Playing through Hegis’ Grasp: Evil Resurrected, it’s easy to see that the namesake village is indeed cursed. Cursed with horrid visuals, buggy and awkward gameplay, and deer that run like they’re trying to bust a move in a nightclub (please, let me explain). I came out of Hegis’ Grasp with more questions than answers. Namely, “Did anybody actually playtest this?”
Having just come out of early access on Sept. 27, Hegis’ Grasp is pitched to be a “story-driven, atmospheric survival horror game.” There’s a chance that this statement holds truth, due to it being an adaptation of a novel written by one of the people behind this game, Dean Clark. Since I didn’t read the novel, I’m not going to comment on anything regarding the contents within its pages simply because I have no clue what’s in there.
However, any deep story elements within the game are swiftly overshadowed by voiceover work that sounds like it was recorded through a piece of plywood. Muffled, rough and stale voice acting bring you into the story with the exposition of Henry Wood, a journalist in the late 1800’s looking to get the scoop on the village of Hegis which has mysteriously gone quiet. Accompanied by his nephew Jacob and General Miller, the trio set out to find the evil that lurks within Hegis.
One thing worth noting is that Hegis’ Grasp has been in early access for a year, at the absolute least and I played it once last year when it was in Early Access. Having played it since it came out as a full release, nothing feels like it’s been polished or changed despite Odd Branch claiming that there has been polish and change throughout the game. For instance, the very beginning after the opening scene, you see the horse-drawn carriage makes its way toward Hegis where it clips right through a large shrub. One year later, that clipping is still present. It’s a laughably easy fix that they just couldn’t seem to be bothered with. They literally could have just moved it a few feet to the right. See what I mean here at the of this video of the full release, compared to the beginning of the Early Access from last year. There are increased saturation and god rays, but an immersion breaking plant that clipped through just couldn’t be bothered.
Ever the optimist, I trudged forward through the first chapter of Hegis’ Grasp and quickly did I realize that my optimism came back to bite me. From there, you get a good look at just how raggedy this game is. I played Hegis’ Grasp on “Beast PC” settings and my PC is anything but a beast and everything ran smooth as can be, which would be good, if this game had needed a “Beast PC” option at all which, in my opinion, it does not. Low-quality textures and character models that look like they’re made out of Play-Doh almost make the humans scarier than the monsters. Back to what I was saying about dancing deer, these are easily the scariest creatures in the whole game.
The animations are clunky and, while the game does offer to play in the first or third person, swapping between views can be jarring as the camera will sometimes spin you 180 degrees. A lot of this can be seen via the cutscenes and general gameplay.
Combat also feels extremely bland with mundane shooting mechanics and melee combat that just feels like your slicing at air.
Hegis’ Grasp tries it’s best to scare you throughout the game, up to the point where it just feels unnecessary. This is mainly done by way of random changes in the music’s intensity when there’s nothing around and no reason at all for the music to ramp up its intensity. I’m a bit of a chicken when it comes to horror, so I will admit the first couple crescendos got me, however, once I realized that likely nothing would happen, I found myself being more in line with an “oh, give me a break” reaction
Odd Branch has been promoting this game for at least a year now, but all the hype they’re putting out for it doesn’t seem to be justified. Hegis’ Grasp is awkward, buggy, far from aesthetically pleasing and features voice acting worthy of a Gold Raspberry, or maybe a spot in an animated feature of “The Room.” You can get Hegis’ Grasp for $5.99 on Steam.