At first glance, Necrotech looks like what indie gaming should be all about. The graphics are terrible, the awful sound effects are thankfully minimal but the game promises a good plot with lots of depth, a huge equipment list and skills, stats and characters galore.
Necrotech is a turn based first person RPG. Start with one character and minimal equipment and using the icons, click and move your way through the (blocky) city of the future. Your quest is to locate a lost brother abducted by the Necrotech corporation... you know, the people with the cure for Deep Space Cancer.
Character generation is basic, skills being random. You can 're-roll' unlimited times and the skill points are not scattered but totally random so it is possible, though unlikely, to start as superman. Finding new team members is important because this game is difficult, and more people for lives alone is a good idea.
After rolling your stats, which can be enhanced later with the customary experience points, pick a skill and get some kit. Remember to load and hold your gun. I can't stress that enough because it is all to easy to pick a bar fight and then take so long to actually wield your weapon that you will be dead before you manage it.
Combat is a matter of time/action points and when you come up against some foes it's time to select a type of shot in typical fashion. An aimed shot takes more time than a quick shot but is more accurate, you know the sort of thing. The enemy does something similar and everything is resolved with virtual dice.
In practice the combat is intensely unrealistic. My team kitted out with automatic weapons didn't last long against a couple of hounds. Shooting a hound with my machine gun should be pretty bad news for said doggy but apart from fewer hit-points, no other effect was obvious and the hound eventually bit me to death. There is no concept of cover and there are no tactics. The sniper rifle cannot snipe, it's just a slow firing gun, and skills aside there is zero difference between ranged and hand to hand combat. This is a disaster.
There are text adventures with more realistic combat systems than Necrotech. The graphics are functional but absolutely nothing more. The rain effect outside is nice, the text is readable but most of the graphics look rushed. Many of the flat looking, scanned looking, cardboard-cut-out people have grey fringes. The wall textures look pretty awful, the 3D models look like test graphics and the pictures of guns and equipment are again functional. Things appear good enough to recognise, just.
There are very few icons, and most of the things you can click on are text. Step near a door and you get 'There is a door here' and you can click on 'Go through it', that sort of thing. Pages of text explain things. All of this makes a complex game very easy to learn and it is, sadly, the game's best feature.
It's a shame to put down all the hard work that has gone into Necrotech but ultimately there are better freeware games out there. The poor combat spoils the game because without it there is not much else to fall back on. It's easy to control, the graphics are good enough to play with and there is a decent plot but none of the positive points can raise the game.
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