Dusk: Retro Reimagined

(Game logo; image via Wikipedia)

(Game logo; image via Wikipedia)

Joshua King, Arts and Entertainment Editor

First-person shooters as we know them today wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for the original retro FPS games from the 90s like DOOM, DOOM 2, Quake, and Blood. These games paved the way for games like Halo and Call of Duty, providing mechanics for shooting, aiming, and fighting in prebuilt arenas. In recent years, there has been more and more retro throwback FPS games, trying to emanate and even innovate on the style and formula of those classics. One of these, more of an innovation than a reskin, is Dusk.

Developed by David Szymanski and published by New Blood Interactive, Dusk officially released on Dec 10, 2018, and was met with nothing but praise. Almost every aspect of the game is built perfectly and feels like a dream to play. From the blistering speeds the player can and is encouraged to reach to the unique use of each carefully crafted weapon and power-up, Dusk does everything that those original 90s games did and more, showing that there is still value in that style of game. Every time I started this game up, I had a hard time putting it back down, the bite-sized missions that can each be finished in less than 5 minutes and the sheer fun of it all kept me hooked from start to finish. One of the only criticisms people have of this game is that it’s too short. While I think that it is at the perfect length, I can understand why people want it to be longer. This game leaves you wanting more of it, you never want the game to end because of how fun it is, and that can make the difference between an incredible game and a mediocre one.

While the gameplay is clearly center stage throughout most of the game, this game has a very special trait that sets it apart from its peers and inspirations: this game is terrifying. You wouldn’t expect it from the first few levels, but the game lures you in. It makes you feel more and more powerful only to suddenly thrust you into paranoia as if pulling a carpet out from under you and wrapping you in it. The horror completely takes over in some stages, breaking your flashlight and leaving you to wander in horrid darkness for entire stages. Your enemies become more deformed and terrifying the further you progress. One such enemy is the Wendigo, a fast and powerful abomination that charges and attacks you while invisible, only appearing once you manage to land a solid hit. The intensity of the hellish themes present in the game are perfectly adjusted to keep you checking your back and staying on your toes, and it’s incredible.

When you combine the horror with the chaotic and riveting combat, it pushes the player to continually improve and never hold back, because victory is hard-fought, and enemies are deadly. Dusk has 4 difficulty settings: accessible (easy), go easy (normal), I can take it (hard), and cero miedo (really hard). I played through on “I can take it”, and it felt like a real challenge. Exploration is very much needed for survival because secrets are scattered throughout every level, filled with extra health or ammo. I can safely say that Dusk is one of the best shooters I’ve ever played and I recommend it to anyone who is a fan of the genre.