Survival games can be tricky to nail down correctly. Many developers try, but most just end up being more trouble than they’re worth. Building a character from the ground up, learning how to navigate a new world for the first time, these are all aspects of a game that can be done right, but they can just as easily feel monotonous and dull as well. In this Conan Exiles review, we’re going to take a closer look at Conan Exiles to see if it’s worth it after all.
|Type of game:||Survival|
|Total Play Time:||30-50 hours|
|System Requirements:||CPU: Intel Quad Core i5 or AMD equivalent processor
GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560 2 GB
RAM: 4 GB
HDD Space: 35 GB
The World of Conan Exiles
Conan Exiles places you at the beginning of the story and forces you to adapt to the circumstances or perish in the wilderness. This type of survival game essentially means that the game is what you make of it, but many would argue that that is precisely the reason as to why it can also be a dicey prospect, suggesting that the game needs to give you enough materials to work with first.
The sandbox nature of the game being open world definitely changes this as well. To accurately judge the aspects of the game, we’ll be taking an in-depth look at the aspects of the game that are most relevant: the Atmosphere & Location, the Main Character(s), and the Storyline.
Atmosphere & Location
The world of Conan Exiles feels clunky. I think that the character design is good and that the environment looks alright, but part of the design that doesn’t appeal to me is the cartoonish atmosphere it occupies.
Because the game is based on and takes heavily from the Conan stories by famous pulp-fiction writer Robert E. Howard, it intentionally occupies a similar world to the comic book style, but something about it feels off when realized in a fully-moving, 3 dimensional environment.
I think the reason for this is that the character motion isn’t fluid enough and there are enough inconsistencies in the natural environment and textures being inconsistent that it ultimately comes off as unfocused.
An example of a game that similarly uses cartoon aesthetics but also has fluid motion is The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker. Conan misses the mark on this by trying to not combine but juxtapose elements of realism and cartoon aesthetics, an attempt that comes off as more clumsy than it does elegant.
Of course, the clunkiness doesn’t negate the elements of the game that are well-designed. The weather is well-executed and the natural landscape and buildings look smooth, well-modeled, and immersive for the player. The size of the map and the many different types of environments you can find within it make
Like it’s described above, the protagonist of the game is made by the player, so the success of the character depends entirely on the player’s intuition when creating them and how they use them. In that regard, there’s nothing really to take from the story for the main character other than what’s provided: you create your character when found about to be crucified, you’re saved, and then you’re off to begin building a new life in the wilderness.
An interesting part of this game is the level to which you can customize your character. For example, you can choose from a set of religions for your character to follow, which comes as a bit of a surprise and a dynamic not explored enough in video games. This opens up the option to build temples and perform sacrifices in relation to your religion, which adds another aspect to the game.
The storyline of the game is very loose considering the sandbox nature, so I will be partially focusing on what’s provided to you in game and then also the actions you can do that will build your story. Overall there isn’t a strong narrative line drawn throughout the game, so you’ll have to get creative and become used to seeking out opportunities. Because of the nature of the title being a survival game, that should come as no surprise, but there is a wide breadth of options you can choose from when deciding your character’s destiny and the story.
There are other villages and tribes that you eventually confront that are able to attack you at any moment, so you have to stay on your toes and constantly aware of what’s going on if you want to end up surviving. As you gain experience, though, you can continue building your resources, build larger buildings, and end up creating more infrastructure to increase your dominance as a powerful person.
One of the advantages to this element of sandbox building combined with a large map is that you can also share the experience with friends and connect on servers for PvP battle or Co-Op experiences. Though it’s technically possible to play local Co-Op or play the game entirely single player, much of the appeal and success of the game lies in its multiplayer functions.
Because the narratives are kind of bland on their own and you construct your ideal environment and trajectory, the addition of friends magnifies the experience greatly. The absolutely enormous map and the ability to share or defend yourself against your friends makes the game worthwhile on its own and highly recommended.
Conan Exiles isn’t more than a sandbox survival game, so if you’re averse to the genre then I don’t recommend it. I would also be ambivalent about recommending it if you were planning on solely playing solo, as a majority of the interesting parts of the game come from the multiplayer interaction, whether it be on PvP servers or Co-Op.
Despite this, though, I would not buy the game for the story-based and narrative elements it provides. At best it feels underwhelming and at its worst it feels like a waste of time, so it can be a hard sell. That being said, there is an enormous map and plenty of things to do if you are in it for the purely sandbox experience—through that, you’ll likely find endless replayability value with your friends and family.
Do you agree with our Conan Exiles review? With what I said? Do you happen to like the single player aspects of Conan Exiles?