Survival Horror, an old genre in gaming that was first seen in Alone in the Dark and was popularized by the iconic Resident Evil series. There is nothing more terrifying than controlling a character that is underpowered surrounded by monsters and other enemies that made this genre scary. Having limited resources and scrambling the map to find ammunition would require players to strategize how they play the game, because every single bullet counts.
Hegis Grasp is an indie survival horror game that is currently in development by Salty Goal Productions. The game is story-driven and takes you to a mysterious village known to be cursed. You play the game as Henry Wood, a journalist who is conducting an investigation to discover what transpired in the once peaceful village.
For the purposes of this article, I was given an advanced demo by Salty Goal to write my first impressions on the game. The demo has the first three chapters and although this doesn’t show how the game ends, it is more than enough for me to see the potential of Hegis Grasp.
The game begins with the arrival of Henry Wood together with General Samuel Miller and Jacob. The trio found themselves stuck as the gate leading inside the village is locked. Henry is tasked to explore the surrounding woods to see if there are people living nearby that can help. This begins Henry’s hellish journey to uncover the truth to what transpired in the cursed village.
The controls of the game are pretty standard on the PC but I found it to be a little bit laggy. The walking animation is done beautifully but the running animation looks a little bit awkward and unnatural. As I explored the woods outside the village, I can say that the graphics are quite good, even on medium settings.
Notes are also scattered all around the map. These notes tell the stories of some villagers before the curse started. Some of the notes I encountered seemed to talk about our arrival in the village and how the author of the note is “excited to play with his new toys”, which sent nerves up my spine. After reading that note, I suddenly felt that I was being watched as I explore the woods.
Exploring the woods further, I encountered some abandoned buildings filled with mannequins. It reminded me of a scene in Resident Evil 7 where I also encountered some and gave me a good scare! This small detail definitely added to the creepiness factor of the game, and whenever I re-entered those abandoned houses, I still jump a bit at the sight of those creepy mannequins.
By the near end of Chapter 1, I arrived at a house where two villagers reside. The transition to the cutscene made it clear to me that these people are not friendly at all. Fighting enemies in this game is very difficult, however, since this is a survival horror game, killing all enemies is not recommended due to limited ammunition. The adrenaline rush that I felt after fighting off a few enemies is terrifying and exhilarating at the same time. Reloading is a bit slow and the fact that my shotgun can only shoot two bullets at a time made me rely more on the good old axe and other melee weapons that can be found throughout the area. What I didn’t like about the combat system is how it requires you to right click to aim before you can fire your weapon. I found it a bit clunky and inefficient when I need to make quick shots when enemies suddenly burst out of doors, which contributed to the the many deaths my player encountered.
As I returned to find my comrades, I wasn’t surprised that they were already gone and the carriage we were in earlier is burning to pieces. The gate that was locked is already open, which led the way to the cursed village. The following chapters takes you to the village where the objective shifted into finding your missing companions and to get the hell out of the cursed town.
For every horror game that I play, I believe that visuals only contribute about 30% of what makes the game scary. 70% of what terrifies me every time is music, and this game delivers on that pretty well. Even when you’re just exploring the area, the rustling trees and faint music really sets the scary atmosphere of the game. I was so impressed and at the same time terrified with the voices of some of the monsters in the game, and it made me jump from my seat, or press the escape button every single time.
Hegis Grasp has a big potential to make every survival horror fan jump from their seats. Although the first chapter kind of reminded me a bit of Resident Evil 4’s opening sequence, there is a solid storyline in this game. The fact that it is story-driven and the player’s choices dictate how it ends, already shows its unique value proposition. Besides the clunky combat system, and some minor glitches here and there, which is understandable since it’s still in development, the overall game is terrifyingly good. The visuals are great, the music adds tension and scare factor, and the storyline is mysterious enough that made me invested to see the game to its end. All in all, I’m excited to play this game again once it’s released in full.
Hegis Grasp is based on the novel written by Dean Clark, and published by Celenic Earth Publications. Although the game features multiple endings, the real ending can be found within the novel, which is available today, and will also be bundled as a DLC when the game is released. You can know more about the novel here.