There’s a certain love out there for the idea of simpler times in gaming. Times when enemies were made out of pixels the size of skyscrapers and colours were a lot more finite. Looking back, you can’t really compare the games of yesteryear fairly to whatever we have on shelves right now, 4K behemoths which can throw HDR effects and all manner of anti-aliasing goodness at a player that really shows how massive the divide is between the visuals of the past and present.

desync3

That doesn’t mean that those games are without charm. Hell, they’re sometimes still worth a session or two, with classic shooters always being prime for quick sessions of run ‘n gun gameplay that doesn’t bog you down with a reminder to buy the season pass. DESYNC is very much a throwback to the past, a stripped down shooter where your single goal within that digital life is to kill anything that isn’t you.

The synth of the past

desync2

It’s also as brutal as it is beautiful in its aesthetics, a move that might not appeal to everyone. But it’s hard to deny that when DESYNC finds its groove, it’s a living reminder of how nostalgia is more than happy to kick your ass when given the chance. DESYNC’s entire visual setup looks like the bastard child of Tron and leftover visuals from the first Lawnmower Man film, a neon-dipped world of squares and odd shapes that really really loves its aesthetic to the point where it can become distracting at times.

Read  Sonic Forces review – Yet another middling Sonic game

Fake glitches and ye olde CRT scan-lines abound, set in a hub that ditches menus for more interactive in-game PCs where you choose where you want to spend the next couple of minutes master-blasting. It’s not a bad idea, but it does feel counter-intuitive at times, to the point where you could have done with some old-fashioned menus and trimmed off plenty of fat in the process.

desync6

But where DESYNC does shine, is in its combat. Depending on whether or not you’re up the challenge. Equal parts Bulletstorm and Quake 3 Arena in its influences, Desync is an unforgiving beast with no mercy for the weak. The key to survival here lies in playing like a boxer, dipping in with fast attacks and weaving your way out of trouble as the opposition piles onto you.

Never stop moving, never stop shooting. Desync’s arenas are harsh virtual realities, filled with all manner of traps which don’t distinguish between friend and foe. The true charm is in using these arenas to your advantage, positioning enemies into place and blasting their bullet-sponge hides into the spikes behind them. It’s that very aggression which defines DESYNC, as the more you press on and the less you run away, the bigger your bonuses for the skills you’ve assigned to your in-game sidearms.

What are you synching about?

desync9

But I need to repeat this: Desync is hard. Stupidly hard and much like life itself, unfair and ready to crush you at the drop of a hat. It’s the kind of game where you truly cannot stop moving for a moment, need to have eyes in the back of your head and have full awareness of the traps around you lest you find yourself on the business end of an axe that happens to be used for practicing proctology. And that results in a game that is going to turn a lot of people off.

Read  Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon Review – The boys Arbok in town

desync8

But when it finds its groove, the mix of run ‘n gun ‘n trap gameplay feels tight and superb, favouring reflexes and speed in its DNA. I just wish DESYNC had a more interesting and varied soundtrack to go along with that vicious tempo of action, instead of having to hear the same couple of bars of synthesised discord played out constantly.

 

Last Updated: March 13, 2017

DESYNC
Summary
DESYNC mixes fast-paced action with gnarly visuals of a bygone era, living up to a promise that that it’ll kick 50 shades of neon out of your butt and then some. Your mileage on such punishing and relentless gameplay however, might vary depending on your tolerance for pain and synth.
7.0
DESYNC was reviewed on PC
69 / 100

Darryn Bonthuys

Something wrong gentlemen? You come here prepared to read the words of a madman, and instead found a lunatic obsessed with comics, Batman and Raul Julia’s M Bison performance in the 1994 Street Fighter movie? Fine! Keep your bio! In fact, now might be a good time to pray to it!

  • Alien Emperor Trevor

    “I just wish DESYNC had a more interesting and varied soundtrack”

    Like ‘N Sync?

Check Also

ASUS Strix Vega 56 review–A silent but impotent answer to Pascal

The AMD Vega 56 is a good card that's just a year too late to the market, with the ASUS St…