A spawn of Painkiller. Very gore filled, combat orientated. I consider it a big title despite the many flaws.
Here you have an undead/demonic theme orientated, half-horror, medium paced action fantasy shooter - this is the most precise definition of the game! This is not a WW1 shooter! Many people totally don't have a clue what this game is about and mistake it for a clone of Brothers In Arms or Wolfenstein - wrong!!!
WW1 theme in this game is not the main drive, it is just a part of the bigger aspect and story. The whole premise of the game is to search for the artifacts of the lost vampiric civilization in order to gain power to destroy the evil, while living in the year 1916, and, unfortunately, being in the middle of the war, that somehow was "disrupted" by a massive undead/demonic invasion - with this in mind everything else follows.
So you are a soldier in the lines of the allies somewhere in Prussia, your American squad has been destroyed and you are one of the few survivors, surrounded by the imperial German forces (not Nacis you idiots). The game starts by tossing you directly in to the trenches of the enemy, and for the first part of the game you will have to fight humans - WW1 German soldiers. However that does not continue for a long time, and soon the battlefield is getting spawned with all kind of undead and demons. You think then that this is no ordinary WW1 shooter and the game sets you a question "what the hell is going on here". With some dialogue, cutscenes and found letters, you are getting introduced little by little to the origins of the invasion and find out that one man is responsible for all these events. You start searching for this man, Zimmerman - the evil protagonist of the game, and the more you do, the deeper the invasion seems, the less humans you encounter, the more zombies you face. Somewhere in the middle timeline of the game you face this Zimmerman, and find out that this is all nothing compared to what is about to happen in the end - the consumption of the world by the evil forces. By this time you find out, that there has been a civilization of vampire like creatures, who were actually battling the demons and in the course of history they have left powerfull artifacts those you now have to collect... Well, you don't have to collect them really, but if you don't - you will end up being a sissy and won't offer any challenge. Now comes the big game surprise and from the battlegrounds of WW1 you are getting sucked into the underworld - lost city of those vampire creatures, invaded by hellspawns. By this time your powers are increased considerably, as you consume more and more artifacts, but so are you foes getting stronger. This means that the game action tenses up and if you thought that the game pace was not sharp enough in the first half of the game, where WW1 "happened" - now think again, because the game suddenly becomes the total slaughter uber-pwning machine. You no longer carry WW1 weapons and are a lame human being, you become half demon and carry new weapons and have new abilities, those make the meele combat in this game the best and most brutal i have ever experienced in any first person shooter game. This experience alone makes you forget all the lacks and shortcoming the game brings - it has many of them. Suffice to say that the game is worth playing till the very end, even if the beginning did not leave a good impression. I hope you get what is the game about now.
Although this game is based on pain engine, it is quite chopped and decreased in quality in many ways from the original Painkiller. First of all, Necrovison is twice slower than Painkiller, which means your character moves just at half the speed of the original Painkiller character. Second - the physics capabilities look rather poor here - you can not execute difficult jumping techniques, do difficult wallclimbs and there is no air control. The graphics basically look the same as those in Painkiller Battle Out Hell expansion pack, but Necrovision lags way worse. To enjoy the maximum out of this game, you will need a powerfull video card. Suffice to say that a Radeon HD3870 is too weak to max out the game with AA, high resolution and get stable 60+ FPS. HD4870 should be the solution for smooth gameplay with over 60 FPS. This game needs over 60 FPS, because with less you won't be able to climb and jump in some secret areas around the walls. ATI CrossFire scales over 90 % when high resolution is selected, so 2 HD3870 cards work very good. Finally this game does not feel that dynamic like Painkiller and is better suited for slower, methodical gameplay, so this is not really a run & gun shooter, although the second part of the game tends to get similar to that point.
Just like Painkiller, Necrovison can get buggy at times and script errors are fairly common. With all these flaws, which are not that bad when not compared to Painkiller, Necrovision has some really strong points - it has a great, deep atmosphere, good soundtrack, detailed animations, a variety of weapons and monsters, adds mechanical unit gameplay from time to time, is full of surprises and unexpected situations and most important has one of the best developed and visually most brutally and gore looking combat system in any FPS to date. The whole combat in the game is actually rewarded with points and very often, on a skillful kill you get a screen title applauding your kill like some fatality.. The game makes you strive to kill monsters and much creative as you can. No wonder the developers of the game implemented this combat systems in their newest shooter Bulletstorm. Differently from Painkiller, your health regenerates after some time, but not fully. Just like in Painkiller, all your level achievements are registered in the end of each level in a statistic board. This way the game is suited for challenges.
One very special note is the exceptional challenge room, that is not a part of the campaign, where you are given an objective to kill the undead in many different ways and are rewarded with weapons and icons in the real game. This challenge room is great for evaluating skill and getting premature bonuses.
Now the game cons do not end that quickly, and although i have compared Necrovision to Painkiller, Necrovision has it's own unique flaws that must be mentioned to warn the player. The most annoying flaw of the game is the horrible voicing. The problem with it is that same phrases are repeated over and over again and you get the point... The common talk of the German WW1 soldiers or zombies is also either lame, funny to the point of goofiness or simply ridiculous: "i am defending" or "kiiillll" was getting on my nerves, especially that it was pronounced with overkill accent... Next big unique flaw of Necrovision are the scattered letters - now at first you will find it interesting to read the memoirs of the fallen people, as it helps you to get into the story, but after a while those letters will repeat again and gain. A letter that was present in the first level you will also find lying in the last level - does that make any fucin sense? You just start to ignore all the letters.
Third flaw, though not that bad, is that the controls of mechanical units could have been much better made, because the way it is done feels unnatural, whether you are a pilot of an airplane or inside a tank. Simply more work could have been done here... Finally the game has too many invisible walls and has a pattern of disabling areas for comeback, so if you want to return for secrets and similar - that will not be available most of the times.
Despite all these flaws the game delivers great action and i consider the game to be a big hit of 2007. It is clearly not as good as Bioshock, but it is in the same big league of FPS games.