You might remember reading my impressions of Dusk, a retro FPS from David Szymanski & co, almost a year back. It had managed to capture the spirit of the ’90s shooter while stile staying modern in many ways. It had everything you’d imagine such game would have – sprawling level design, a rich arsenal of shiny things to shoot the horrible things with, and a variety of horrible things to shoot at. Well it’s finally out for real, and not much has changed in that regard. It’s still a superb twitch shooter that will either take you back, or give you the opportunity to see what all the old people are clamoring about.
Be sure to check out our Dusk early access review if it sounds like the kind of thing you’d enjoy. What I want to talk about here is some of the great new things that have been added. Beware, there’s going to be a whole lot of mechanical spoilers – if you want to avoid that kind of thing, just skip to the launch trailer below.
First off, the world has been enriched with loads of interesting interactions. You can light bonfires, roast giblets on them to prepare food, put items in toilet bowls then flush them, smash vases… You can drink beer to heal yourself, then get drunk and stumble around like an idiot. It doesn’t really affect the core gameplay much, but you’re bound to smile every time you discover a new Thing You Can Do.
But the most important addition, by far, is the soap. While waiting for the game to download, I spied an achievement that is unlocked when you pick up a bar of soap in each level. I kept my eyes peeled for the soap on the first level, and when I discovered it in a bathroom I decided to take it with me as far as I can. Turns out, the soap is actually a weapon. But it’s not just any weapon – it’s THE weapon. The soap can one-shot any enemy in the game, bosses included.
This means that, especially on higher difficulty settings, you will cherish the soap. You will take it with you, curse when it snags on level geometry and stays behind, throw it in portals before you enter and generally spend a lot of time looking for it in the dark after a firefight. It’s like a whole new game mode, a combination of Doom and that one achievement from Half Life 2 where you had to take a garden gnome through the entire game. Except the garden gnome is the deadliest item in the game. It’s fun. You should try it.