So here’s the deal.
The game has a tutorial that you access from the main menu. You follow a path through a level and every now and then there’s a stone tablet with some instructions on it. You learn to swing your weapon, dodge, block, the whole stuff. You can die in the tutorial and I did, twice. Each time the game respawns you at the very beginning of the tutorial level. It’s like… why. You have to walk all the way back to where you were but there’s no challenge. One time I died while learning how to sleep in a tent. I spent too many hours sleeping and I either died from hypothermia or thrist, I don’t know, both showed up as Happening. I mean I could have prevented that but it was still stupid, especially since that was 20 meters from the end of the tutorial.
So after that I didn’t exactly have high hopes.
You start out stranded and some NPC carries you back home when you go to sleep. You somehow wake up on the floor next to your bed? That was funny if also alarming. You get to run around the starting town a bit and notice that the graphics don’t look all that hot. Very Unity-y. Ugly character models all around. Oh! You also get to create your own character and the creation of said character leaves a lot to be desired. There are three races, which seem to be Caucasian, African and Asian. They each have 5 or so faces and one of those is pretty. I chose the pretty, vaguely Asian face for my gal.
So you learn that you have a blood debt and have to pay it back in five days. I immediately turned the voices off after that cutscene. It’s not that the voices are super terrible but they only voice half of the text on screen and often times don’t exactly say what is written, so you listen and read and get confused. I just like the world better without the voices, ymmv
I spent the first day just exploring the town. Picked up some quests, checked out all the merchants, looted the whole place empty. There’s a lot of stuff you can pick up. Everything you need to get started, really. I see that as the town being a commune and you can just pick up all the hatchets and machetes and pickaxes you want and need. Then sell them back to the townsfolk for easy profit! Suckers.
The NPC that carried me back home in the beginning said something about a stash I can have that’s somewhere along the south coast/beach. So I decide, you know what, sounds like the easiest thing to make a buck anyone told me, so let’s set out. I bought some bandages, shouldered my axe and off I went. I have to say, this was when the game first shone. You take your first steps outside the safety of the town, your backpack carrying all your prepared meals, the blade of your axe glistening in the sun. It was pretty damn cool.
I tried to go south and stumbled across hyenas. Townsfolk warned me of them, so I was ready. I swung at them and took out two or three. I continued on and found myself on a plain just swarming with the damn beasts. I hacked a couple more down and then decided to take the loot and head back, because I was getting low on health. I wanted to loot one more corpse for its precious hide and that’s what got me. I got bitten to pieces by a hyena.
Now, the game doesn’t just end with your death. You don’t die right away, some event happens when you pass out. It so happened that I wasn’t found by a traveler and saved, instead I got dragged to a cave by the hyenas. I woke up, there were animal corpses all around. A hyena attacked me. I ran. I made it out of the cave and found myself somewhere in the plains. I searched the horizon for the lighthouse of the town, which is your house and also easy to see. I found it and made it back to town, with three hyenas chasing me.
I healed up and not much time had passed, so I could still make the 5 day debt deadline, I thought. I spent some time fishing, gathering berries and making berry jam. Then selling the berry jam. When I felt ready to go out again (I had picked up a new lucrative quest that I won’t spoil) I went back outside the town walls and was immediately attacked by the three hyenas that had chased me earlier. Like right after the loading screen. That was a real jump scare.
So the next few minutes were spent swinging at them a couple of times, heading back inside the town, healing up, heading back outside and swinging a couple more times, until they were dead. That was so weird! That the game would do that. I sorta respected it though. Also, the corpses of the hyenas never went away in the three hours of play time.
So I managed to complete the lucrative quest and I had enough money to pay back the debt. Well, not all of the debt. Just the four months payment I was due. The actual debt is something you can pay off with a story decision. Or can avoid it completely with another story decision.
Because after this introductory part you can go join one of three factions, that I also won’t spoil. Each of those choices requires you to make a long trek. And that’s where I am right now. I have no clue how I’m supposed to reach any of those three regions, looking at how “far” I’ve made it outside of town. I never did find that stash or the south coast. The overworld is completely littered with hyenas and dudes that want to kill you.
I don’t know how I’m supposed to make it but you can buy fighting lessons in town that give you new skills to use, you can go somewhere to learn magic and you can buy better armor and weapons for the right amount of coin. So what I’ll probably do is make some more jam and sell some more hides. Get all stocked up on medical supplies and food and then attempt a long trek.
It’s… pretty engrossing, actually!
I had fun so far but is the game worth 40 Euros? I’d put my experience more at like 20. The game’s a bit lacking on the technical and attention-to-detail side. The first time I rested on a bedroll I had a torch out and my character just snuggled up with the burning torch next to their face instead of putting it away first. Or the waking up next to the bed. It’s stuff like that. The ugly characters, too. But I feel like the whole could easily be more than the sum of its parts. It’s possible. I can’t entirely tell after three hours. I just hope it’s not going to be too frustratingly difficult. Also, the fact that you have to live with whatever happens to you in the game without the option to go back to a previous state is pretty crippling to me. I don’t know if I’m cut out for that!
But yeah, I’ll play some more.
One note: I could totally see this rocking pretty hard if you play it coop with a friend, because that’s an option. I don’t know how that works with the story, if you’re playing together from the start or what. But yeah, long treks are better embarked on with a friend