Well, here we find ourselves again. ANOTHER survival sandbox game in early access. I swore to myself I wouldn’t do this again, but after watching a lot of gameplay, I decided that I needed to see this game for myself. So here we are, Alberich the nord was born. I found myself hung from a cross. Each player in the game has been exiled into the desert and crucified. I appreciate that on a level I can’t explain. Most of these games, you wake up on the coast without any idea of how or where you are. This game immediately points you towards where you “can” survive. That is the last kindness it offers, but more on that in a moment.
The character creation in this game is surprisingly in-depth for how simplified it is. There are several races to choose from, all boasting of some advantage they bring to the table. Beyond races, there are also religions to choose from, which are surprisingly fleshed out at this stage of the game. I have only had the chance to play with two of the religions: Yog, and Set. But each religion bring specific bonuses to you, and to any group you join.They all seem necessary for overall survival. This brings me to downside of the character creation screen. Because of how simplified the process is at the moment, most every you meet looks fairly similar. Also, the only thing you really have the ability to customize are secondary things such as breast size or penis length. I am hoping with more development, this becomes a much more detailed process.
I find it hard to talk about the current gameplay I have experienced without comparing it to other games in the genre. So I am gonna break it down by the numbers: Overall Gameplay: Holy shit, this game is an amazing blend of enjoyable and insanely frustrating. Aggro range of combatants in this game is seemingly miles. This has taught me a very important lesson. Making eye contact with a rhino is a terrible idea. My only other issue with the current gameplay design is there are no indicators that your character is hungry or thirsty besides the meters. I hope in time that they add audio cues to allow you more insight in the status of your character. As it stand now, they do not object to being hungry or thirsty until they are actively dying. And that death happens quickly.
As to the graphics: This game is beautiful. They took the unreal engine and used it better than anyone else is currently doing in the survival genre. I’m looking at you, ARK. They seem to have spent time on optimizing the graphics so there are almost no frame drops at maximum settings on my 980ti. Other games, again, looking at you ark, cannot make this same claim. Also, we need to touch on the sand. Holy shit, you guys, the sand. The wind blows, and it kicks up. Animals and players tracks can be followed in the desert. It seems to get everywhere. Sand in this game is amazing, just magic.
Crafting: There isn’t a lot to say on this. The crafting in the game is very well done already at this stage. It forces teamwork as you cannot learn every engram yourself. So everyone has to figure out jobs. Each crafting station has to be fueled, or have materials on it, so people have to take ownership of keeping their station stocked.
Combat: This will change quite a bit as the game develops I would expect. Right now, combat is a little wonky as is to be expected when diving into early access titles. there are evasion abilities which sometimes work, the shields do next to nothing, and the lower tier swords do little more than to drain your stamina rapidly. Anything pre-iron weapons is awful. You will have a bad time. Archery is also a bit challenging at the moment and really you’re better off not even making a bow until you learn the second recipe which is actually significantly better as of the latest patch. But even then, only if you are set and have poison arrows. The beginning of the game is a rough playthrough. You will die… often. Be prepared for that should you decide to buy this game now.
On to Building:This is some rust level shit, right here. The ability to build and what you can create building wise is amazing. even the starter sandstone structures are strong and iirc, require steel weapons to knock down. Placement is simple, and intuitive. This entire system, as it currently exists, was very well thought out. I would openly suggest building each floor two walls high as a standard wall only gives you a feeling of a five foot ceiling. My first house was very cramped because of this. Overall this is one of the best alphas I have ever played. Especially considering this is a launch title, it has no where to go but up and is showing near limitless potential. The only real issue they had was server instability with ping perfect. They dropped that provider in the first week, and I haven’t found a laggy server since. For something lacking polish, it is exceedingly well polished. If you enjoy survival games, I would very much suggest trying this out.