Review | Husk

*Disclaimer* Husk has a story that features very sensitive, and dark subjects, and a focus on domestic abuse. These subjects are also a crucial part of the story, so to avoid spoiling the experience I will avoid mentioning specific details from the story. I would recommend this to be played away from children’s presence and for the player to be 18 years or older.

Husk is a very dark and disturbing game, and not just in the graphical sense; it is dark and disturbing in what the story touches on, Although there’s as little as 4 – 6 hours of gameplay, the game will stick with you for a long time after.

The story starts of with the player following Matt, or Mathew, as he heads over to his hometown of Shivercliff. He is travelling there on the train with his Daughter, Ann and his Wife, Ellen who have come along to see Matt’s dying father for what will be the last time; but as you can expect, things end up going horribly wrong after your train gets de-railed and you have to face your demons inside of the town of Shivercliff in the year 1995.

The gameplay is really about finding your family that have disappeared on the train, along with everyone else who was travelling too. You’ll be forced to survive your demons, which are like possessed “beings” all very fidgety and “zombie-like”, but you deal with ’em either by sneaking past them by using the crouch button, or by running away from them. You can also just start shooting them with a pistol that you find later on in the game, although it’s worth noting that you can’t hip fire with the pistol, you can only shoot whilst aiming down the barrel with the iron sights, this is done by holding the right mouse button.

Husk is not an open world game, though you can get lost in several sections inside the town of Shivercliff, and a few of these locations are the cave, and the hospital to name two. Getting lost ends up being very memorable because while you follow a linear path, you can become lost along the way. There are also a few puzzle sections, but nothing truly tricky, it’s mainly just finding the right key codes for certain doors that open electronically, and finding certain log in details on two computers in the hospital.

Graphically the game is beautiful as all the games that uses this (UE4) engine, and UndeadScout (the development team) definitely picked the right engine as it shows the disturbing scenes of ones physique and the blurred effects nearing the end of the game to be truly great. There was a moment that was perfectly mimicked where Matt begins “waking up” and the effect is pulled off perfectly (nope, I didn’t just spoil the game it’s not all just a dream like some people have been claiming on steam) .

Whilst some puzzles in the game take longer then they need too (especially the first computer terminal in the hospital area…check the nearest “inspect” item behind you *cough*) the game wants you to inspect as many items items as you can find in an attempt to really immerse you into the world and into the lore of the game, and it really does do a great job in grabbing you by the throat and makes you want to carry on playing in this bleak world.

The audio of the soundtrack and the sound effects are really fabulous, they immerse you in the world and the game would be about 60% less scary without it (or if it was turned off). Graphically I’d call this a psychological horror (even though it has bad guys) but the audio goes all fast and scary when you’re being chased and when you need to run away. Eerie music begins to sound when you start to enter new places. I did find a bug in the game where when the game needs to load up, your “applied” sound in the options gets reset and you need to hit “apply” once more to activate it at your level again.

All in all, Husk is a great “short” game in which I died a few times and wanted to explore more than what the game would let me; and for the price tag of £15.99 I think it is a bit too steep, even with the commission the dev’s have got to pay Unreal to use the engine, and with the lack of achievements on steam to warrant multiple play through’s its very difficult on that price tag. So if you need a short term game that “oozes” with life wait for this to go on sale for about £6 or £7.

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