Desolate PC Review with Stream
Tutorial too long
Not always clear where to go
Open world survival games have been on the rise for the past few years, with games like Fallout 3 and 4, and ARK leading the pack on this newest push for that genre. Following this theme, Desolate puts you into a dystopian future set in Russia. In this new world you will have to deal with food and water of course, but also crazy humans and mutated monstrosities that just see you as food. You are a “volunteer” and have been dispatched the island of Granichny to find out the cause of the mysterious disaster of two years ago that turned the island into a supernatural hellscape.
You are immediately thrown into the action with very little hint as to what is going on, which as a narrative beginning I think is pretty great. There are a few people trying to help you along and get out of the facility you are in, but its vague enough to keep you guessing, and leaves a lot of very interesting set pieces along the way as you escape to really set your sense of wonderment into overdrive. It’s not enough to know that mutants are coming after you, I want to WHY they are coming after me, what their motivation? The first “level” is really just a tutorial area, but it’s not stuffing info down your throat like other games might. It just has some guides here and there and subtle button context menus that don’t distract from the ongoing action which is a nice change of pace.
Once you exit the facility you now have access to the open map of the outside, and its aesthetically similar to Metro: Last Light, with is grimy, dirty, yet dystopian environment, but with some supernatural backgrounds and monsters right out of your worst nightmares. It doesn’t hold your hand and tell you exactly how to get anywhere, thought it does have a beacon that you generally can find, but it might take some thought on how to get there without dying. The monsters you meet along the way all have some kind of normal base animal, like a deer, but in this case they seem to be a demonic version of every normal forest critter. I do wish there were more of them, or at least a higher density as I didn’t see as many as I was expecting. I did run into raiders and other homicidal humans, which is always a nice stress relief as I kill them and take their stuff.
Like any other survival games, item, water, food, and health management are paramount and can’t be forgotten even for a second. You start off with enough to get along for a while, but as soon as you get complacent you will realize you don’t have any clean water to drink, and you’re going to have a bad time. To help you survive, you have blueprints that let you combine your weapons and items into interesting combinations and they will absolutely come in handy. I do wish that I didn’t need the blueprints, or that I could try combining stuff by random and then generate the blueprint I need, but I understand why its setup like it is.
Desolate seems to be very solid, and it has enough mystery and story drive to keep you wanting to find stuff, and it keeps you interested the whole time. It doesn’t have the best graphics, or the best weapons, but these are a matter of polish that can be added over time, but the gameplay is fun and the story subtle enough to keep you coming back for more.