Conan Exiles Review
Conan Exiles is an open world survival game, based on the world created by Robert E. Howard in his comics/books although it is probably best known for the films with Arnold “The Governor” Schwarzenegger as the lead character. Unfortunately big Arnie doesn’t make an appearance in this game, but it is still enjoyable if grinding survival games are your thing. On starting the game I was given some options to create my character, pretty standard stuff like sex, race, facial features, penis/boobs size…Of course I made my character a fair representation of myself.
Left to die on a cross, you are a criminal who is given a second chance by Conan himself who cuts you down and tells you everything is going to be alright. OK not really, it’s brutal out there and upon starting in the vast world, having only my massive floppy third leg to survive it was incredibly daunting, if a little amusing.
The first things to do in the world (after spending a good 5-10 giggling like a child as I bounced naked around the desert, modesty flapping in the wind) is to collect resources, plant fibres to create clothing, branches and stone to create some primitive weapons so you can defend yourself from angry naked people who roam the world, wild animals and monsters. On killing one of these you can also get meat which is essential food to help you survive, but you need to build a campfire to cook it otherwise you get sick.
For the first hour of playing the game I gathered countless resources and was able to build a bed roll which serves as another spawn point, a camp fire, a storage box, as well as fully clothing myself and crafting an axe to chop trees down and defend myself. I died, a lot however. This is something you must get used to early on and, each time the game teaches you a bit more about survival. A map marker shows you where you died so you can try and scavenge your bones for any resources that may be still there.
Although there are no tutorials, you are provided with a series of in-game achievements that point you in the right general direction. These start with simple things such as learning to climb and taking a drink of water, before encouraging you to make your first kill and use more advanced combat techniques. But it’s the crafting system that you need to get your head around first, not least so you can fashion some clothing and cover your shame. This is where the game is going to lose a lot of people because not only does it not explain anything but the interface is horrendous. It’s maybe a bit better on the PC, where you can use a mouse and keyboard, but it’s quite fiddly to use with a gamepad.
The game is challenging, even more so with the crafting controls, but the grind at first, to get what you need to make the game a fuller and more enjoyable experience. To get better resources and loot you must travel further north where the enemies are more difficult and better equipped…you will die. As you gain experience you’ll grow more powerful, but also unlock new crafting recipes for better weapons, stronger amour and nicer interiors for your homes. If you wish to follow religion and please your god(s) you can be rewarded by being able to summon them in a fight, or to lay waste to villages etc.
I personally haven’t made it this far yet, but I have kept coming back for the challenge of progressing through the level up system that allows you to create more and become harder to kill. You will need to invest a lot of time and effort to get the experience that the developers Funcom envisioned. Resource gathering can become quite boring though and repetitive and especially early on might be too much to handle for a lot of players
Conan Exiles has a lot of interesting ideas, but for some players it might take too long for them to fully enjoy these aspects of the game so this might give a negative opinion of the game. For those willing to put in the time and graft to create their own experiences then the tools are there to have an enjoyable and fulfilling game.
The control system is especially when crafting could be better but once mastered isnt too much of a hindrance. I imagine it is a lot of fun online with some friends to back you up when the poo hits the fan.
GoG Rating: 6.5/10
* Review copy provided by Funcom *