Dispatcher, created by Civil Savages, is intended to be a thrilling, lore-filled horror game in the same strain as Amnesia: Dark Descent, SCP: Containment Breach, or Outlast…Dispatcher, however, fails to achieve this, and falls flat on it’s face. Randomly generated, featuring 4 main ‘monsters’, Dispatcher wants to make you believe that the game will keep itself fresh and interesting…
Dispatcher tasks you with surviving on a desolate, dead starship, infested with infected ghouls, horrifying shark-looking behemoths, ominous demonic portals and other such threats; Dispatcher tries to get you invested with you character through custom character creation plucked straight out of an early 2000’s PS2 game, allowing you to give your character stats, and a perk to define their personality (Such as Gamer, Alcoholic, Technician, etc) – One problem, however, is that from what I could see, these stats did nothing other than maybe Endurance / Stamina, which make you take more hits & run faster / longer respectively.
This is where Dispatcher starts to crumble, in my eyes – If you don’t make your running speed your best stat, then you’re dead. Instantly dead. The various beasts that will hunt you down have a set speed, and if your character has a speed below that, you’ll never escape their jaws. This is an issue since the game utilizes the best of the Unreal 4 Engine, I just want to be able to walk around more, but the constant deaths every 20 seconds stop me from exploring more. One good aspect of Dispatcher is the Funny Hunt mode, which puts you into the eyes the large shark-esque behemoth, tasking you with hunting down the various humans on the space station – This mode was a little bit fun, acting as a game of hide & seek, but, like the rest of Dispatcher, only stayed fresh for around 20 minutes.
Another issue with Dispatcher is it’s lack of controller support; it seems that this game is strictly built solely for the use of a keyboard & mouse, due to the insanely high default sensitivity for controller analogue sticks when we used a PS4 DualShock 4 controller, the game wasn’t optimised for this (Or any other controller we used for this instance) as I was unable to access my inventory, be able to pick up items effectively, or even do simple tasks such as turning around to try and escape near-certain death. This is also down to the ridiculous motion blur that occurs when you even tilt your head a tiny amount.
The game relies on you purchasing more stat points to beef yourself up with by obtaining currency strewn around the ship, however if you die, all your progress, currency and items are eliminated. There is no tutorial system in the game, leaving you to run around like a headless chicken with no end goal, or even any inclination as to how the currency system works. Whilst games such SCP also lacked a clear end objective and tutorial, the game was simplistic in nature, not featuring stats, currency or varying mechanics for one monster – This is where Dispatcher could’ve succeeded, through, by offering a wide array of different monsters, all randomly spawned, with one unique mechanic tied to them, the game could’ve kept itself fresh and interesting, and opened up some good experiences. With every monster that I encountered, there was absolutely no escaping them once they became enraged, even at one point spawning me into the game and having the large shark behemoth appear right outside my spawn door, leaving me unable to do anything against my impending doom. The UI also appears bland and clunky, being hard to navigate with controllers.
Dispatcher doesn’t disappoint me, it just leaves me sad as I love the visual look of the game, and the theme and lore that went behind it, running amazingly at 2k resolution, max settings at an easy 60fps on my GTX 970 GPU, but the needlessly complex transactional and stat mechanics, simple but overpowered monsters, and lack of deep gameplay just pushes me away. Since the game released in Early Access a year ago, it seems that Civil Savages haven’t added anything noteworthy to the game since it’s Early Access form, and it seems that Civil Savages are all but welcome to forget this game ever existed, having stopped all support since it exited Early Access.
To be honest, I think I’ll be joining them in forgetting about Dispatcher. I would rate the game a 3/10.