Review – Dusk

I’ve been hearing a lot about Dusk lately, and how it is supposedly one of the best retro-styled shooters in years, largely due to its insanely high scores given by other gaming websites. As a fan of FPS games, especially those inspired by games like Doom, Quake, Unreal and Heretic, I was looking forward finding out what the fuss was all about. I have to say, people were right, it’s a damn good game. But there was something missing in it. I liked it a lot, but it didn’t wow me as much as expected.

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Such a warm welcome.

Calling Dusk just a Quake-inspired isn’t accurate enough. This game is Quake with a different coat of paint. Remove the iconic mixture of medieval and futuristic settings and replace them with a bizarre mixture of ancient ruins, military bases, and what looks like rural America. It looks like old-school Quake, plays like it, and the level design follows the same pattern of point A to B while murdering everything in sight and looking for some well-hidden secret areas. In fact, it’s too similar to Quake at times.

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No matter the game, no matter the enemies you’re facing, a double-barrel shotgun is always the best bet.

Don’t get me wrong, Dusk is extremely enjoyable, and being able to mow down dozens of chainsaw-wielding klansmen with a double-barrel shotgun at full speed will never get old. The problem is that it doesn’t add anything new. There are loads of other modern retro-inspired shooters that added something new to the formula to avoid becoming nostalgia bait. DOOM brought back the fast-paced action from older shooters and combined it with modern elements like cutting edge visuals and unlockables. Project Warlock added a touch of RPG elements to the mix, as well as a neat visual style that looks modern and vintage at the same time. With the exception of its resolution, Dusk could have been released in 1996. There’s a chapter and level selection system coming straight from Quake‘s older brother Doom. The lighting is terrible and there are some instances of bad collision detection that make it feel a bit sloppy.

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You gonna shoot me or what?

Not everything is bad. In fact, one of the best things about Dusk is its setting. It’s not exactly original as it borrows heavily from Resident Evil 4‘s  environments, but it’s still refreshing. The more rural settings in the first chapter even allow for less claustrophobic battles against the foes chasing you, allowing you to tackle these combats in many different ways. The game’s level design is definitely a highlight. Dusk‘s multiplayer, ‘DuskWorld’, is far from groundbreaking, but can be pretty entertaining in short bursts.

The best thing about Dusk is definitely its soundtrack. Andrew Hulshult is responsible for the composition, and he knocks it out of the park. He is widely known in the Doom community as the composer of the IDKFA soundtrack mod for Brutal Doom. Clearly taking inspiration from Mick Gordon’s most recent work in DOOM and Wolfenstein, Hulshult cleverly alternates between calm but unsettling ambient tunes with industrial death metal-inspired bangers whenever there’s a lot of action onscreen. I can never say “no” to a well-composed metal track in a shooter.

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They’re not as scary as their Resident Evil 4 brothers.

While I found Dusk to be a very fun and competent shooter, I must say I didn’t understand the hype. Yes, it’s fun and feels just like a fast-paced FPS from twenty years ago, but unlike other more recent retro revival shooters, it brought absolutely nothing new to the table. To sum it up, Dusk is a great title if you’re looking for a title to scratch your Quake-loving itch, but don’t expect anything you haven’t seen a thousand times before.

 

Graphics: 7.5

Dusk emulates the visuals from a polygonal game from 1996, but fails to provide a creepy atmosphere thanks to poor lighting.

Gameplay: 8.5

If you’ve ever something similar to Quake or the earlier Unreal games, you know what to expect. Expect a few collision detection issues as well.

Sound: 9.5

Dusk features a great hard-rocking soundtrack clearly inspired by the works of Mick Gordon.

Fun Factor: 7.5

Dusk is fast-paced and challenging. For Quake fans, it’s a treat, but is best used to scratch the nostalgia itch.

Final Verdict: 8.0

Dusk is available now on PC.
Reviewed on PC.

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