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Cultic: Chapter One Review – Lock and Load (PC)

Cultic: Chapter One

I loved playing through the first chapter of Cultic: Chapter One for review. This fast-paced, satisfying, creepy, nostalgia-fest was a joy to experience. What is even more impressive is that Cultic was deloped for 3D Realms by one person, up-and-coming auteur; Jason Smith.

In recent years, we have borne witness to a glorious resurrection to the somewhat niche sub-genre known as the Boomer Shooter. I have been lucky enough to play a number of fantastic Boomer Shooters recently, however for my money, Cultic may just be the best of the bunch.

Cultic: Chapter One releases on October 13th, 2022 and is available on Steam.

Cultic: Chapter One doesn’t bother trying to tell a detailed narrative. Plot-wise, things are kept simple and that is for the best in a title like this. The game follows the tried and tested plot of any retro FPS title; you are alone in a creepy place with a variety of enemies trying to kill you and you must shoot your way to survival.

Boom, boom shake the room.
Boom, boom shake the room.

What it does do is use environmental story-telling, world-building and tone to create an eerily disturbing atmosphere; and it does so extremely well. Although it would be a stretch to call the game truly scary, there is an undoubtedly foreboding atmosphere consistently present throughout every level of the game.

Stylistically, Cultic: Chapter One feels like somewhat of a spiritual successor to the 1997 classic Blood for multiple reasons. First and most obviously, the game opens with the player character waking up in a shallow grave. Then, there are the enemy types in the game; hooded cult members and the odd supernatural evil entity.

Also read: 5 Reasons Why 2022 Was A Great Year For Horror Movies

At first glance, the game’s graphics seem somewhat rudimentary and some may even say that the visuals are the one element which was obviously created by just one person. With that being said, once you settle into the nostalgic visual style utilized in the game, there are actually some really gorgeous visual moments. Clever use of lighting and scale mask the pixelated nature of the game’s textures to create some stunning, aesthetically pleasing scenes.

Everything burns.
Everything burns.

One thing which has always been essential in any great Boomer Shooter is that satisfying gameplay loop of dispatching waves of enemies in crunchy, violent fashion. Thankfully, Cultic: Chapter One has that in spades. The game also gives you access to a pretty varied arsenal through its runtime and every gun which you are given feels tactile and sturdy.

When that satisfying gunplay is matched with the game’s frenetically quick movement controls, those are the moments where Cultic: Chapter One is at its best. Flying through an environment, rapidly dispatching waves of cult members and undead creatures never gets old.

Also read: 31 Days of Horror: 5 Perfect Horror Endings That’ll Shock and Scare You

However, my one criticism of the game does lie within the movement controls. As much as I loved the flowing fast movement of the player-character, there are certain moments in the game which require you to slow down. Whether you are trying to navigate a narrow beam, or a steep, thin staircase, there were a few moments where the game’s twitchy movement caused a frustrating death. I’d advise players to mess with their mouse sensitivity to work around this issue.

Overall, I loved my time with this game and am glad that I got to play through Cultic: Chapter One for review. It is rare that I immediately want to go back and replay a game after reviewing it, but I cannot wait to experience Cultic: Chapter One for a second time.

As this is the first chapter in an episodic release, I am very excited to see how the title expands and what the future holds for this awesome game. Some folks say that, “they just don’t make them like they used to,” well I am here to tell you that Jasozz Games does make them like they used to and it is a ton of fun to experience.

9/10

Cultic was reviewed on PC, with a review code provided by 3D Realms.

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Written by Daniel Boyd

Daniel is a 27-year-old writer from Glasgow. He graduated from university with an honours degree in 3D Animation, before pivoting to pursue his love for critical writing. He has also written freelance pieces for other sites such as KeenGamer.com and The Big Glasgow Comic Page. He loves movies, video games and comic books.