Platform: PCPS4XONE
Genre: action
Release Date: May 13, 2020
Developer: Ghost Ship Games
Publisher: Coffee Stain Publishing


Underground exploration is a rather specific topic for video games, which is nevertheless more than in demand. MinecraftTerrariaDwarf FortressSpace Engineers (the list is far from complete, but we will dwell on the brightest representatives) – the games are completely different, but they have one thing in common: you can’t do without a shovel, pickaxe or drill to help you storm unknown depths in search of jewelry, minerals or simply adventure.

Deep Rock Galactic by Ghost Ship Games– Another simulator driller, in which the four-space dwarves do what this proud short man is supposed to do: he extracts minerals in the thickness of the earth’s rocks. True, the strata here are not entirely terrestrial, and alien creatures are periodically interrupted by quiet creatures by unfriendly creatures, and weapons have to be picked up almost more often than a drill or pickaxe.

Space dwarf fortress

Deep Rock Galactic – the name of the interplanetary megacorporation, which is engaged in the extraction of minerals in all corners of the galaxy. This is not only a very profitable business, but sometimes it’s very complicated – there are places rich in resources, but populated with so unfriendly flora and fauna that only dwarves can do the job: the best miners and, in combination, the best fighters.

The field on the planet Hoxxes IV is considered one of the most dangerous places among all the mines owned by DRG. Expeditions for resources are more like forays into the enemy rear – the planet is so unfriendly that the mining station had to be built not on the surface, but in orbit. It was this station that became the starting point for all missions – and at the same time one of the most original and comfortable hubs in such games.

The starting location is far from an obligatory element of cooperative fighters: sometimes it is more convenient to use a soulless, but laconic menu than to run around the map. But not here: the station was created with love and attention to detail, making it absolutely no burden to be on it. Preparing for a four-player game (the maximum number of miners in one expedition) is not the fastest, but while the comrades are busy selecting equipment or choosing a mission, the rest has something to do: dance in a bar and skip a glass of beer or two (be prepared for the original effects intoxication), kick the barrels under the grumbling of the authorities or learn funny inscriptions on the terminals.

Thanks to such trifles, among which not only the decoration of the hub but also the cries of dwarves during excavations or elements of equipment, the game universe is felt brighter than in many story-oriented games. Therefore, you feel at home at the station after a couple of missions. Humor, which is everywhere here, only supports the original setting of the slightly insane universe, where space dwarves pickax minerals with the same zeal as they shoot at spiders who have the imprudence to live near the deposits. You can only love DRG for this – not everyone succeeds in creating such an atmosphere.

Going deeper

Boxes IV only in appearance is a lifeless stone block, slowly revolving around a luminary – in its depths are hidden real treasures that are protected by a whole zoo of unfriendly critters. In addition, the complexity of the work is affected by environmental conditions: sandstorms, radioactive areas, electric crystals, and lava geysers – all this can be encountered by miners on missions. The planet is divided into eight completely different biomes, each of which offers unique features. This is worth remembering when choosing a task on a special terminal: a sortie into the mushroom swamps is not at all the same as an expedition to salt pits.

Missions are not limited to commonplace mining of valuable ore. There are tasks to evacuate broken drilling rigs, search and collect especially rare crystals, hunt for spider eggs and purely combat missions to destroy dangerous opponents that interfere with work in the area. Only one thing is invariable: you definitely have to dig and you definitely can’t do without battles with local animals.

All locations in DRG are created using procedural generation and are caves of varying degrees of complexity. But the main thing is not this: perhaps the key feature of the whole game is that there are no obstacles to digging here. Any element of the environment, which is divided into separate blocks (albeit elegantly disguised, unlike the “cubism” of Minecraft), you can gouge it with a pickaxe, drill it with a drill or simply blow it up. If you want to dig, dig, there are no obstacles to this. On the other hand, all production, whether it be minerals, ore, or spider eggs, is often located either on the walls of the caves or very close in-depth, so you can get to them using the usual pickaxe that every miner has. Do not wait for grandiose excavations and mining tunnels – DRG is still more about traveling through caves, and not about creating them with improvised tools.

