Not since we played DOOM Eternal have we come across a game this violent! Dusk is a fantastic, retro inspired FPS from American developer David Szymanski.
And it’s bloody awesome! It’s a fast-paced mix of Half-Life 2 meets Doom meets Quake meets violence. We think it’s a total classic.
The Brilliance of Dusk (the FPS majigger)
First launched in 2018, it came to our attention this week as it arrived on the Nintendo Switch. But we got it on Steam in the Halloween sale. Hurray!
The plot takes place in Dusk of Pennsylvania, where Lovecraftian ruins are discovered under extensive farmland.
Military types and scientists head out to find out what’s going on, but are soon transformed by a mysterious demonic possession.
Thusly, into the fray you head as an unnamed treasure hunter. Your goal being to search the strange happenings in the hunt for swag.
What does any of that mean!? Lots and lots of intense violence, that’s what!
Dusk is, simply put, an absolutely fantastic FPS and one we’d say could happily make a claim for one of the best first-person shooters ever.
This is largely down to the excellent level design, which often loops around on itself and relies on similar Blue/Red/Yellow door systems. Like in early Doom games.
By the time level three (above) and beyond kick in, we were fully invested in Dusk and revelling every moment of it.
Whilst its aesthetic is reminiscent of Quake, we consider the main action in the game more a merger of old-school Doom meets Half-Life 2.
The results are positively exhilarating as it’s honestly some of the biggest bouts of fun we’ve had with a game in 2021.
In fact, the game even tells you how to best enjoy the experience.
At the start, Dusk tells you it’s best played with headphones on. And it’s right! Andrew Hulshult’s soundtrack is often stunning.
There’s a lot of thrash metal stuff in it, but we love the more low key stuff. Ashes to Ashes, Dusk to Dusk is glorious and reminds us a bit of The Thing (1982).
That really adds some mighty kicks to the fast-paced frenzies you’ll often find yourself in. And you quickly equip yourself with some impressive guns.
As with classic Doom games, you can also pick the difficulty setting.
So, if you want a relatively easy romp through the levels without being slaughtered, the option is there.
It may seem a minor inclusion, but it’s a regular oversight in many modern games.
And yet there’s always that sect of elitist gamers whining about the “good old days” and how some gamers should “git good” at playing games, they should be very difficult, and if you can’t hack it then you’re a snowflake.
This entitled whining was addressed by the game’s developer.
My cousin, who introduced me to Doom and jumpstarted my love of retro FPS, has MS and can only play games with one hand. He was able to complete Dusk on accessible using an MMO mouse.
If your heart is “shattered” by Dusk’s difficulty options that’s your problem pic.twitter.com/Rz3sOR1MnA
— Duskvid on Switchmanski (@DUSKdev) November 9, 2021
It’s, unquestionably, the right approach. From our side, we’re busy adults and don’t have time to slog away at games with absurd difficulties in some inane homage to ’90s era gaming.
We’re lucky. But others have disabilities and can’t play many games. Developers, albeit slowly, are beginning to address this issue.
Full credit to David Szymanski for taking the time to enable as many people as possible to play Dusk.
And, boy, is it worth the time! It’s a triumph of an FPS. An absolute beast and one of the best first-person shooters in the last decade.
It’s old-school, cherry-picking from the very best titles in history, whilst also honing an absorbing experience with its own identity.
Mighty. That’s all we can say. A real surprise and a title we can recommend to anyone after a thrilling FPS type of deal.