It’s dark out, and it’s never going to be light again. The world is shrouded in a thick, black cloak of undefined darkness and the survivors in its wasteland can only scavenge for supplies, trying their best to survive the terrors crawling through the endless night. Fortunately, they don’t have to do it alone.
Noct is a multiplayer survival game set in the ruins of civilization after an ancient evil overran the world. While gaming has seen more than its share of of this scenario, what sets Noct apart is its style of presentation. You view the world through from an overhead perspective as if through a low-res black and white security camera, complete with scanlines. The camera view renders everything as if through a heat sensor, and let’s just pretend bullets and supplies are extra-warm rather than think about video game logic too closely. The result is a feeling of spying on yourself, as you end up being both player and person controlling the player. It’s a bit schizoid but very effective.
When the player spawns it’s in a mostly-safe spot, armed with a small gun and handful of bullets but little else. Markers on the screen edge show objectives and other players, and you’re free to go wandering any which way you’d like. It’s probably best to head towards the objective, though, because it’s most likely going to be near supplies like a better gun and ammo, more bullets, and the giant terrors that stalk unwary survivors. That last one is a bit of a problem, but seeing as they hunt in the wilderness too you might as well get moving.
Once you’ve found the abandoned buildings that used to be civilization it’s time to get looting. The roofs block your view but once you’ve opened the door you can get a sense of at least the room you’re looking into, but line of sight only and satellite spy-view only go so far. It’s actually a little too easy to get taken out by a monster hiding around the corner on a freshly-opened door at the moment, but this is a known issue being worked out in future revisions. Getting killed by carelessness is always fair, getting killed by invisible critter not so much, but fixing problems like that is what pre-alpha is for.
The Noct demo was a tense, atmospheric descent into a ruined world overrun by creatures happy to eviscerate anyone they ran across. While I struck out on my own, it was good to know there were others out there in the persistent world I could team up with, once I’d gotten some gameplay basics under my belt. You can play solo as the last survivor in a giant empty world or host a server to call in friends for backup help. Alone or with companions, though, it’s going to be a long, difficult quest for the truth behind the terrors that sunk the Earth into its endless, desolate night.