This Nascence demo is a see-saw metaphor. “Ooooh, I like this bit; it’s pretty scary… oh, I can’t go that way because it’s in development… Wow – look at those visuals… Ah. Just look at them; there’s nothing to interact with.
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Y’see, Nascence is currently a game in development, and developers Dreampainters Software, clearly stated in this exclusive preview for us alumni – err… lizard people-type typists. It did say that this preview was about the puzzles and not the whole experience. Still, I’m allowed to be disappointed with the restrictions, even if I side with the developers and snub myself for my irritability.
As a first-person caper without much to do, exploration is key, and considering the visuals in this game, that was super frustrating. You’re welcome to shout at the screen all you like and remove me from the Christmas card list, but it’s wot I fink. It’s a testament to the developer’s kung-fu in creating a stunning-looking space. Even if it did make me feel uncomfortable and have flashbacks of the original The Blair Witch Project.
I put priority on food over a graphics card, but even on the PC that I used to inspect this game (a 1660ti card relic fans), the presentation was gorgeous. While I couldn’t jump in muddy puddles like a decadent pre-teen pig, I was almost there. As ‘in the place’, not a state of climax. Saying that…
You appear at an abandoned resort and need to find an acquaintance named Mark, the electrician. Already it sounds ominous, and once you’ve seen these wood carvings, you’ll wish you put a bit more attention into the upkeep of your vehicle’s maintenance, as given a chance, you’d be straight back in the car and getting out of there.
But as it’s all deserted, locked up with locks (obviously) and sneaky invisible walls. A mere taster of what’s to come and the reasoning why this was a ‘see-saw of ups and downs’. On the one hand, this is a believable place – a beautiful night vista. By the time VR is powerful enough to replicate these worlds, I’ll be cutting off my connections and living in Reluné. Minus the spooky stuff. There’s a phenomenal amount of detail in the carved statues of wood and stone.
So, as I head up another path to see ‘this will be unlocked in the full game’, and reserved in thinking that it’s an interactive slideshow. Then I find a couple of elusive keys and have another task at hand: develop some film.
Your character, Thomas, is a photographer, so know what they’re doing – unlike me, who leaves the door open in a dark room. It’s been many years since making a pinhole camera from a biscuit tin. Slapping some negatives onto a desk, you start to inspect them for clues, and that’s where I became anxious, creating all these imaginative scenarios while doing my Deckard bit, zooming in on sinister-looking negatives.
The tense feelings I had staring at a static image put me on edge. Out of the three available, one of them had to be cleaned, and I just knew that I was going to shed a few pounds at the next revelation. As the threat built up, I put down the negative for inspection, turning the sound down like the wuss that I am. What was in my head didn’t materialise, and I breathed a sigh of relief and not remotely disappointed that nobody came ‘to get me’.
Unfortunately, that cassette wasn’t The Last Ninja, but some shareware that hints at where the story could be going. This might be the point of a reveal, but while this is a preview, it might be best for you to experience it yourself or watch someone else’s footage if you don’t mind the spoilers. The puzzles in question were ‘just right’. Solving them without assistance made me develop a little self-importance, but I admittedly winged a few bits, clicking at the things that stuck out the most.
And so Nascence was on the up once more. It’s a peculiar experience. We all know that a demo is limited – maybe the features or an hour or so limitation like the early King of Seas preview. Still, it was enough to whet my appetite, turn a few hairs grey and get stoked for when the game comes out.
Nascence is a puzzler with a psychological theme, and for the latter, it delivers. The highlight is the believable atmosphere and enriching lore. The puzzles at this stage, not so much, but that’s to do with quantity rather than quality. It took about 30-45 minutes of gameplay, and that was mostly gawping at wood textures and paint peels in abandoned properties. They’re pretty sublime.
It’s a bit like taking a Ferrari for a test drive but only being allowed to drive around the block at a maximum of 30mph. You know that this machine can handle a lot and is more than capable. The salesperson says come back in a week or so, and you can take in on the track. You have to pick up your jaw.
While you haven’t driven the Ferrari in these conditions, you’re confident of its capabilities and look forward to the day you can hoon around without restraint. And that’s the Nascence demo. Is it a Ferrari? Presentation and ambience, yes. Gameplay? We’ll have to wait until later on, but I’m confident it’s going to be great, unlike this weak analogy.