One of the great aspects about first person shooters is that they all come in various packages, some illustrate a more realistic rendition while others take on a more traditional and retro route. Whatever picture is being painted the premise remains intact and it’s that, first person shooters are all about taking out the enemy and doing so in a fun and interactive manner. This leads us to our review of Dusk Episode 1 which takes on the more retro route and does a splendid job of it. We’ll get more into the why as we progress more into the article but for now, anyone who grew up with the likes of Wolfenstein, the classic Doom, Quake and even the likes of Hexen will surely find Dusk to be an enticing experience that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
What to Expect
The premise of Dusk may come off as a bit risky to some who view the game for the first time, as it depicts you pretty much taking out KKK leaders and their respective clansmen in a bloody and relentless style. However if you draw your attention away from that, you have a game that’s incredibly wild, frantic, and fast paced with enemies coming at you from every corner. Their unrelenting style constantly keeps you on the edge as you race around the map in search for keys to open new locations, or grabbing a powered up weapon to dispose of these enemies that constantly bombard you at every opportunity. It combines the very gory style of Doom with the fast paced thrills of Quake and what you get is a masterful title that encompasses all the best assets of what makes playing FPS games an absolute blast. There’s no timer to your progress so you can go at your own pace blowing the heads off every enemy, and try to collect all of the secrets each level provides. Dusk Episode 1 is like seeing a rollercoaster for the first time and at first you feel uneasy about trying it, but the minute you jump in you immediately feel this rush of excitement unlike any other and that’s something a lot of games lack these days. If you’re looking for that type of impact then look no further than this one.
We were very fortunate to get our hands on the alpha version of Dusk when it was first announced several months ago, and to be honest we weren’t too sure how things would turn out. We certainly enjoyed the very nostalgic atmosphere and the frantic action but wasn’t too sure just how the rest of the game would pan out. Fortunately after months of waiting, we were treated to a title that certainly lived up to the hype and blew us away in every way possible. Now we aren’t trying to embellish anything here because truthfully nothing is ever perfect, including Dusk Episode 1, but when you play for a long period of time, you get so hooked that you often overlook the flaws. It’s a lot like meeting an attractive person for the first time and the two of you hit it off, but deep down you’re unsure of how things will turn out long term. You spend time together for long periods only to realize that the two of you have flaws but because you had such a wonderful time together all of those flaws disappeared. Some of the animations in the game are a bit wonky at times, but again, you totally ignore them because so much of your attention is focused on not trying to die, but also just having a boisterous experience.
Jumping and hopping your way through each map is fun because in a way, it becomes a strategy in terms of shooting the enemy while avoiding damage dealt to yourself. In that sense, Dusk Episode 1 implements a sort of strategic element with regards to accomplishing objectives for each map because every enemy will behave differently, and so your aim is to now figure out their patterns and take out a group of them in the fastest time. It’s like a speedrun in many ways because there’s a new tactic that you can perform to make completing tasks much faster and efficiently all while having fun doing so. While playing at the normal difficulty is recommended for players unfamiliar with the game, we honestly suggest tackling the more challenging difficulties because it really forces you to stay focused and come up with solutions as you play along. Enemies are less forgiving and can kill you in two attacks or less so more of your time spent is trying to analyze their movements and use the right weapons that will benefit you in that situation. This brings us to another point which are the weapons within the game, which to be honest isn’t a lot but they all come with their perks for various situations.
We’ll give you an example. There’s an enemy that resembles that of a witch and it throws green arrows at you that do a ton of damage if you aren’t careful to avoid them. Compared to other enemies that can die easily from let’s say a couple shotgun rounds, these witches take a lot more to kill and so finding the right weapon to effectively take them out is crucial. We tried a lot of weapons but we found the Hunter’s Rifle to be the most effective because it does an incredible amount of damage and it only takes 3 shots to take down the witch, whereas with a shotgun requires a little more. The same can be said about the Scarecrows as they require a lot to be taken out, so finding the right weapon to kill them is imperative as well. This is the really fun aspect about Dusk Episode 1 because you’re never too sure what to expect and just when you think one strategy works, it fails miserably and you need to come up with another plan. Frustration starts to kick in and so now problem solving methods start to conjure up in your mind, so that you can avoid any serious damage as you progress further. Searching for secrets is very tricky and because you’re so occupied by the amount of enemies that come at you, they’re often forgotten but luckily you can always go back and play through again.
The replay value in this game is limitless because when you beat one difficulty, you’re motivated to try to conquer the next one until you get to the most challenging one. Even when you’ve conquered every difficulty, the game still lures you back in because now you want to see how fast each level can be completed while taking minimal damage, and perhaps even using a specific weapon to take out each enemy and boss.
Honey's Gameplay Consensus:
That’s the magical thing about Dusk Episode 1 is that it’s truly an endless adventure and unless you decide to end it, it just keeps going and going much like the rollercoaster ride. While the game is very short in comparison to other first person shooters (we completed Episode 1 in one sitting during our stream), there’s going to be another episode that comes out and so that only entices us even more as to what’s in store. Episode 1 was a total blast and we can imagine episode 2 to provide even more outrageous challenges and secrets to uncover. With the campaign and endless modes to choose from there’s ample playtime to sit through, and with the game encouraging you to really experiment with ways of completing each level it just keeps going and going. The music is also splendid as well since it matches the tempo of what’s happening around you, and so when the tension is low so is the tempo but once you hit a boss battle the music pumps up to another level. That subtle addition really makes the gameplay unique in its own right and so we definitely recommend you try it out for yourself to see just how much fun it is.
Encourages players to really experiment as they play through the game.
Endless replay value.
Very fun and entertaining.
Retro style is a treat for any 90s FPS enthusiast.
Some clunky enemy animations at times.
Campaign felt too short.
Honey's Final Verdict:
With that all being said, Dusk Episode 1 is one title that FPS fans should not sleep on, and newcomers should certainly try. It doesn’t hurt to try new things and Dusk Episode 1 is definitely worth diving into, especially since you have the freedom to choose how to complete each level. Do you want to just rush through and get the keys as fast as possible? Or do you want to be the completionist and gather everything in your sight without taking little damage? That, of course, is up to you and that’s where we’ll leave this review, up to your own imagination. If you enjoyed this review then be sure to check out our other reviews of recent titles such as Ys Seven, Warriors All-Stars and more. Be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook to stay up to date on all the latest gaming and anime news, and course follow us on Twitch to know when we go live with more games!
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Author: Rob "NualphaJPN" B.
A passionate fan of gaming, writing, journalism, anime, and philosophy. I've lived in Japan for many years and consider this place to be my permanent home. I love to travel around Japan and learn about the history and culture! Leave a comment if you enjoy my articles and watch me play on twitch.tv/honeysgaming ! Take care!