is more often than not amusing and off-the-wall, it has its fair share of dark, horrifying aspects
—often alongside the amusing and off-the-wall bits.
- While Metal Maw looks incredibly silly (and his entrance certainly doesn't help), you can't deny that a genetically engineered super-beast designed to kill and kill because of a neural feedback loop that puts it into excruciating pain with each fatality is horrifying, to say the least.
- DevSpeak: Crowd Control features the death of Brofessional and the return of all the Rowsdowers he blew up last DevSpeak... and they came back with a... friend.
- The Ravaging of Arboria. You're a friendly, peaceful race on a lush, verdant planet hidden on the edge of Galactic Civilization. Your friends the Exiles are great fun, though they can never stay for long and are always so secretive about their visits! Then, one day, strange ships appear, gigantic monsters of metal start tearing up the trees and devastating the land, and a voice tells you this is your payment for your crimes against the Dominion. "What have we done to you?" you ask, before the troops make planetfall...
- The Mordesh are unnerving, to say the least. Though they are not technically zombies, they are one step away from causing a Left 4 Dead by turning Ravenous running around killing everyone. That aside, their robotic limbs, unhealthy skin pallor, and the glow of their Vitalus containers is rather creepy.
- Let's not forget Grismara. Thanks to the Everlife Elixir, the Ravenous on the planet are essentially immortal meaning that the planet is in a state of eternal Zombie Apocalypse until someone bombs the entire thing from orbit—and even that may not be enough. A report in Avra Darkos' lair from a Mordesh operative with advanced Vitalus implants who posed as one of the Ravenous on Grismara makes one thing clear. There are NO non-Mordesh life signs left on Grismara. None whatsoever. The Ravenous have killed and eaten EVERYTHING.
- The Fall of Grismara, a three-part lore journal acquired throughout Sylvan Glade and Grimhold in Celestion, details first-hand eyewitness accounts of the day the Contagion broke out in Grismara. Featured in it are a young Mordesh girl, the two Ekose pilots that rescue her, and a widowed Mordesh man who was forced to kill his wife. Some of the passages are quite disturbing and tragic, describing the shock and trauma of watching your own mother kill your father, surviving the onslaught of hundreds of Ravenous, as well as the bombing of the surface, implied to be by Dominion forces.
Yashka Rovu, Survivor of Grismara: "No one tells a child that your mother isn't supposed to kill your father with the broken edge of a bottle, driving the glass into his neck and chest over and over again."
Captain Barbio, Ekose Freighter Arovolkin: "If we hadn't just unloaded most of our cargo, I probably wouldn't have done it, but something about the violence - the sheer madness of it, you understand, the sudden horror of it all - compelled me to act."
- Chua are equal parts genius, adorable, and insane. In no time at all, they managed to turn their planet into a barren wasteland through reckless industrialization, and only joined the Dominion not because they were their only hope for survival, but because they ran out of resources to build more things with. Eldan only knows how they haven't managed to strip-mine the entire galaxy...
- The Squirg Apocalypse in Whitevale. Though it's visually amusing because the "Zombies" have adorable octopus critters on their heads, Squirg are a parasitic species that latch onto their victims heads and turn them into mindless puppets for their own benefit. And with the mutations from the Terraformer explosion, the Squirgs have become more resilient and are starting to breed like crazy...
- Surprisingly enough this area has a quest even creepier then the fact that there hundreds of Dominion and Exile squirg zombies trying to overwhelm the remaining survivors. Really close to the Eldan transformer you will get quest from an Aurin (there is also a Draken for the Dominion equivalent of this quest) who wants you to find his lover among the chaos. Do you find her mutilated half eaten corpse? No, even worse is that you find her turned into a mutated sludge monster that can still remember who she once was, you lure her over to her Aurin (or Draken) lover and strangely enough this turns into a Creepy Cute love reunion...that is until she rushes the poor Aurin (or Draken) in a hunger craze and eats him before turning into an even stronger monster that tries to escape you to eat more people. Needless to say, you lay this poor couple to rest.
