KURSK Review

PC/ Narrative-driven first person adventure


Developed and Published by Jujubee S.A.

The Basics

In KURSK, the player assumes the role of an American clandestine agent tasked with infiltrating the titular Russian nuclear submarine, which is suspected of having prototype torpedoes with potentially devastating ramifactions on worldwide power dynamics. Your arsenal consists of highly advanced (for the year 2000) spy technology and the power of  English subtitles. 

During the mission, you will interact with the crewmen and officers who populate the vessel, chatting and performing tasks or maintenance in order to progress the plot. Strangely enough, few, if any, of the people you interact with have the slightest inclination that you might not be who you say you are, resulting in few circumstances where your fake identity gets questioned. Feel free to go into anyone's private quarters or office space and rifle through their personal correspondence and collectible flags, seeing as how no one seems to care or notice. In a lot of ways, KURSK often acts more as a playable movie than a game

Due to the way the player character controls and interacts with the environment, I found simple movement to be relatively difficult and slightly disorienting, especially when transitioning through bulkheads and stairways; movement speed is thankfully quick outside of these instances.

Story & Flow

Taking a strange approach, KURSK is based on a real story from 18 years ago, where a Russian submarine experienced a catastrophe and sank, and her entire crew was lost. As such, the plot is sort of similar to a documentary in how it attempts to recreate the time period and relate the fictional elements to actual events. The pace is determined solely by how much time you spend exploring. Since it is a Russian-centric tale, the vast majority of characters are Slavic, with only the player character and a select few others speaking in English.

The protagonist (who as far as I can discern is unnamed) is quite limited in terms of spy stuff, being equipped with a monochromatic PDA to organize mission tasks and other pertinent information. The most high-tech items at your disposal are a lockpicking gadget and a mini-camera. Social engineering is the primary method for progressing the story, meaning you will be doing a lot of talking with a lot of people.

Graphics & Sound

While the enormous attention to detail for the environments is admirable, some other aspects are lacking, specifically characters and sound mixing. People regularly fail to face you when speaking, and generally look janky, but at least they have decent animations when performing actions. Doing things like picking up objects or operating mechanisms sometimes seems to be missing sounds partially or entirely, leaving strange gaps of silence.


KURSK is unique. Perhaps too unique. It doesn't have much in the way of gameplay and lacks meaningful decision making for large swaths of time. What it offers is a particular eastern European perspective in telling a story. I would not recommend this to the average enthusiast that wants interesting game mechanics. KURSK is really for those who just enjoy a good story, as the game can almost feel like more of an interactive novel than a true "game".

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