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Conan Exiles – First Impressions

The first few hours of Conan Exiles have been an entertaining struggle.

Developer: Funcom
Publisher: Funcom
Entered Early Access: January 31st, 2017
Platforms: PC (Windows) and Xbox One
Platform reviewed on: PC (Windows)

 

Conan Exiles is a survival game that allows you to play alone or co-op without being forced into the multiplayer servers. Perfect for when you want to play by yourself or with a small group of friends. Players take control of a person who was exiled and left for dead after being crucified for various crimes. They are then saved by Conan who mysteriously vanishes and leaves the player alone in the harsh Exiled Lands.

Character creation is significantly more detailed than most survival games and falls more in line with an MMO, which matches the MMO style multiplayer portion of the game. Players have a range of different options to select from when customising their character. While there isn’t a huge range of choice, there’s a nice variety here to keep players occupied for quite some time.

Once you’ve spawned in the world, the first objective is to find water, as you will die from dehydration otherwise. Like many other survival games, there’s no tutorial or explanation on how to play the game. Players are forced to learn through trial and error then which does make sense for the survival genre. Players have several different bars to care for at the top of the screen which include stamina and hunger.

You’ll need to fight tooth and nail to survive the first few hours as you slowly learn to distinguish friend from foe in this dangerous land. After some button mashing, you’ll find the inventory and crafting menu that lets you create different items. This is crucial for moving forward with the game. It’s where you’ll be making tools, items and structure pieces which can be placed almost anywhere in the game.

Building in this game is certainly a highlight. It’s possible to build almost anywhere in the world (even underwater) which allows for some incredible builds. Early in the game however, you’ll probably be living out of a small shack by the waterside somewhere.

As to be expected from a game in this genre, cutting down trees and mining rocks is essential for gathering resources. You need to gather resources to build better tools which let you gather even more resources which can eventually be turned into other useful or cosmetic things.

The weakest point of Conan Exiles seems to be the combat system. There’s nothing terrible about it, but it is very stale. It has players hacking at enemies with the same motion and if you’re the sort who likes to dodge and weave around enemies then you could just be flailing at the air. It lacks that certain something that would make it entertaining and worthwhile. It just feels like it was added so players would have something else to do in the world as opposed to a mechanic that was essential to the experience.

The first few hours of Conan Exiles have been an entertaining struggle. Building is definitely the highlight of this game and it’s easy to lose a lot of time constructing a house thanks to all the little decorative objects in the game. It’s clear that there’s a lot to learn about Conan Exiles and that the game has a lot to offer players. There are plenty of things in the game we haven’t seen yet such as the Thrall system and the new Frozen North content so we’ll report back later about these.

Pros:

  • Good character creator
  • Fun mechanics
  • Sound design

Cons:

  • Combat is boring
  • Controls aren’t straightforward
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