developers, The Farm 51, wear their influences on their
sleeves. They clearly love Wolfenstein,
with the supernatural wartime storyline and gothic level
architecture placed front and centre. It's obvious
they've been playing Serious Sam, from the sheer
amount of enemies that charge you down at regular
intervals. And they seem to be quite fond indeed
of F.E.A.R.'s trademark slow-mo, close-quarters
It must be rather embarrassing for Monolith to see this
'reflex time' melée action done better here than in
their newly released sequel. It's one of the few
things NecroVisioN (hereafter referred to without
the ridiculous typology) gets very right. There's
something strangely invigorating about the frantic,
button-bashing mayhem as a pack of zombies closes in
around you at an alarming rate, and you give yourself an
adrenaline boost to heighten your reflexes before
smashing the undead foes upside the head. Elsewhere,
unfortunately, the quality struggles to remain.
It took me a while to master Necrovision.
The ludicrous amount of combat options to juggle almost
certainly didn't help. Left-click to shoot,
right-click to zoom, middle button to stab, alt to kick,
tab to activate slow-motion mode - not to mention
controls for grenades and special abilities. It
also took a while before I realised that the focus here
isn't on the 'shooting' part. The actual FPS
mechanics are clunky and imprecise, and enemies can soak
up an unnatural amount of bullets. It makes
instinctive long-range combat a little irksome,
especially when you consider that a couple of whacks
with a rifle butt puts most antagonists down in a
second. That one of the loading screen tips
informs you that "a running target is more
difficult to hit than one hiding behind cover"
should have pointed me in that direction, but it still
feels a little unnatural and ill-considered.
sort of maniacal ninja..."
It also doesn't quite
work all the time. For certain fights, it's a fine
tactic, and the close-quarters combat is satisfyingly
meaty, even if the collision detection and damage modeling
aren't quite accurate enough. But, at times, it's
more sensible to lure baddies into your hiding place and
take them out one by one. I have a sneaking
suspicion that this might be an exploit, rather than the
developer's intention, but it's nevertheless slightly at
odds with the otherwise relentless pace.
Things get a lot more enjoyable once you learn your way
around Necrovision's foibles. It's
beautifully cathartic to jump around the room, landing
kicks to the face and stabs to the abdomen as if some
sort of maniacal ninja were on the loose in World War
1. But the formula one pacing becomes a little
tiresome after a while. There's never any respite,
and the difficulty levels feel oddly askew. Easy
is just too easy, and limits the amount of
special abilities you have access to. One level
up, though, is painfully tough, and with such horrific
loading times to suffer through, the try-die-repeat
method Necrovision forces upon you degenerates
Things get even worse when you begin to notice the
awkward level design and terrible signposting. One
objective instructed me to "find a way past the
steel door". After backtracking for a few
minutes and then returning, it turned out the correct
method was to simply pull the lever next to it.
The silly Duke Nukem-esque macho quips go
hand-in-hand with the frenetic combat, but are at odds
with the emotionally poignant letters left scattered
around the world. The voice acting is embarrassing
and, while Necrovision looks admittedly pretty,
the framerate occasionally drops to unacceptable levels.
What's left is an abundance of exhilarating combat
sequences in a barely adequate game. It's a good
laugh, but fails to live up to the standards set by
those it tries so hard to impersonate.
beat-em-up hiding in a clumsy shooter.