- Farside's Squirg apocalypse was even creepier, you wander into a abandoned Dominion Scientist expedition that found a huge Eldan Facility. The Logs you find make it clear that something AWFUL happened here but yet there is no bodies or even signs of struggle in the site. You trek through a really dark ridge full of Creepy Cute aliens and Flying PIRANHAS out of all things, you then find a lone Squirg that leads you through the chasm and into the looming Eldan facility. What do you find on the other end? Thousands of Squirg zombies that were clearly the Dominion expedition and Squirg eggs everywhere with still working Eldan constructs on the higher levels. Turns out this facility was controlled by a malicious Eldan named Nazrek whom created the first brain-sucking variant of Squirg and that apparently this facility was a huge factory of them.
- In one of the Class Streams hosted by the devs you briefly see Squirg of the above mentioned apocalyspe that have mutated a Granok and Draken into stronger zombies. These zombies can vomit ink at you and their is some indication the Squirg's victim might still be alive just in a feral state. Think about it
- They are. Squirg feed off of brainwaves, turning their victims into hosts to search for new victims, and getting rid of threats.
- The death of Elderroot. It dies screaming.
- Augmentation. The process is basically becoming a mindless, cyborg slave to the Eldan, with robotic attachments where limbs and organs used to be. Based off a cutscene in Algoroc, the process takes mere seconds and works on damn near anything.
- Recombination is even worse. An inferior off-shoot of Augmentation spurned by jealousy, it forgoes the clean and efficient injection of omni-plasm for violently ripping off a subjects limbs and organs and replacing them with robotic substitutes. The creator notes that few survive, and that the trauma is so severe they are rendered pretty much useless, and still calls it a resounding success... not to mention the horrific side-effects. That exo-site was shut down for a very good reason.
- The Shiphand "Outpost M-13." Imagine being a miner then, watching as your friends and coworkers are slowly infected with a horrific mind-controlling parasite using you as hosts to birth its children...
- Grimhold. What used to be the Mordesh district of Thayd is now a desolate, poisonous hell-hole. These were citizens turned into Ravenous because of the Dominion's intercepting a shipment of precious Vitalus. Imagine just going about your day-to-day life then suddenly turning into a mindless cannibal, or worse, getting eaten by one. And chances are, you knew the person chomping at your brains.
- There is a small town at the very back of Grimhold that has many survivors, mostly non Mordesh. An event that happens at the game's night cycle has the Ravenous try to break in and eat everyone inside. I want to point out these are Aurin, Humans, and Granok with no weapons to defend themselves while the Ravenous are seen using hammers.
- They make off-hand comments about their worries that Mayor Hamhorn is not spending enough on security. The security of District Falls? Broken turrets near Mayor Hamhorn, way in the back of town where about 1/4 of the citizens are, that need to be repaired by Scientists for 20-30 seconds of operation; gates that need to be manually closed by the player and boarded up (and they can't be closed or reinforced if the Ravenous are attacking.) Without enough competent players as hired security guards, District Falls is screwed.
- You also have to wonder: why can't they leave District Falls?! Thayd has friggin' tanks guarding the entrances connecting to the town, alongside barbed wire, District Falls gets Mayor Hamhorn's VERY limited resources; what the hell, government?!
- The fate of the Stormseeker Village. Poisoned by a greedy, xenophobic member of the Vigilant Church, one the most tolerant, open, and moralistic organizations of the Dominion, with food and medical supplies, no less. And you're the one who delivers it. You hung out with these people. You played with their children. You helped them with their day-to-day lives. And unintentionally, you are their doom. It's a small consolation that those responsible are swiftly punished.
- It also really, really needs to be repeated: the place is full of children.
- And then you have to kill the remaining Stormseeker Pell. Can you really blame them, though?
- When the Caretaker suddenly glitches out during his speech in the Adventures Flick, it is honestly terrifying.
- To elaborate the Caretaker is shown to be a Eldan Construct that watches over all Eldan facilities. His green personality that speaks in the same monotone and has threatening gleam in his eyes is creepy enough but the red one takes it to a new level by being absolutely bloodthirsty and insane all the while he shows no restraint in trying to kill you in the most gruesomely creative way possible.
