Conan Exiles is an open world sandbox type of game that’s based on the Conan the Barbarian lore and universe. It’s a game that’s both unforgiving and forgiving depending on which mode you are playing. Conan Exiles is developed by Funcom, an indie developer that brought us titles like The Secret World and Dreamfall. You must be wondering if it’s worth your time to go through another survival game like Conan Exiles when there’s a lot of others out there popping out like mushrooms on a rainy day. So let’s get to it shall we?
Platform: PC (Steam)
This preview is based on the Early Access that was provided by the developers.
I really didn’t know what to expect when I first started playing the game. You will have to excuse me because I haven’t really seen the movie so everything in this game is very new to me. What I didn’t expect though when I started playing was that the game has an option for full-on nudity. This is a very bold move considering this is probably one of the few games I know that’s allowed that. And humans as we are, you would expect people playing on the Full Nudity setting rather than any other setting. Maybe it’s the carnal nature that’s within us that wants to be so racy and daring that we are curious what it’s like to walk around naked. Mind you, it doesn’t really add any other effect on the game except for the fact that if you’re a teenager or someone living with your parents, it can raise a lot of questions as to why your character is naked most of the time.
It’s good though that you have a free reign on how your character would look like. I like that there are presets and at the same time the adjustment sliders if you really wanna get that perfect cheek or face for your character. Also, the game allows you to modify the size of your breasts or endowment, may you be a male or female character. There are some options that were grayed out but most of the important ones are already adjustable.
As this is an open sandbox game, there is really not that much of a story to go on with but it does give you a background of what you’re getting into. You start off the game with nothing but a water skin and you go about in the world gathering materials to help you survive the world. You level up by gaining experience points that is gained by not dying, crafting, gathering, or killing enemies. You also have to keep track of a few survival trackers like thirsty levels and hungry levels. Once these trackers gets depleted, your life will slowly drain and eventually die if you don’t eat or drink.
This is probably the most frustrating part of the game for me. Trying to survive. It would have been easy to know there’s something that he could eat but the place you spawn at has nothing but leaves and sticks. There’s nothing that edible to eat besides a few grubs which you still need to cook but you need some firewood to do that. At the point that you found the materials you need to cook your food, you’re already dead. I think this is mostly true for most survival games but at least you have plenty of food resources to get in those other games. Instead, this game punishes you so harshly that it’s hard to get back up on your feet. Maybe it’s just me, but I would like to have a fighting chance and not die every single minute. Add to the fact that when you die, you drop all of your items and you will have to find your way back to your corpse to get them all back. Good thing you can save by making a bedroll or somewhere you can sleep so it may not that be difficult to get back to your precious items.
Even then, crafting is what I enjoyed the most out of this game. That feeling you get when you finally found the materials for your armor or that stone that you finally need to make a fireplace. It’s probably the easiest to master in the game because it’s a no-brainer. You know what materials to get and you know how to make them. The crafting window also has tooltips to help you figure out which items you need or what items you need to craft first before you can craft something else.
The game also features building. The way to start this is to craft the materials first that you would need to create a building. Once that’s done you can just put those materials on your hot bar and use them so you can place them on stable ground. It’s similar to games like Minecraft or ARK: Survival Evolved so it’s not that hard to put up a shelter right away. The world is also alive with enemies like wolves and alligators that will attack you if they see you. There are passive beings though like the deer which you can hunt down for meat as well. But hunting can be very difficult in this game because the combat system is not that good.
Since this is Early Access though, I understand that there are improvements that need to be had but I would have at least expected a working combat system since fighting is what you need to do for the most part of the game. It’s kind of dated and unresponsive that you dread for the next time you have to fight someone. Maybe I am doing it wrong but for people like me who is not used to these type of games, I don’t really see the appeal to play this game other than the fact that I enjoyed crafting.
For those of you who enjoys the challenge of this game though, you can play the game in several modes, including online and offline modes. On the online side of things you can choose from playing PvP (player vs player) or PvE (player vs environment). There are also different servers for any type of playstyle. There’s a server for purist who wants to play the game as intended by the developers or you can play in relaxed mode where its not as harsh or competitive. You can also have the option to play the game in either first-person or third-person. In case you would want to check your own “goods” rather than someone else’s. They even have what they call as the “vanity” mode so you can view your character from all angles.
The world of Conan Exiles is gorgeous. If you have the right settings you can totally see the beauty of this world of dust and sand. Everything is so detailed that you can just stare at it for days. It’s a good escape from reality and it’s a masterpiece waiting to be discovered. Despite its setbacks, and considering this is not the full game. It is a good game to get into if you are someone who likes the challenge that a survival sandbox game can offer. I’m curious to see what else Funcom has in store for us but for now, let me try and figure out how to make that sizzling fat grub.