It’s a pity that the capabilities of the physical engine are actually limited by this “I can dig, I can’t dig.” It will not work to bring down the arch of the tunnel in order to fill up the enemies with debris or walled them up in a cave dug by hand, there are no fluid mechanics here either.

We’ll have to use weapons more often than a drill: local residents, represented mainly by arachnids, are not at all happy for troublemakers and will periodically interfere with work. Not only is there a lot of local living creatures, it also behaves differently: there are ordinary soldiers, there are flying critters who can grab a gaping miner and drag him away from his comrades, there are spiders spitting venom, and arthropods covered with armor – in short saying a complete set of arachnophobia.

The combat mechanics are far from being as “tasty” as in similar cooperative shooters, so there’s no need to talk about the great pleasure of shooting and well-aimed hits – it’s not Left 4 Dead with its savory destruction of zombies or Vermintide with hordes of rats that are fun to slice sharply sharpened blade. But tactics and teamwork in Deep Rock Galactic are more than gold in local mines.

Four brave

If at a low level of complexity it is possible to complete missions without much difficulty alone (in this case, a small but useful drone will be an assistant), then when you increase the settings you can not do without a well-coordinated team. Ideally, there should be four players – as many as the classes of miners represented in the DRG. Locations are created in such a way that only a complete team will be able to carry out tasks most effectively, and at the end of the mission, when you need to return to the landing capsule, the value of auxiliary tools is especially pronounced. The driller has powerful drills that allow him to gnaw any thickness of the rock. Using a special gun, the engineer sets up platforms that allow him to climb higher or to collect the mineral from the walls without any problems. The shooter can build a small cableway, and the scout owns the most useful lighting gun in this twilight and can cling to the walls with a long-range hook.

The armament is also unique for each class: shotgun, machine gun, turret, grenade launcher – an incomplete list of what miners initially have. As you progress, you can upgrade your old weapons or discover completely new models that are noticeably different from the standard ones. Hence the logical conclusion: it is possible and necessary to create the most effective builds here, taking into account not only the comrades’ armaments but also the place of the future mission – some biomes encourage the use of a specific set of equipment and skills.

Completing tasks allows you to upgrade both the player’s account as a whole and each of the four specialties. The reward is both new skills, passive and active, as well as expanding the range of equipment. There were also some cosmetic items – you can hardly confuse a green beginner with a veteran of hundreds of landings on Hoxxes IV, flaunting a unique suit.

Leveling is not quick, but in order to open access to high-level content, including especially dangerous and profitable missions, you need to reach the maximum level with at least one class and reset the leveling – you will have to develop the specialty again, but a free skill cell will be added.

It is noticeable that the developers are trying to stretch the passage to the maximum, pushing the new content away. The gameplay is reminiscent of a donkey running behind a carrot tied in front of its nose – to get a new level in order to more efficiently extract resources and complete missions, which, in turn, will allow … correctly, extract resources, and complete missions even more efficiently.

The process practically does not change, only complexity increases. “Cosmetics” and beautiful icons that indicate a high level of an account are a dubious reward for a long pumping, but this state of affairs is typical for such projects (in some places they try to improve it with the help of seasons and leaderboards). However, this is not a hindrance to someone: “There is little content, the game quickly bothers,” one of my friends says, and I pretend that I don’t notice dozens of hours spent in early access to DRG. There would be more of such “quickly bored” games …

The standard advice for buyers of a cooperative shooter: in the first place is the correct selection of the team. It’s not worth digging mines and fighting spiders alone or with “randomizes” – there’s little interest in this, and it’s unlikely that the most difficult tasks can be overpowered by such a team. But if you have friends with whom you can have fun (this is the keyword), spend time shooting at spiders and wielding a pickaxe – Deep Rock Galactic is worth it to try your hand at hard mining.

Pros: lighting effects; the need for teamwork for successful completion; unobtrusive humor.

Cons: a little monotonous gameplay; prolonged bleeding.


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