- The Osun's Soulrot potion that is used to completely destroy the will of it whomever receives it and makes them entirely obedient to the Osun, going so far as to kill without restraint if ordered to do so. The Osun creates a huge slave population consisting of Dominion and Exile forces at Galeras, Wilderrun, and Auroria. This is not even getting into the Osun themselves as they are a old giant warring race that can create some of the most powerful weapons on Nexus, even reaching up to to the Eldan.
- A Soldier SWAT mission in Galeras has you shooting Soulrotted Slaves with an experimental cure. They either thank you for the brief moment of clarity and sadly declare that it is too late for them, or frantically scream at you to run, all is lost, especially themselves, then go right back to trying to kill you.
- The Strain. The Strain is an intelligent hive mind of horrifically mutated creatures who are created from living or dying organisms, who seek to "perfect" all life on Nexus controlled by a unseen being named The Entity. Their idea of perfection? Horrible purple carapaces, eyes, and sharp mouths of fangs where they really shouldn't belong, and special abilities powered by the Bio-Phage, a virus use to spread to other living organisms. This is what killed the Eldan and it's coming after you.
- Oh, did we not mention the Techno-Phage? Not even MACHINES are safe from infection; entire ELDAN FACILITIES and their constructs are infected and under their control.
- Your first encounter with the Strain is similar to the original Dead Space necromorph infestation on the Ishimura. To put it in perspetive The Strain manages to contaminate a ship directly in space by sneaking into a cargo shipment that the ship was transporting (this is the Deep Space Shiphand mission, not the M-13 Termite infestation space station one that resembled a Xenomorphs infestation) and starts to systematically kill the crew by attacking them threw the vent system to infect there bodies into violent and downright disturbing mutations all the while the ships hull is continually being torn open by debris. This suggests that the Strain is smart enough to realize that if it takes over Nexus that it has the capabilities of infecting other planets as well.
- The first encounter is in Wilderrun, actually. The muck monsters there have the generic black design, not the unique Strain purple and yellow pustules skin.
- Pay attention to the creatures that pop out of the vents during that shiphand before the Sludge monsters show up. Those creatures are a form of Strain that are also seen in Wilderrun. The disturbing part is they are shown to be capable of actually bursting out of infected humans Xenomorph style.
- How about the Genetic Archives raid? The Genetic Archives is a huge Eldan facility full of dangerous experiments that has been ENTIRELY infected by the Strain.
- What makes the above worse is that some of the infected escaped and subdued the entirety of Grimvault (A zone that used to be a Eldan Containment Facility of some of the worst creatures you can find on Nexus.) It was designed with an indestructible wall of pure Exanite, with Exanite cannons to blast them into non-existence, until the Strain used said cannons to blow up the walls and break free.
- Anyone living infected with the Strain will feel the ENTIRE transformation and near the end of it forget everything but their insatiable need to kill.
- What makes it worse? You find out that one of the Eldan themselves created the Strain in a fit of madness after the Eldan created Drusera, an Eldan created god. And this was Vorion, one of the most calm and collected of the Eldan. Sure, his Augmentation process was pretty questionable in the first place but he never really went crazy with it until he evolved it into the Bio-Phage.
- The Strain shot down a huge Exile ship named the Widowmaker in Grimvault. This ship was full of soldiers and what looks to be civilians in cyrostatis. They all end-up infected. Most of these Strain were living people driven mad, still capable of using weapons' such as guns, claws, and resonators. The Dominion did not have it any easy either, as there are various infected Cassians, Chua and Draken wandering around in certain parts of Grimvault. Southern Grimvault is a Warzone with both factions suffering heavy losses.
- The Skurge, a highly advanced, very intelligent evolution of the Strain, who are very capable of killing and infecting entire areas of well trained soldiers or warriors. They can corrupt entire landscapes and organisms without even touching them.
- The worst part about the Skurge? The Skurge was created from Primal Patterns taken from YOU!
