Whether you’re swinging your fists or your genitalia, you’re in for a treat.
Game: Conan Exiles
Reviewed on: PS4 (Review Code Provided)
I’ll start this review by telling you exactly what you are all here to read. Yes, you can play this game with a completely naked character, start to finish if you so do chose. Jiggle physics included? You bet’cha. Now onto serious stuff. Conan Exiles is in fact a very fun game to play with a fully clothed character too. I am around 6 hours into exploring and crafting and let me tell you, it’s been a rollercoaster of emotions. From exploring baron deserts and not seeing a single soul to finding myself in a lush forest environment suddenly surrounded by other exiles and what can only be described as giant turtles who were definitely not happy with me snacking down on their eggs for my dinner.
When you first start up the game you are given the choice to play either online or offline, depending on your game style. I myself for this review opted with single player offline mode but if you’d rather have other people included in your game, that is also an option. There is a cool feature included in game to make a clan with fellow team mates so if you do find yourself overrun with enemies, there is also that backup. You are also asked to pick between 3 set difficulty levels, your usual easy normal and hard. They’ve been named as ‘Civilised, Decadent or Barbaric’ and there is also a custom difficulty option if you want to make your own rules within your own server.
The character creation was actually a lot more in-depth than I first imagined it to be. You have your usual slider menu’s but later on down the creation line you can sculpt your characters face with options such as ‘width, height, scale, angles and thickness’ which for a game which is fresh out of early access, it’s a pleasant surprise to be gifted with plenty of options when it comes to making your own digital self. Also you can pick and choose the size of your junk with often very funny results so, what more could you ask for?
Gameplay wise it plays well. The frame rate for the most part holds up pretty well, occasionally dropping when you are respawning or when there are too many characters on screen at the same time. The controls are very simple, like your usual RPG type of controls. R3 to sprint, X to jump, R1, R2, L2 are all attacks and L1 brings up your inventory in a quick and easily accessed weapon wheel kind of fashion. This is very helpful considering the game itself doesn’t actually pause while you are playing. Like I mentioned before you can play either online or offline. Be wary though, I played offline and still the game does not pause, whether you’re on the ‘pause’ menu or venturing through your inventory. Just a heads up! You’re never safe in this game while you’re playing but hey, I suppose that’s what makes it a survival game eh? As soon as you’re done with creating your character you are thrown straight into the game and off on your own adventure. Be wary of stamina as you might find yourself running/rolling around a lot to dodge danger. (I am sorry to my character for giving you such giant breasts, that probably doesn’t help with your stamina.)
Going back to the menu system, it’s very easy to navigate. You have a basic inventory, like most games do now a days in which you can upgrade weapons, craft new weapons and clothes for your character and even craft bed rolls. Even the most barbaric exile needs to take a nap every now and then. You can also access the world map via the inventory menu by simply using the trigger buttons on the controller. The frame rate does struggle when accessing the map but I’m playing this game week 1 so hopefully that’ll be an issue that will be patched later on down the line. It doesn’t take away from the actual game itself so it’s a minor inconvenience at most.
Sound design within this game is once again a pleasant surprise. The sounds are responsive to what is happening on screen, for example, you’re walking on sand, you can hear each footstep your character is making. You’re out for a swim, each splash has been included. You enter a jungle area of the map, you can hear as your character pushes aside leaves and twigs. I say this is all a pleasant surprise, you might just expect this from a game anyway but for a game which I’ve mentioned above is fresh out of early access, the small attentions to detail are welcomed and noted by me the player. Occasionally music will chime in which is again a welcome treat. I find having a constant OST in a video game can be quite distracting takes you out of the moment a little too much so to have music playing every now and again is ideal.
Next I’ll go onto the fundamental designs of the game itself. The fighting system is very standard, nothing fancy and easily remembered. You use R3 to lock onto enemies and in doing so you are able to cycle between enemies using the right analog stick if there are more than 1 enemy on screen at a time. Your character also levels up while you are playing the game. When you level up you earn a skill point which can be spent on the attributes tree which is included in the inventory menu system. You have 7 options to pick from here, those being
Choosing which options to pick are completely down to the player and can change the way the game plays out. If you want to be a strong exile who can take down anyone who stands in their way, you’d spend all your points on strength. If surviving is more your cup of tea and not fighting every living thing you see, survival is your best friend.
Crafting! Oh the joy of crafting. It’s not all about just making yourself some clothes and sleeping outside every night. No no, it’s about making your own empire and having people to rule over! Or it’s about making yourself a little settlement so you don’t have to sleep outside every single night. The choice is yours. Additionally, crafting items and alone won’t help you survive in the long haul. As the name suggests, The Exiled Lands are not the friendliest of places to be and it isn’t just other humans and wildlife that threaten your very existence. The weather can be a killer too, ranging from snow storms to sand storms, everything in this game is out to get you, but again, it wouldn’t be survival game otherwise! Also it’s pretty handy having your own shelter for hiding and storing your stash. There’s only so much raw hide you can carry so why not leave it at home while you go exploring? Depending on how you’re playing and what server you’re on, structures can be made to be invincible or non accessible to other players, but again that’s all depending on how you’re playing the game.
Overall, Conan Exiles is a fun game to play. I think what would have made it just that tad more fun for me personally was if I was playing online and with other people. When you’re playing alone the world itself feels a little empty as you go up against AI enemies, which often don’t really pose much of a threat. I think the real fun would be with the uncertainty of co-op mode. Are fellow players stalking and following your every single move and getting ready to attack your clan? Who knows, but the uncertainty can sometimes be fun and It’s what truly makes this game a survival game. Playing the game a couple of days after launch, I didn’t encounter any game breaking flaws. Like I have mentioned above, the frame rate was sometimes a little slow but nothing which made the game unplayable for me. Conan Exiles is a game which I would recommend if the survival genre is your preference, maybe not so much if you like jumping into a game with armour and weapons instantly handed to you because I can promise you, you start this game with nothing, well maybe just a silly little grin from seeing your character spring around completely naked, but other than that, nothing. Happy hunting!