Conan Exiles is the new open world survival game from Funcom. Set in a barbaric wasteland, you are an exile who must fight to survive this hostile environment. Locate food and water, build a base, expand your area and dominate the world around you!
I sat down over the weekend and gave it a go, and to say I was excited about playing this was an understatement. As a huge Ark: Survival Evolved fan I had already seen a lot of similarities between the two games, and from the start of the game, it all felt very similar. Amazingly, Funcom has managed to utilise the same type of game controls (menus, crafting etc.) but still managed to create a game that feels new, with a slightly different twist on all the ‘Ark-esque’ ideas.
Diving into the options menu, we see a whole host of customisation; not only do you have the usual menus for audio, video etc, but the actual game options that are included are impressive: PVE, PVP, PVP BLITZ, Purist, Relaxed, Hardcore… the list goes on. You have two choices here: local or online play. In local you are hosting a server on your own machine. Creating this world lets you play by yourself or with friends. Whereas online is playing on either private or public servers. Once you’ve passed the menus and head off towards your chosen game mode, there’s more customisation for your character. The character creator features 11 different races and plenty of options for modifying your character’s appearance – hair, face, eyes are all included, as well as the option to choose ‘endowment size’. That’s right, for those of you out there who fancy having an old fashioned trouser snake, you can actually choose its length and if it’s visible! There are hours of fun to be had once you get in the game just letting it flap about – I literally spent 10 minutes just showing the Mrs how well it swings!
On top of that, Conan Exiles will feature full mod support on PC. This is planned to be available from the start of Early Access. That’s great news for the community as more and more gamers wish to see this included in new titles.
The game is infuriatingly hard at the beginning, that is until you have unlocked more craftable items and figured out just what you have to do to survive. Even with an idea of what to do, survival is difficult; with humans, animals and other weird creatures trying to kill you when you happen to wander a little too close to them. Being a day one Ark player, I misguidingly thought this game would be a walk in the park – it wasn’t. Although similar to Ark: Survival Evolved in many ways, the in-game menus and crafting are just different enough to make me have to sit back, slow down and re-learn how to survive. Luckily for me, the developers added a little note in the PDF they emailed me about the game: –
You spawn in a vast desert, the hot sun beating down upon you. Take a moment to look around and take in the surroundings. Somewhere nearby lies a letter and a waterskin, which we suggest you pick up to see if there’s any water left. There’s also a huge stone tablet in front of you that should also be examined.
Follow the road and make your way into the Exiled Lands proper. Be sure to gather sticks and rocks along the way, you’ll need them to craft the first tools you need.
As an Early Access game, I was quite surprised at just how well it runs. I played on my own single player server and never noticed any major issues with lag or screen tearing, although, when I dropped into a multiplayer session, it was more noticeable. The UI feels good and the interface was easy to use, along with the simple crafting system. The fighting side of the game was a bit of a letdown, it seemed to be a little hap hazard and loose when it came to trying to fight off even the weakest of enemies. It’s obvious that Conan Exiles still needs quite a bit of work to polish the game off, but it’s a solid start.
Overall our first impressions of this game are all good, with a hefty amount of customisation, mod support and game modes aplenty, it could be a strong rival for Ark: Survival Evolved in the future, as long as the developers continue with their anticipated updates.
Early AccessRelease date: January 31st, 2017
Formats: PC Early Access, Xbox One (Spring 2017), PlayStation 4 (TBD)