- Let's elaborate on this part a little bit. Prior to the optional quest where you find out the above spoiler, you've probably been killing Strain-afflicted people and creatures in a lush, overgrown zone, so the contrast betweeen "normal" and "Strain-ified" is really damn clear. You head to your capital city to head to the next zone, suitably creeped out, and your datachron rings. On the other end, there's only a static image - unheard of prior to this - and a creepy voice mentioning it's opened a portal for you to "come visit" since Drusera hasn't told you everything. Upon stepping through, you're inside an Eldan facilty. One so corrupted and overgrown with the Strain that the only indication it was an Eldan facility are the doors, and hundreds of little insectoid Strain skittering around. They are nothing but mouths on legs and an eyeball on a stalk. They move to watch you and keep a small ring around you. And they talk. Oh, do they talk, taunting you, demanding you give in, claiming " Drusera lies". As you continue through the area, the mysterious voice calls you several times, siccing Strain beasts on you, copies of your enemies, and a Strain replica of your faction's general - fortunately, not the real one. Each time you progress, the voice calls you, claiming that it finds you fascinating, complementing you, and adding that if maybe you finish all the tests, you can leave alive. One of those tests, specifically the one against your enemies, is to temporarily infect you with the Strain, giving you new, more powerful abilities to use against them. The very last part has the voice reveal itself as the Entity, a creature created when Drusera was, and every bit as powerful as she and FAR more twisted, and then ask you to stand in a certain location after which you can leave. Upon doing so, the Entity makes a Strain copy of you, and dismisses you as no longer useful, setting the copy to kill you. You defeat it... and the Entity laughs, thanks you for the final piece of the puzzle, and creates the Skurge from the replica of you and the combat data you just gave it. At this point Drusera appears and creates a shield around you as you walk your way to the exit portal - and it's a good thing too, because the Skurge, who until this point have been standing inanimate, walk after you. SLOWLY. They will win. They know it. And they want you to know it too.
- In one of the last areas in Grimvault you find Vorion's own facility, untouched albeit filled with aggressive augmented creatures. Do you think you might find Vorion alive and with his head set straight? You are dead wrong, Vorian's facility has no Eldan constructs on the outside maintaining the structures (In fact the only construct you see is a massive Strain infected World Destroyer) so the facility itself ends up in disrepair with the augmented creatures running amok destroying it and killing anything that tries to explore the facility.
- The inner parts of the facility, the Phagelabs, are even worse. It's quite clear this where the Strain started by the Datacubes you acquire here. One part of the facility is filled with all the Strain infected constructs that are shown capturing any living thing they can to turn into more Strain (you even find some Lopp, Ikthians, and Torine Sisters in here) and at the end of it you encounter a physical projection of the Entity himself. The other part of the facility is even more unpleasant. This area has a huge war between Vorion's own creations, the Strain and his remaining unaffected Eldan constructs are seen tearing each other to pieces in here. Later on you actually find Vorion...but it turns out the first Eldan you ever see, probably one of the only Eldan you expected to survive has lost it completely and is hellbent on infecting everything'.
- In the Ascendancy area of Whitevale, you can find Belle Walker being augmented. You can watch her screaming in pain, begging, and crying for help.
- Love Letter to the Queen. This is a love letter made for the Queen Myala Everstar by a Mordesh.
- While hilarious, the Honey Expedition Distress Call◊ is also terrifying, in that these Chuas met their unfortunate end by bees the size of shuttles, or are stung to death by thousands of smaller ones. They never saw it coming.
- Black Bret's Demands.◊ Talk about Mood Whiplash.
- Nazrek, Nazrek, Nazrek. Aside from his interactions with his co-workers showing him a somewhat disagreeable person, he's also responsible for the stemdragons, the necromantic capabilities of the Moodies, the Dreg (by accident; they were failed prototypes), the squirg, and numerous other horrors on Nexus.
- The Caretaker's Augmented Clone Army in Celestion. If the player hadn't been there to stop him, they could have very well taken over Nexus.
- The Digstone Excavation in Galeras. The moment you enter the camp, you notice something is VERY off with the people there. They've all been brainwashed by a form of Augmentation so subtle you never realize you've been changed until it's too late.
- The Hycrest Plague. Imagine a new, incurable disease sweeping through an entire province, doubling to tripling its infected with each passing day. Then there's Alchemist Pontinia's bemoaning the fact that she has to let it ravage the Lowborn and quarantine the Highborn only if she stands any real chance of curing it.
- Testing the cures to the Peasant Pox. The first mutates into a horrible monster, the second explodes, the third is cured.
