Eresys is a horror survival game inspired by the works of H.P. Lovecraft by developers Ares Dragonis. It was released on 23rd April 2023 as an early-access game on pc. Just before writing this review, the developers have updated the game and you can expect more in the future. Unlike their previous release with a similar theme, The Shore, this game features a four-player co-op. I gathered up some Thumb Culture elite and we all ventured into the unknown to experience this game firsthand.
Exorcising the Demons Within
I had actually played through game developer Ares Dragonis’s previous release The Shore. In that game, you explore a photo-realistic Lovecraftian environment solving puzzles and combating demons. I fell in love with this type of game and knew I had to try Eresys. Do you love these kind of games? Let us know in the comments your favourite game like this.
At the time of playing this game, the game is very much in its early release phase. That being said enough was provided in the game to give me a jist of what potential the game has. I and three other Thumb Culture elite set sail for the shores of Eresys. Upon arriving we each could create our own characters to truly separate us from one another. From here you can “Begin hunt” as a solo player or “Host hunt” to play with others.
A detailed and gloomy landing area awaits our party in several shades of green and black. Its impressive detailed surfaces shine as if drenched with water. Here any group can gather up, get used to eaches appearance, and even explore a bit of this area. This area also has stairs to take you up to another level to a trophy room where you can track your progress. After familiarising ourselves with the area we approached the “Fish Man” and all readied up for the unknown.
We were all greeted with a gloomy forest environment. The only light source was that of the moon. We all soon found a table full of items which proved useful to ward off the demons, to map and light up the area. Through reading some magical scrolls we were given a rough tutorial of why we were here and what to do with the items. We were to seek out scattered pages of the book we hold. Once collected we will be able to defeat the monster that curses the island. With our interests piqued we set off in search of the pages.
We haphazardly at first journeyed out into the forest with no direction in mind. We came across our first shadowed monster soon after which we were able to deter it with our lanterns. For the most part, we all were separated exploring on our own getting lost. Dotted around the island were landmarks in the form of statues, buildings, and shrines. Some of these were activated with blood offerings. When someone was downed, their head could be carried by others, who could act as another pair of eyes. This concept was fun and one of the better parts of the game. Before we really got far into the game our session ended too soon.
Graphics & Audio
The Shore, the developer’s previous game, focused on creating a photo-realistic overcast eerie landscape. With Eresys they’ve aimed to outdo themselves by creating an impressive environment ramping up the photorealistic textures and unsettling mist-covered lands. As we progressed as a group along a path leading us to the main part of the island I was impressed at the dense foliage and rock-strewn landscape. On closer inspection, as we went off the beaten path the textures lacked quality somewhat. The rest of the island was sparse with landmarks and lit only by the moon through clouds. This gave the island a dark and foreboding feel. The monsters that attacked were mostly black and with tentacles with hardly any detailing on them. The effect of shining a torch on them was pleasing, however. I remember thinking the eye and ear icons at the bottom of the screen were a nice touch showing whether you were visible or audible by the monsters.
The characters we could play as on offer suited the eerie and dark theme of the game. Each character had white pale translucant skin which could be adorned with items of clothing. These customisations are mostly for anyone you are playing with to differentiate one ghoulish person from the others. These clothing items were well designed such as the plague masks. The music that accompanied you through the game added tension to your escapades in spades. An atmospheric orchestra sound that seemed almost to reverberate around the island left me at least with goosebumps. The change in music when you are pursued by monsters elevates to a piercing horror movie-type score which adequately made me jump in panic and run in any direction. I found the sounds and score for the game phenomenal and worthy of praise.
Depending on whether you are comfortable roaming these creepy and gloomy lands and whether you are tenacious enough to collect all of the many pages gameplay can be a few hours. We spent the good part of two hours trying to collect the pages but only collected a few. The fear-inducing horror score and the monsters that pestered you made it difficult as we would all be separated and perfect victims for the monsters yet again. For a novice horror gamer, this game can become annoying and, for me at least, I can only see myself dipping into it for short playthroughs at a time.
From the Fingers of Thumb Culture
Kev – “I loved the concept of Eresys, I have always enjoyed Lovecraftian culture, so to explore with a group of friends was always going to be fun. Whilst the graphics were not the most detailed, the atmosphere generated a sense of fear. When a game can get four grown men to simultaneously swear and run away, you know it’s doing something right. The teamwork element is vital, and good communication is required, getting lost is not a pleasant experience. Eresys is definitely looking like it has the potential to be a fantastically fun game.”
Stu S – “Eresys oozes with atmosphere. Every move you make seems closer to a step toward both death and progression. Giving you multiple ways to go about your task gives you the freedom to proceed however you and your party want. With that freedom comes an added danger, split up and you are in a world of trouble. So make sure your communications are on point and you are constantly keeping an eye on the shadows.”
Kyle – “The atmosphere of the game felt good and eerie with its colour tones, but maybe adding some more things to the surroundings (e.g. Maybe more cultist statues, sigils or effigies, etc) instead of just trees. Being able to resurrect people by picking up their severed head and placing it on a beheaded statue is a great feature. When in severed head (spectator) mode, maybe highlight enemies so you can warn the player carrying your head might be more useful and fun.”
Overall, Eresys promises to be a great horror game full of surprises and creepy monsters. There were things we felt needed to be included for it to be more of an enjoyable experience like a compass or more reasonable tasks. For those who love the Lovecraftian theme, horror, and monsters this game is worth a try. The game really did set apart the casual gamers who weren’t into the details and those who really read instructions and thrived for the complex. I would say wait a little while as it irons some bugs out and adds in more features as the game travels through development.
Disclaimer: A code was received in order to write this review.