This horror video game is like no other! I tried Conscript and it’s an experience that’s hard to forget

This new horror game could well stand out during this Steam Neo Fest period… Its demo is available now, we played it, and we’re telling you about our experience!

Imagine going to war… You are sent into the trenches to defend your country, the whistles of shells have replaced the singing of birds and on the ground, there are no longer flowers, but a mixture of mud and blood. Welcome to Conscrpit, an isometric survival horror set in 1916 during the First World War, more precisely during the Battle of Verdun. A game which, apart from its rather new framework for the genre, is inspired by the greatest, like Resident Evil and Silent Hill. A demo is now available on Steam as part of Neo Fest. I played it and here’s what I thought about it.

In war as in war

In Conscript, you play as André, a young soldier who goes to war accompanied by his little brother Pierre. Both defended Fort Souville, which was under attack from German forces. Following an offensive, André finds Pierre seriously injured and helps him join the medical team before disappearing. The whole plot is then based on the search for your brother in the middle of the trenches.

From there, Conscript drops you into a maze of labyrinthine corridors. It’s up to you to find your way without succumbing to the attacks of German soldiers. To do this, the game provides a map that updates in real time (an annotation to indicate a closed door, a scribble to highlight an important detail, etc.) – like in Silent Hill. A very important tool, especially because the title regularly asks you to retrace your steps in order to use key object. Of course, in the meantime, new enemies will have appeared, which again refers to the structure of the classics of the genre. All in all, you are asked here to be prepared for any eventuality, which involves methodically searching the environment for bandages, ammunition or cigarettes (which act as currency).

Exploration phases which will not be fun. On the sidelines of the combat (we’ll come back to this), you will regularly hear cries of agony, fear and the shooting of German soldiers on your allies. The sound design succeeds in immersing us in the horror of war and the visuals further reinforce a form of constant unease, thanks to graphics that seem straight out of the PS1 / GameBoy Advance era. Finally, even if we recognize everything that is on the screen, each detail is constantly “parasitized” by pixels, and that works very well for this kind of atmosphere.

In the first line

On the combat side, André has the possibility of sprinting and rolling which will consume his stamina bar. He will face different types of enemies, such as soldiers armed with studded bats and others who prefer ranged weapons (strange creatures will also be present in the full game, according to the developer). Be careful because some opponents are tougher than others, although it is possible to avoid combat by hiding in caches closed by curtains.

Generally, the action phases of Conscript are a little rigid and initially vague, in particular because the game does not offer a tutorial (we go directly to the front on orders from our superiors). A rigidity that we owe in particular to the charged attacks – the most effective in melee – which force André to remain motionless before swinging his blow. It is clear that having to repeat the operation is not really pleasant. In one on one, it’s repetitive but doable, when facing several enemies, it quickly becomes complicated. This is where weapons matter.

This horror video game is like no other! I tried Conscript and it's an experience that's hard to forget

If at the start you will only have a shovel to fight with, you will quickly find firearms to face the German forces. We can find three in this demo: the rifle, the shotgun and the pistol. You will have to pay attention to your ammunition because every shot counts, and it is crucial to choose the right weapon depending on the situation. There is even a certain realism when using them. For example, for each shot made with the rifle, you will have to remove the cartridge case (by pressing a simple button). Same thing for the pump shotgun where it will be necessary to remove the cartridges after each detonation. This small detail adds tension to the clashes, and you will have to watch the distance separating you from the enemy.

Your arsenal can be improved at a merchant, in exchange for pieces of weapons, hidden here and there on the map or by defeating certain enemies. Obviously, it will also be possible to sell and buy objects in exchange for cigarettes (which you will find absolutely everywhere as they were so widespread at that time). Be careful, however, with the overload of objects, as inventory management, made up of boxes, is here inspired by Resident Evil. Each item and equipment, including weapons, occupies a single slot that you can expand over time. You will also be able to combine certain items to make others, such as mixing chemical liquid with gunpowder to obtain ammunition. With a little gumption, you can carry a lot of equipment in your bag. And finally, as another homage to Capcom’s survival horror, saves are by default limited and require inkers.

This horror video game is like no other! I tried Conscript and it's an experience that's hard to forgetThis horror video game is like no other! I tried Conscript and it's an experience that's hard to forget

Jordan Mochi, at the origin of the project, has been developing Conscript alone since the beginning of 2017. The title is published by Team17, who produced Dredge and Blasphemous 2. Originally, the title was only to be released on Steam but the survival -horror will be available on PS5, PS4, Xbox Series, Xbox One, PC and Switch from July 23.

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