Sker Ritual

Sker Ritual

FMV developer Wales Interactive is trying its hands with something new with this zombie horde shooter that has now debuted in its 1.0 state.

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Known for helping to put the once dormant FMV genre back on the map, indie developer Wales Interactive changed its course in 2020 with the launch of Maid of Sker. Steeped in Welsh folklore, this first-person horror featured a chilling plot from writing talent and designers behind SOMA, Battlefield 1, and Don't Knock Twice.

Two years after its launch, Wales Interactive returned to this universe with a spiritual successor that differs heavily from its stealth-focused predecessor. Sker Ritual instead has more in common with Call of Duty Zombies, as it's an intense survival FPS where players must gun down increasingly more aggressive waves of the undead. The game launched in Steam Early Access in 2022 and has now made its way over to PS5 and Xbox Series.

Sker Ritual

Sker Ritual has four maps that players can tackle either solo or in co-op in a group of up to four players. Each of these acts like a mini-campaign, with you having to solve puzzles and complete a series of objectives whilst keeping the zombie hordes off your back. Although the map selection is admittedly limited, I found each to feel distinctive and their environments featured many hidden interlinking pathways that I could spend my money on unlocking.

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The gunplay here is snappy and precise and there is a variety of weapons you can use in dispatching your foes from simple crossbows and double barrel-shotguns to special weapons such as a rifle that can fire lightning bolts. The hordes will keep you on your toes too, as you'll find a mix of foes from ranged attackers to more melee focused enemies. Some will toss fireballs at you from afar, others will turn invisible to try and deceive you, and of course, you'll get your usual zombie-like enemies that will strike you up close.

Just like the aforementioned Call of Duty Zombies, your foes will become increasingly challenging the further time goes on. To help prepare you for this mounting threat, you can purchase new weapons from vendors, buy a wealth of core upgrades, and equip unlockable perks known as miracles. These miracles grant special buffs to your character and you are presented with three random options every time you level up. Luckily, Sker Ritual also gives you the chance to refresh your perks in case you want to vary up your strategy.

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After you've completed a map, you'll earn XP and once you level up you can unlock new cosmetics and an in-game currency known as blood droplets. These blood droplets can be spent purchasing permanent upgrades to your character's health, movement speed, and rate of fear. Levelling up your character will enable you to take on even more challenging difficulties in the game, which will see your skills really pushed to the test. The cosmetics are pretty fun too, with them including equipable masks, player icons, and different menu music.

As I played the game before launch, I experienced the game solo and can't comment on its matchmaking or online performance. What I will say though is that the game is perfectly playable in single player, but I can see why teaming up with a couple of friends would be the preferred option. When braving it alone even in beginner mode, it was annoying to have to continually pause when solving a puzzle to make sure I kept the zombies off my back. With a group to back me up, we could have split duties, with some members being dedicated to crowd control and others to completing objectives.

Sker Ritual might mark a bold departure from its predecessor, but it's still a solid hoard shooter that is certain to impress Call of Duty Zombies fans. The gunplay is snappy, the weapon selection is diverse, and the variety of upgrades that you can equip to your character keeps each run feeling fresh. That said, the map selection is on the shorter side, so we're hoping developer Wales Interactive can bulk out its roster in the coming months.

07 Gamereactor UK
7 / 10
The core gameplay loop is entertaining. Gunplay is snappy. There are a wealth of upgrades to modify your character in different ways.
Map selection is short. Single player can feel overwhelming.
overall score
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REVIEW. Written by Kieran Harris

FMV developer Wales Interactive is trying its hands with something new with this zombie horde shooter that has now debuted in its 1.0 state.

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