Steampunk aesthetics and creeping dread in ‘Sir, You Are Being Hunted’ | review


Reviewed by:
Rating:
4
On January 10, 2014
Last modified:January 10, 2014

Summary:

Few recent games have so successfully nailed the feeling of creeping dread felt while being stalked as Sir, You Are Being Hunted. It's an an eerie, nerve-shredding experience.

sir-you-are-being-hunted-screenshot
(Big Robot)

“Do be careful, sir..  You are being hunted.”

These are the last words you hear before being plunged into the darkly comic, frequently terrifying world offered up in Sir, You Are Being Hunted, a really rather good FPS from Big Robot.  And being hunted you are.  Relentlessly.  By various types of nefarious, yet dapper, robots who style themselves in the manner of Victorian gentleman patrolling their vast country estates.  While on the surface this could be seen as quite silly, and indeed Sir is a game with a great sense of humour, the sight from afar of red eyes and the clanking sound of pursuit will soon come to haunt most every moment of your Being Hunted experience.

In the aftermath of an experiment gone awry, the player is tasked with finding fragments of a device that will enable an escape from the robot-infested archipelago to relative safety.  Hopefully in time for a pleasant supper followed by port and cigars in the drawing room, ay wot?  Choosing from a number of professions, each with a different set of starting items with which to destroy or distract the droids, the player must generally rely on stealth, skill, and diversionary tactics to reach the objective.

The “Officer” for example is armed to the teeth and offers a somewhat more direct approach to dealing with the enemy (albeit with limited a limited of ammunition), whereas the “Old Soak” has nothing but copious amounts of alcohol and a few pickled eggs with which to battle the mechanical horde.  Further items can be scavanged from structures found throughout the landscape; some useful for your survival (food, bandages, and ammo, for example), some not so much (while a pipe and tobacco may make one look rather dashing, its usefulness surely ends there).

Modeled, according to the developers, upon the creepier aspects of the English countryside, Sir definitely evokes the sense of history and isolation that can be found in many areas of the British Isles and this definitely adds to the impressive overall experience.  Few recent games have so successfully nailed the feeling of creeping dread felt while being stalked by the dapper droids populating the bleak, procedurally generated landscapes which form the islands to be explored in what proves to be an eerie, nerve-shredding experience.  The lack of music and attention to detail paid to the ambient sounds of the game world work brilliantly to add another layer of menace and tension to an already engrossing atmosphere.

The alpha test version of Sir, You Are Being Hunted is available through the Steam platform and, as such, anyone wishing to play the game right now must expect a few bugs and glitches along the way, although I am yet to encounter anything even close to game breaking.  The various professions and randomly generated landscapes created for each new save offer a fair amount of replay value, and there are frequent updates and additions to what is already an immersive and immensely enjoyable stealth shooter.  Jolly good show, chaps!

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Few recent games have so successfully nailed the feeling of creeping dread felt while being stalked as Sir, You Are Being Hunted. It's an an eerie, nerve-shredding experience.
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About John Stubley

John Stubley
John Stubley is a part-time Associate Professor of English, and full-time repository for pointless trivia. Holding rather worthless degrees in Media and Popular Culture, and 18th Century English Literature, he now fills his time by spouting forth opinions on everything that may conceivably be referred to as Pop Culture to anyone who will listen, and many who won't.