in the British Army character. This potential truly is vast, you can duel wield with weapons like pistols, bayonets and dynamite…yes you can use dynamite as a normal weapon.
The opening levels have a mix of the supernatural along with the more normal World War One styled action, halfway through the game though things take a decidedly darker tone as the magic and demonic undertones come to the fore. This is where the real fun lies as you get a fearsome Necromancer claw that is truly brutal feeding off the souls of the dead to perform special attacks. The slicing and dicing of the undead and the demon spawn is fantastic in these areas and is much better than anything you may have found in Painkiller.
If you pick up Necrovision and expect an Oscar winning storyline then you must have some mental issues, perhaps the same mental issues that led to the evil Dr Zimmerman to unleash hell into World War One. You know that a game is going full bore when you have dragons entering the fray, thought all too often this will occur without any forewarning. While you have a brief interlude between every level where you character talks over war torn images, they don’t link up the missions at all. I went from ending the first mission to starting the second mission being strong armed by some German soldiers, complete with the classic pointy helmets I must add, without any clue of how or why that happened..
Further efforts at explaining the story are made through various letters you stumble across during the game, though again they lack the overall detail necessary to give you a firm idea of what is happening. This isn’t helped by the various scenes with you and another character, be they a Brit or a German where a lot is said, but with little substance.
At the end of the day though you will be playing Necrovision for the action rather than the story, and the action really holds up well, for the most part that is. The usual bugbears of not being able to jump over small walls into no-go areas, and even over ledges that you have to get over to progress, this all slows down the fast pace of the game and ruins the immersion. And since when did World War One soldiers have a mortal allergy to water? It is extremely infuriating when you are trying to shoot a sniper and you take that one extra step that sends you to your watery grave.
Often you will have difficulty figuring out what to do next, several times I had cleared an area of enemies, yet even when following my compass it was not clear what I had to do next to progress. The positioning of buttons to perform key actions in the game can vary from being blindingly obvious to night on impossible to locate when hidden on the side of a random pillar.
There is a lot to do in this game as each level has a number of secret locations the may contain mysterious magical artefacts that boost the power of your fighting combinations along with more guns and often some more of those letters that fill in the story of the game. If you fancy truly testing your abilities in combat then the challenges are perfect for you. The challenges have some truly nasty requirements such as getting 50 headshots with a crummy pistol and killing 75 undead using just your melee weapons. Throw in the ability to go back through the game using the Necromancer claw from the very start and you have a lot of stuff to do in the game.
Necrovision is a really solid, if not spectacular game. If you are a fan of really good action in a similar vein to Painkiller and Wolfenstein, then this is the game for you. However, if you want a deep and meaningful game you are best off avoiding this. There is something here for most people, but it doesn’t excel at what it does, though if you can pick it up for the £20 mark then this would make a good purchase.
Extremely fun old school shooter that lacks the polish of the AAA titles, but you shouldn’t have many complaints with it.
Tech Info and other details
The game runs perfectly at 1440*900 with a mix of medium and high settings running on a Q6600 with 2GB RAM and an ATI 4850 with 512MB RAM using the Windows 7 Beta. Necrovision looks very nice at these settings, but pushing them up further does lead to performance issues. It must be noted that I experienced a couple of crashes while playing the game.
Unfortunately I couldn’t find any online servers running at any time. The game has been out since the 20th February in CIS countries but the UK version has only just been released, hopefully the multiplayer will pick up soon.
There is no horrible Games for Windows Live mess nor are there any activation limits, this is the first game I have played for quite a while that you can just install and play straight away. It is a sign of the times when a game gets praised for being easy to start playing.