Multiplayer Survival games on consoles are on the come up, with the likes of Battlegrounds and The Darwin Project hitting the Xbox One, gamers will have some nice options to choose from.
Ever since seeing The Darwin Project present its debut trailer during Microsoft’s Press event, we knew we wanted to see more. The video showcased a player battling for survival in an arena that was clearly set in some sort of Hunger Games styled environment with an overly energetic caster commentating the action. There was a different feel compared to its closest competitor Battlegrounds as it seems to take place in a setting where players were actually being watched and cheered on from afar within the game.
At the Xbox booth at E3 we got a chance to get some one on one time with The Darwin Project and the game provided some of the most memorable game experiences yet. What we are about to describe is from our initial experience of the game, and we were only allowed to play in one match so there are bound to be other elements and aspects that we didn’t get to explore. Expect a more in depth review when we actually get our hands on a preview copy of the game.
We were spawned into a world where you have nothing but the clothes on your back, an ax, and a bow. The match we were playing in had seven players but we were told the game supports up to 32 at a time. Your survival from then on is directly tied to how you prepare, plan and execute that plan. Crafting is at the heart of the game as the equipment that you need to survive, and to give you an advantage in the arena, must be made from materials in the environment. There are various materials within the game which you can collect in order to ensure your survival which include wood, leather and electronics. Wood, which is collected by chopping down small trees is used to make arrows and fire to keep yourself warm. If you fail to keep yourself warm your temperature meter will drop and you will start to take on damage. The interesting element to that is when you make a fire to warm yourself you will essentially give up your position as billows of smoke will rise and are visible to everyone in the area. Leather can help you make clothing, more specifically shoes that can give you speed bonuses. Electronics can be used to build a cloaking device but there is only one of these on the map at a time.
The map was split up into seven sectors which you can freely travel between as you collect materials, all the while looking over your shoulder because at any time someone can attack you. As the game progresses those sectors will shut down and start to close off, all the while filtering all players together. There was emphasis on ensuring players stay ready for battle and don’t just sit and hide the entire game as fires needed for warmth can give away your position and when you take damage you start to bleed out and that leaves trails that can be tracked by players.
In this particular match that we were playing in, we survived to be one the last two players as the match got more intense. That final sector of the arena we were in was designed for this moment, deep snow impeded movement and there was no room to hide as they set us up for a true final fight to the death. It was clear the guy we were playing against didn’t have any arrows as he charged with a melee weapon and landed a few solid hits. With 3 arrows by our side the only way we were going to survive was to get some space between us. After climbing up on a roof of a small shack we were able to nail the guy with 2 arrows but missed with the third. With our health now nearly identical and no way to collect the arrows we shot, it was a now or never moment. We jumped down, charged the guy and in a desperate attempt swung our weapon at him with grand results. VICTORY!
The Darwin Project gave us a truly memorable gaming experience in the short time we had with the game, so we can’t imagine how good the game can be once it finally releases, especially considering they started development only last September. With Battlegrounds also releasing on the Xbox One, it is important that The Darwin Project sets itself apart. With the game’s third party perspective and its own unique strategic elements and art direction, it looks as if the guys at Scavenger Studios have found themselves a hit. The Darwin Project is set to release on Xbox One and Windows 10 and is currently in closed alpha testing. Expect more information on this game in the near future.