The Thing showed us how relentless a killer alien in the middle of the arctic can be – everyone around him will either die of cold, itself or themselves at some point. The mix of cold, aliens and people going crazy is a deadly triple-threat, and is hard to survive. That's where Distrust comes in. “Inspired by” (re: ripped off) John Carpenter's 'The Thing', you take on aliens in the arctic. And how good is it?
Well, let's begin with the story. Your group hears a distress beacon, and you go out to investigate. You see bright lights, then your chopper explodes and suddenly it's a fight for survival. You then notice things: Sleep can cause the alien force to become stronger and survival harder. Everyone is going crazy. No one wants to die. All together it's a good story line, but again, many aspects are ripping off The Thing and other horror games. But it does develop interestingly, and there are a few good twists and turns. Not bad, but it could have afforded to stand to be a little more original.
The gameplay of Distrust is both new and familiar. All the walking around the area, mixed with some fighting and exploring and things feels a bit like old-time Fallout. But the variables is where it get's you. Each player has unique traits, sleep is key – don't sleep, and your characters can break random things thanks to the madness going around. If you sleep, you get the madness. If you don't sleep, alien force can attack. If you go outside, you can freeze. If you go inside, - you get the point. There is no safe place, and a lot of the gameplay is balancing everything. It's harsh, but once you get into the groove and figure out a balance, you survive. It's a fantastic way to play since there is always something to do, but again, it's harsh.
The game itself looks great. There's a never ending darkness about the game. Going out into the cold snow, entering the dark buildings. A lot of it is less realistic than I was hoping for, but it still looks great. A lot of the time, due to the graphics and the angle over the action, it reminded me of Fallout, but with modern graphics, snow and aliens. The lighting effects from flashlights were especially impressive. At times it was a bit blocky and copy/paste, and the aliens didn't look too, too convincing, but for the most part the graphics go above what you expect.
I was playing off of Steam, and the controls were fine. It's the standard point, click, interact, sometimes keyboard – it did the job. It was immediately familiar, and believe me, you need the familiarity before starting such a brutal game.
Much like The Thing, the music is very un-orchestral. There's a few beats, but it's also industrial with a slight string beat or two. It's hard to explain. Mainly, it fits with the action, as it has that pace, but also keeps the sense of mystery and the thriller-ness about it. It was much like the movie's soundtrack over 30 years ago. Sounds are fine too. Shuffling around, walking and everything were a little louder than they should be in those environs. But there are nice little touches, like hearing your breathing when you get cold, or the electric beeps when out with maps. A little overbearing at times, but it also has sounds for things most games wouldn't put in.
I didn't encounter much in the way of glitches. The frame rate was decent (the animations in the game were smooth), and there wasn't any real glitches. It WAS hard clicking some things while exploring, or the objects were so small you needed the cursor in the right place, but that was more like a design thing. Generally, there wasn't any flaws in the technical part of the game.
Distrust was a game that I got more than I wanted and less than I wanted. I wanted a more original story, and I wanted less dark graphics in favor of more lighter ones – but that's personal preference. Really, Distrust is a pretty solid game that requires a bit more on the survival aspect than the action aspect. If you like a harsh game that requires thinking and planning, then this is a game for you. It's not really a casual game, and does involve some investment, but it's rewarding. I wanted a bit more out of it, but from what I got, it definitely did a good job.
Final Score: 8 out of 10
A copy of this game's software was provided for the purpose of review.