I knew that Dusk was a cool looking 90’s first person shooter throwback that has been getting good reviews now that its three episodes are all released, but I just wasn’t prepared for how fucking amazingly awesome this game was going to be.
Retro tribute games are all the rage these days, but there aren’t a whole lot of them that are trying to recreate 90’s PC shooters, and the few there are haven’t been the most exciting things around (I’m looking at you Strafe). Everything’s different now though. Dusk is here and it is exactly what all the big fans of early Quake, Doom, and Heretic have been waiting for.
Everything about this game is just so perfect and authentic. The graphics are dated, but pleasingly so, with a visual style and lighting system that evokes flashbacks to the classics.
The controls are simple, and extremely tight and responsive. It’s easy to feel like a badass during even the most crowded and confusing looking fast-paced battles because moving and attacking flow so damn well, especially with your large arsenal of weapons, each of which looks, feels, and sounds great to use.
There’s a large variety of nightmarish horror-inspired enemies, each of which has their own unique methods of attack and each being a bit easier to take down with certain weapons. I’d even go as far as to say that they each have their own “personality”, because of the diversity and competence of design. Little details like the unique sounds and taunts they all make don’t just help sell them as valid threats, but they also enhance the nostalgia factor since that was always such a key design element in classic shooters.
The sound design in general is just top notch all around. Like the weapons and enemies, the music also matches the tone of the game absolutely perfectly. It has that unique mix of sound that somehow instills both dread and excitement, in a way that reminds me a lot of both the original and latest Doom games, but without feeling like a ripoff.
There are also a lot of boss battles, obscure pop culture references, and truly impressive classic level design. It’s just a beautiful ballet of over the top violence and it doesn’t simply cheaply get by by boasting “hey, remember all these things from the 90’s?”, no, Dusk is the real deal. It not only nails the authentic classic PC shooter look and feel, but it’s a legitimately really, really well designed game all around. If this would have come out in 1997 it could have stood proudly alongside the original Doom and Quake.
I don’t know what else to even say about it! The game is a non-stop fountain of joy if you’re into classic first person shooters and it’s only a measly $20 on Steam. You really, REALLY, REALLY need to check out Dusk, because it more than lives up to the hype, it does a jump pad over the hype, then shoots rockets at it on the way down, then lands right in the hype’s face and blows it off with a super fucking shotgun.
(Sorry I didn’t get any good action shots, I got too distracted! Watch this trailer instead!)