We’ve been in a pretty rare drought when it comes to game releases. Well…releases from major publishers haven’t exactly been falling off trees these days. On the other hand, we do have a slew of recent releases from indie developers. Most have been absolute trash, but some have managed to come out in the middle, or somewhere near the top. It’s in this middle ground that we find The Culling, a first person battle royale style game that pits several teams against each other for domination. As with every early access review, I do have to caution that my gripes with this game could possibly change depending on how the developers decide how to go with the game.
Depending on how you feel about this style of game, you can either get a pretty large amount of value or a pretty skimpy offering depending on what you’re looking at. Customization options aren’t great, but I’m sure that they’ll add a few different one as they patches roll in. For right now, the options are limited to the prizes that you accumulate through various matches. I will say that most of the costume options are pretty ridiculous. There aren’t too many that can honestly be described as “cool” and I found myself having a hard time really finding something that I enjoyed. Most of the costume pieces err on the side of wacky rather than deadly, so if you’re into that sort of thing, you’ll definitely have a pretty solid foundation to play with.
A couple of things about the game really do bother me though. Sound effects for most things are dismal. It’s such a weird thing to complain about, I know, but I have to talk about them for the simple reason of how immersion breaking they are. There’s this alarm sound when the gas starts closing in on you…it’s the Iphone alarm. I kid you not. Every time it goes off I have to check my phone to make sure it’s not that. It’s little things like that that make me roll my eyes and remind me that this is an indie game and stupid little quirks often make it into a playable product of the game. It’s a bit depressing, but not the biggest things.
While in recent updates, they’ve managed to work on the combat, it’s still not the greatest system. It’s a simple system of rock, paper scissors. Block gets beaten by shove, shove gets beaten by an attack, and an attack gets beaten by block. When you manage to one up an opponent, you get a second or two to hit them while they’re stunned. More advanced players will be able to master this dance pretty quickly, and it gives an extremely imbalanced favoring to the more experienced players. There’s only one game mode at the moment, and it can get extremely boring after 20 hours or so. In the end, it really only applies to the individual’s taste and how much they can stomach of the singular game mode.
So, The Culling is definitely a game that falls into the middling area of releases. It’s by no means bad and the developers manage to patch and support the game fairly often. Although the game is getting middling reviews on Steam, I can’t exactly be surprised, considering how small of an offering we really have here. On the other end, we have a game that shows a lot of promise. If the developers can expand wholeheartedly on the ideas that they’ve laid out, I think this C class game can easily jump up to a B class experience. Not a life changing experience, but something a bit more worth playing.
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