NecroVisioN Preview (PC)

Aside from having a name worthy of a 1980ís thrash metal band, NecroVisioN is a mysterious title. Developed by the guys who worked on Painkiller for the PC, it brings forth a setting virtually untouched by gaming. World War I is in full swing and itís up to you to take control of American grunt Simon Bukner. There have been countless WWII shooters, but never one that captures the horror of heavy shelling and muddy trenches of The Great War like NecroVisioN. Weíve been given some playable code (ahead of the gameís 20th February release date), so don the tin helmet, pick up your rifle and prepare to go over the top.

World War I saw little territorial gain / movement so trekking through trench after trench would lead to a severely monotonous experience. Therefore The Farm 51 have done the logical thing and added the undead, vampires and the gates of hell. It is a conventional game design that harks back to Wolfenstein 3D, only this time it has DX10 visuals and lacks those pesky Nazis.

We had seen NecroVisioN during the summer at 505 Games Summer Showcase so it makes sense to refresh your memories. Weíll fill you in on the basics (that werenít included in our playable code). Everything starts as youíd expect. Hellís breaking loose (at this stage, purely as a figure of speech), the whistleís been blown for you to go over the top and No-Manís Land beckons. Only, No-Manís Land is known for two reasons. Itís not long before the dead are rising and youíre tasked with kicking their asses back to hell.

There were two levels available in the preview demo. The first is of pre-vampire-locality. Youíre still above ground, fighting with human weapons ranging from an American-issue pistol, German Lugar, shotgun and melee shovel. Your enemy: generic undead soldiers. A combination of destroyed bunkers, wooden trenches and rubble successfully set the scene. Lightning brightens the sky, thunder rumbles the subwoofer. Itís a strong first impression. Everything is well rendered with shiny presentation. Itís exactly how Painkiller would look if it was developed under DirectX 10.

With everything maxed out, the build we were playing was still a tad unstable. Thereís a substantial amount of optimization needed before release, but with a month to go that should be sorted without any problems. Combat is your typical FPS affair. Thereís nothing groundbreaking on offer, just simple, mindless fun. Youíll work your way through swarms of enemies, fighting bosses and undertaking linear objectives. The gameís story is told via cut scenes and letters (which are displayed in the loading screens - which are quite long at the moment). The gunplay is responsive and the level of violence satisfying. There is the ability to chain together melee combinations. It works well with frenzy, NecroVisioNís take on bullet time.

The second sample level was taken from much later in the game. Gone is the mud of the surface and in return we have gothic architecture, vampiric beings / weapons and mechanical goliaths that fire rockets at your face. The weapons have switched to supernatural versions of their top-side counterparts and the pace increased. Anyone whoís played Painkiller will have a severe case of dťjŗ vu. Thatís not a negative point, just a valid observation.

Itís an addictive game idea that worked 20 years ago and still works in the modern era. Engine stabilisation / Optimisation willing, NecroVisioN should appeal to the majority of gamers. Thereís nothing particularly outstanding about it, just good old fun. Review coming soon.


By Richie82 (SI Member) on Jan 24, 2009
I saw and played NecroVisioN at the same 505 event and enjoyed the game, but the voiceover work and dialogue was horrendous. If they can sort out the voice acting and get rid of the hokey emotional stuff, this could be pretty good.
By Nicolas19 (SI Core Veteran) on Jan 25, 2009
WWI is waiting for a real tactical fps not for some sci-fi zombie game. They simply use WWI to cover the lack of imagination and a silly excuse of why they use zombie-Germans again and again... Cyrostasis seems a lot more promising.
By benny180 (SI Core) on Mar 05, 2009
this is a weird concept,i doubt itll work.ur right in saying it needs a real tactical fps, but i would imagine that the lack of machine guns in WW1 would put some peolple off(not that im saying we dont all enjoy the odd bit of bolt action fun!).
By Wowerine (SI Elite) on Mar 06, 2009
It reminds me a lot on the first Painkiller. Those are the kind of FPS games everyone seems to like, play here and there (I mean finish it once, and than throw it into the garbage can). But most of us only end up playing the demo.
Now I don't know about voice acting, that is something you can fix anytime you want (even customize).