Hands-on: The VOID Goes all Creepy With Nicodemus: Demon of Evanishment
Superbly atmospheric, just needs to be scarier.
VRFocus loves a good virtual reality (VR) scare, it’s almost as if the technology was purposefully designed for horror videogames, immersing players in dark, dank locations, with ghastly creatures seemingly hiding in every shadowy corner. So when The VOID invited the team to play one of its latest experiences, Nicodemus: Demon of Evanishment, in Las Vegas during CES 2019, we naturally jumped at the chance to test this new horror title.
Nicodemus: Demon of Evanishment spoilers ahead
Having already tried the delightfully cute and colourful Ralph Breaks VR earlier in the week, flinging pancakes and ice creams at cats and bunnies, Nicodemus: Demon of Evanishment offered an entirely different experience, one definitely not designed for all ages.
Just as before the same process applied to getting ready – by now VRFocus was well versed in getting strapped into the gear – with staff giving each of us the option to pick from one of six character cards, which would be our avatar in the videogame – I chose ‘The Magician’ who had a rather awesome moustache and top hat.
Nicodemus: Demon of Evanishment is a dark tale set in Chicago during the 19th Century, with the city holding a massive exposition. However, during the event one of the attractions malfunctions and takes a dark turn, releasing evil into the world. People start to go missing so the entire area is closed down. Fast forward to present day and VRFocus seems to be in a team being sent back in time to investigate what happened and hopefully gain some answers.
Up to four players can be part of the experience – there were three of us so it still worked – with Nicodemus: Demon of Evanishment instantly splitting the group in half. Our colleague Kevin then went off by himself while I and video producer Nina wandered through the videogame together. Straight away Nicodemus presents an experience with a lot more atmosphere than Ralph Breaks VR, with Ninja Theory creating a richly detailed environment that you want to (hesitantly) explore.
There were no guns this time around, instead, there were a series of rooms with puzzles to solve. Pleasantly surprising was the interactivity of the puzzles, fuses needed to be changed in a machine which you could physically pick up and place, or massive wheels on valves which had to be turned precisely in order to get the correct alignment. Just like all The VOID experiences, this is a linear set by step process, and to keep things flowing even if you don’t solve the puzzle the way will eventually open up.
If you don’t like horror titles – especially ones with jump scares – then Nicodemus isn’t for you. The entire experience is full of little jump scares, look into a mirror and suddenly there’s a creature looking back, a small puppet suddenly starts sprouting maggots from its eyes and mouth, or the main creature itself starts clawing at you through metal elevator railings. If there were any criticisms to be had then it comes down to two things; the scare factor starts to wane towards the end as the jump scares become more apparent, and even with effects like spatial sound there were times when the both of us felt we’d missed something – Nina, for example, didn’t see the mirror scare.
As per usual it all feels like it’s over way too quickly. Yet Nicodemus: Demon of Evanishment has a unique card to play, a secondary ending. Like most experiences with multiple endings the trick isn’t playing the game over and over, but performing a certain set of specific tasks. Now VRFocus didn’t go through a second time to try this, but here’s a hint; on The VOID’s website is the full PDF story to read, make sure you do before playing.
Once again The VOID has created a VR experience that’s difficult not to recommend. It certainly doesn’t feature the classic first-person shooter (FPS) action of Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire or Ralph Breaks VR but we don’t mind as it offers something different. Nicodemus: Demon of Evanishment offers the richest narrative yet for fans of The VOID, and the best reason for a second playthrough.