Doom and Quake paved the way to the future of first-person shooters and it’s impossible to forget how revolutionary they were at the time. With the current and apparently enduring love for everything retro-inspired, it’s not unusual to find a game that pays tribute to these classics. Incision is exactly that, a love letter to id Software’s greats, an old-school shooter that skips straight into the action and will make you want to tear your hair out of frustration. But that’s what the doctor ordered, right?
Blast from the Past
Incision is all about speed and superhuman reflexes. The mere act of walking in this shooter puts sprinting in other games to shame, and when you run, everything goes by in a blur. It’s that fast, and you should expect endless bouts of strafing and circling to progress through the hordes of demonic creatures standing in your way.
In that regard, it’s recommended to tweak the difficulty if you find the challenge too unforgiving, at least until you find a comfortable spot – it’s not just about selecting a difficulty level, you can use sliders to manage enemy projectile speed and damage as well. Incision does require some adaptation due to its relentless speed and it may seem insurmountable with your puny starting pistol, but the best weapons will come fast and furious, including the shotgun and the heavy machine gun, each one bringing an alternate firing mode or skill to the table. This is when you will feel right at home, blasting the supersonic foes without a second to breathe.
Navigating the areas may often be confusing, due to the pervading darkness and the repeated use of a red, black, and yellow palette. Even with the help of your flashlight there will be moments where you will feel lost within these mazes, looking up and down for an exit that you may have missed. Some added clarity here and there would greatly benefit the game and keep the combats flowing as expected.
Alternating between close quarters combat and large open areas, it’s mostly a matter of skill and never staying put – twitch reflexes and perfect timing are your main weapons. Don’t expect much diversity here, but a succession of shooting set-pieces where you must adapt to the foes ahead, traps and massive bosses included. There were times when the hitboxes didn’t feel quite right, the speed at which everything moves making matters even more complicated. However, the gameplay is frantic and fun most of the time, dispensing with any sort of bullshit and asking you – no, pushing you – to join in on the action and keep running.
Incision can be quite the adrenaline rush but it’s also a very short game in its current state, although there are promises for more episodes. A skilled player will reach the ending in three to four hours, and the overall length is artificially inflated by making you restart a whole level when you die. A checkpoint system wouldn’t detract from the hardcore spirit of the game and could make some sections less frustrating for some players.
Industrial Techno Nightmare from Hell
The atmosphere is one straight out of Doom and Silent Hill. Metallic textures and blood red splatters are everywhere, there’s an oppressive mood and a foggy style to the corridors, and while it lacks variety, the campaign is not as lengthy as to overstay its welcome. It’s when you start using the shotgun that you notice just how gory the game can be. Explosions everywhere, your sight lost among all the blood that is sprayed upon you. It’s old-school alright, with an attitude that is all about being destructive and completely in-your-face.
The industrial soundtrack is nightmarish and perfectly suits the tone, as any Nine Inch Nails fan will surely find. But while this is no Trent Reznor’s work, it lives up to the gameplay and world-building – if that much can be said – supporting Incision.
Incision is a throwback to merciless shooters from another age, for better and for worse. Here is a game that is extremely challenging first and occasionally fun after, but it can get repetitive quickly. While a great test of skills for the most die-hard fans of the genre, don’t expect any groundbreaking features or a memorable experience – that’s not what Incision is offering, but what it tries to do, it does in a very competent, low-fi, and bloody way.
- Uber-fast and challenging old-school shooter
- Catchy industrial soundtrack
- Punchy weapons
- Gets repetitive
- No mid-level checkpoints