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Funcom's survival RPG Conan Exiles left Early Access roughly a week ago, which is about enough time for the reviews to start coming in. Most of them are more positive than not, praising Funcom's take on the survival genre, as well as the game's aesthetics and multiplayer elements, while criticizing its somewhat janky nature and the more annoying resource-gathering elements. Here's a sampling:
PC Gamer 65/100:
What it isn’t very good at is coming across like a finished product. Despite 15 months gestating in Early Access, there are rough edges all over Conan Exiles, including audio sync issues, enemy AI that sometimes flatly ignores players, woolly melee fights and incredibly suspect slope traversal. Fighting anybody on a 10% gradient or above, for example, involves a lot of floating and swinging impotently at the air under an enemy’s feet.
Given that combat animations and weapon feedback aren’t where you’d hope them to be even when Exiles is functioning more or less correctly, it doesn’t work up much goodwill to look past the glitches when they happen. Nor are these shortcoming enough to write the game off entirely: its capacity to throw impressive new areas of the map at you while maintaining epic clan war sagas is something to be celebrated.
Played on a busy PvP server, while Exiles often comes across like the Ark/Rust clone it so clearly is, it has the setting and combat mechanisms to set it apart. Play it as a single-player experience and it will evoke memories of Minecraft, while as a co-op game, with its respawning mobs, thinly spread content and raid-like endgame, you might just catch the glimmer of an old school MMORPG, reminding you, just a little, of when the genre was a metaverse of uncharted promise.
Whether or not these are the end times for survival gaming or the onset of a necessary period of hibernation, despite the dead weight of dozens of unfinished games and the fact that there's not a great deal left to pick from now that Conan has taken his leave, perhaps it's just as well that the genre has saved one of its best till last. If there's half the life left in it that other survival games have enjoyed, it'll be a life worth living.
Trusted Reviews 3.5/5:
It’s a game of magnificent vistas and embarrassing glitches, epic ambitions and humdrum work. The world is vast and beautiful, yet filled with dumb animals and even dumber enemies. While never less than absorbing, it can be hideously annoying too.
We should congratulate Funcom for turning this one around, and transforming a mess of survival sim into something that’s part Ark, part Minecraft and part MMO, and that’s actually accessible and fun by the standards of its genre. If only there was a little less drudgework, and a little more trampling the Exiled Lands under your sandalled feet. After all, when asked what’s good in life, Conan never answers ‘smashing rocks, chopping trees and DIY’.
Once you’ve got your own little house and garden going there’s an immense sense of satisfaction that would not have been as acute if not for the opening hours of pain and confusion. Matters are improved even further if you play online with some co-operative friends. Although this is just as risky as it sounds because other players will take great delight in ruining your day if you opt for the PvP server.
The question we’ve asked ourselves with this game is whether we would’ve played it as much as we have if we didn’t have to review it, and the answer is a definite no. The problem is more the bugs and resource grinding than the difficulty though, so there is a good chance Conan Exiles can fulfil its potential in time. But at the moment it feels just as barbaric and roughly hewn as the character it’s named after.
Push Square 6/10:
Conan Exiles is a surprisingly good open world survival game that does a good job of blending genre mechanics with the harsh world of Conan the Barbarian. It's seriously addictive stuff despite general jankiness and a strange obsession with nudity, but the multiplayer is the real highlight. If you're looking for something new to play with your friends for a bit, look no further.
IGN review in progress:
Conan Exiles offers plenty to do, though, giving you a break from crafting and building to explore the world around you. Multiple dungeons and world bosses are scattered throughout the Exiled Lands, each one providing its own challenges and rewards. These dungeons aren’t to be taken lightly, though, and it’s best to go in with a group.
The dungeons are fun, although you'll likely be disappointed if you enjoy puzzles or complex enemy encounters. I haven't had a chance to play in any of them since launch, but I was able to try out a few in the final days of Early Access. One dungeon in the Frozen North called The Black Keep required nothing more than finding a key in a chest, after which we merely had to hack our way through some tough NPCs in labyrinthine passages until we found the barely memorable boss. The rewards for these dungeons are worth it, though, as they're the only way to get some valuable armor and weapon recipes. I'm looking forward to seeing if Funcom made any changes to the existing dungeons since launch and the introduction of the new swamp and volcano biomes, but right now I'm not expecting any.