Carrion

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Carrion review
Nathan Rowland

Review

Keep Calm and Carrion

Eat, rip and tear and eat again.


Carrion is a reverse horror game in which you assume the role of an amorphous creature of unknown origins, stalking and consuming those that imprisoned you. With that concise introduction, you have everything you need to know to play the latest title from Phobia Game Studios

Gameplay is at the forefront in this experience, breaking free from your bonds in the opening seconds and slithering your way towards your freedom without any delay. The forces that drive you towards progression are primal and simple. Kill everything in sight and keep moving forwards. This system is re-enforced with an exceptionally smooth system of movement. Simply point and click in the direction you would like to travel and you will be pulled in that direction, spewing tendril like arms to latch onto walls, ceilings and humans alike.

Blood for the blood god


Should any cowering scientists or stoical guard stand in your way, they need only be right clicked into oblivion before being consumed in a sadistically satisfying display of gore and dismemberment. With each devoured foe, the amorphous creature grows physically in size and becomes more capable in its techniques. Abilities for more complex traversal and more efficient ways to resolve combat from up close or at range, becoming available to you as you progress and devour all that stands in your way. With this, increasingly challenging humans with stand in your way towards freedom, equipped with increasingly annoying and destructive weaponry to impede your progress. But as you will soon learn, you are what goes bump in the night. Its a fantastic power-trip - a cross between inflicting the psychological terror of the titular Alien whilst in the guise of a blood-soaked Venom. Being able to decide between slowly creeping through vents and hatches, hearing the whimpering of your soon-to-be victims cower as you slide closer to their demise, or just bursting headlong into the room body-smashing everything in sight, mouth agape, is a wonderful feeling.



Please hold for destruction.


However, not everything is blood, guts and roses. As you slide your way between rooms, of which there are many, youll soon realise that not much is done to break up the visual style between the variety of locations youll visit. Often, I would find myself lost for a few minutes, back tracking or looking for a resource to advance, before I would quickly lose my place amongst the cavernous, indistinguishable, bland locations. Its a shame for how viscerally the creature interacts with the world around him that the world itself should appear so beige.

These repetitive rooms also highlight another flaw that appears in the fast-paced style of Carrions gameplay, namely loading screens. Not their length, which is thankfully minimal, but their frequency. Because there is so much to explore, so much back tracking to be done across multiple, confined locations, the player will have to travel across many, many rooms before significantly progressing. This experience breaks up, however small, what is otherwise a seamless experience of movement and momentum. And to a larger extent, these faults break up what is likewise a fantastic gameplay experience. If you ever wanted to play Alien: Isolation from the perspective of the creature, this is the game.

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8.0

fun score

Pros

Responsive controls, thematic sound design, empowering gameplay

Cons

Excessive loading screens, so-so visuals