- After passing the Torine Trials, Tresayne Toria says that though the player is now technically granted access to the Everpool, the gates must remain shut as a terrible evil threatens to corrupt it. What evil, you ask? A messenger comes running, but collapses on the ground, dead, before she can relay her message. Then she rises up, horrifically mutated by the Bio-Phage, ''screeches at the screen'' and claws at Dorian Walker and Artemis Zin before dieing for real. The horrified looks on both Explorers faces tells you all you need to know—and these two have seen some things.
- The Farside Shiphand, "Space Madness." A research station is under lockdown because of a hallucinogenic chemical leak, and there are still personnel trapped inside. Your character must go inside and activate the air scrubbers, and free whoever is still alive in there. Horrific hallucinations fully capable of killing you abound whether or not you have inhaled too much of the gas...
- To wit, at 100-90 Sanity the entire station is completely devoid of any other people or monsters, aside from the hallucinations of the survivors you have to rescue for that phase. As your character inhales more and more of the gas, horrific nightmares appear like violently insane crewmen, nightmarish beasts, and sentient, angry lamps. The worst part? The moment your character clears their head from the oxygen tanks, they all disappear. None of it is real, and yet you can still die...
- Then there's the holdout in the finale. As your character's hazmat suit has been breached by the air scrubbers, you suffer progressively nightmarish hallucinations until you are fighting flaming demonspawn in a hellish inferno. This troper was amused by the "insanity" effects until that happened.
- Datacube Entry: Protocol Deterioration, in Whitevale. It's a horrible contrast between the normal calm, analytical datacubes. There is something very, very wrong about hearing an Eldan in complete terror.
- The datacube in the level 45 World Story Quest detailing the Eldan's attempts to destroy the Entity. Especially when it breaks free...
- To wit: It starts off with Xarophet preparing to launch the Primal Disintegrator at the Entity, including a countdown to zero, upon which the Entity manages to break free of sedation and proceeds to attack Xarophet. The narration transitions into a series of bloodcurdling, drawn-out screams and pleas as Xarophet is corrupted. The transmition is then promptly cut off.
Xarophet: "Oh no. Subject has broken lose! Defense protocols breached— Aaaaagh! Noooooo! Please, no! Nooooooooo!!"
- The fate of the Eldan. Hunted down by an Eldritch Abomination or horribly mutated into one of its puppets. Just looking at Ohmna and what she has become is equal parts terrifying and sad.
- The player character's first meeting with The Entity after going through a new portal. Special mention goes to the HUNDREDS of small strain creatures who cluster around you but keep just out of reach, saying things such as "Drusera lies", and "You cannot win". You can hear their feet clicking on the floor as they scurry about. It's incredibly creepy. There is also faction-specific dialogue.
Strain Creature: Poor, pathetic little rebel. Always trying to escape the big bad Dominion. Are you not tired of running, human?
Cowardly Aurin, how did it feel to watch your homeworld burn, as you ran, tail between your legs?
We admire you, Draken. You remind us of some of our Strain—strong, fast, and deadly. Yet you choose to shackle yourself to the Dominion. Does that not make you prey?
Why do you serve the Dominion, Mechari? You were designed to be a superior creation and yet here you are, clinging to directives from masters long gone.
Foolish Cassian, how happy you are to play the pawn! Don't you know your Eldan masters created your precious empire to control you?
- In Whitevale, a Lopp Krug farmer has you catch some veggies for him. You know, those adorable, delicious vegetables that hop away from you pleading for their lives, screaming in terror and crying out to their families.
- Discovering that Drusera and the Entity are sharing the same body. The report appropriately reflects the shock, the outrage, and the sheer paranoia.
- The Doctor Rose arc finally closes with the Defile. For those curious, it begins in Farside, as Dr. Rose is the last survivor of the Squirg outbreak. She has a desperate, unnerving final log, and is slated for capture for questioning. It continues to Grimvault, where the player can try to open her found cryopod but receive a frantic warning not to open it as whatever's inside is too dangerous. Finally, she gets jettisoned into the Defile, wakes up from cryo-sleep, and you proceed to track her down, finding creepy audio logs, blood, hostile animals, and increasingly unnerving surroundings. This all culminates to the big, shocking discovery: she was impregnated with Squirg.