REVIEW – If you’re the kind of person that likes the vibe of PvE coop games like left4dead 2 or World War Z, but you’re looking for something more than killing: You’ve come to the right place!
The biggest, best and most famous galactic mining company is hiring! That would be Deep Rock Galactic and only dwarfs need to apply. Space Dwarfs. They are the best miners in the galaxy. We have a choice of four classes in this game: Warrior/soldier, scout, engineer and digger.
The team and the specialists
Every dwarf can mine, that’s a given, so everyone can collect the minerals needed to pass the missions, but every class can do something the others cannot. And these skills and teamwork is essential in high-risk, alien mining operations. The soldier’s weapon is the strongest and has the most ammo. He’s also the only one, who can generate a shield which protects everyone inside for a small period of time, while you can revive your fallen comrade. The scout is the most mobile of all the classes. He/she has the only light source than can be launched and stick to the walls in great distances, which is very handy in the caves underground, where light is scarce. The engineer is the only one, who can build platforms out of thin air, so inaccessible mineral deposits become mineable. He’s the only one as well, who can build defense turrets against the insect-like alien swarms. And last but not least the digger is the one, who can explore caves the fastest, since he does not only have a pickaxe like the others, but two, high-powered hand-held titanium drills as well. As well as a flame thrower and C4.
What do we do?
Dwarfs are industrial fellows with high energy. When they are not mining inside alien planets, they drink beer, dance to music, and upgrade their stuff and cosmetic gear in their headquarters – from where they launch the mining pod to start missions. After starting the game we have a small tutorial, which explains how the movement, mining and fighting works in the game – through the soldier class. That’s the most straightforward probably out of the four. Then we land in HQ and have an interactive map which tells us where we should go on the station to get different things done.
Our characters receive experience points, money and minerals after each mission which they can spend on the aforementioned upgrades, cosmetics and perks. These include such upgrades as getting your shield back faster or stronger melee attacks.
The job – gameplay
This is the strongest part of the game, if you play with friends. As soon as we chose a mission – or join a game where’s still room for us and they are doing a mission that we like – the landing unit is launched and it drills itself deep in the alien planet, so we can start working: mining minerals, lighting up caves and killing giant insects. It’s preferable to have a diverse team class-wise, since that way the members can help each-other the easiest. In some missions this is mandatory, while during others it’s not. In the beginning, during lower hazard missions the enemies are not too strong and not too many. There are four hazard levels, and boy will you feel at home if you like dark, small places and surprise attacks from giant, spider like insects with shark-like teeth! All this while you’re trying to get some valuable minerals from the walls of the caves with your pickaxe or trying to find your way in the cave-system with a holographic, 3D miniature as your map… While this is not a horror game with its vibrant colors and comical characters, you can get pretty tense if you don’t have your friends to communicate with and help you out of a tight spot. However matchmaking is great, you can almost always find and join a team which is doing a mission that you would want to do – still, these strangers are seldom replacements for real life friends and acquaintances and they rarely use the voice chat.
Although you can venture into the caves on your own and attempt missions with nothing but your trusty drone sidekick – I’d only recommend this to hardcore miners.
At the time of writing there’s only three types of missions. There’s the basic one, where we need to collect a given amount of one mineral. In the second, we need to find and recover the equipment (and minerals) of a previous team, who failed and died tragically. The third is called an egg-hunt, where we need to find alien eggs and collect a given amount of those. All the missions have a secondary objective – like gathering another type of plants of some kind. Completing secondary missions will give you bonus money, minerals and experience points.
As our characters progress in the game and we improve our equipment, we will have access to harder and more dangerous missions. The most dangerous ones are called deep dives. These are three missions chained together, with no option to reload at the HQ. You can for resupply drones during missions if you have enough red minerals – but you’ll need good coordination with your teammates to do so.
To access these, extreme missions you’ll need to promote at least one of your characters and that takes at least a dozen hours or so of mining and killing.
This is not a complicated or intricate game, but it’s still good fun with friends. Teamwork is essential to successfully overcome the obstacles during the missions. Graphics is nice, good enough to always have you wonder and stop for a minute when you go into a new ecosystem on the planet. These are distinct regions with their own flora and fauna. All the maps are procedurally generated, so you’ll never walk the same cave twice. Which is good, considering the missions get repetitive pretty fast. Anyone, who doesn’t like monotone grinding will only enjoy this game in smaller bits, or with real life drinking buddies.
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+ Good vibes and community
+ Varied environments
+ Good coop game mechanics
– Gets repetitive pretty fast
– Not enough mission types
– Not the best game to play alone
Publisher: Coffee Stain Publishing
Developer: Ghost Ship Games
Genre: FPS, coop
Release date: 13 May, 2020