Deep Rock Galactic is an FPS featuring badass space dwarfs! Created by Ghost Ship Games and published by Coffee Stain Studios. Deep Rock Galactic allows you to Team up with 1-3 bearded buddies or Rock it solo if you are man enough! Dive deep into the depths of the procedurally generated caves and tackle endless hordes of alien monsters as you try to mine the rare materials your greedy corporate Bosses require, and try not to damage the equipment!
Early access has been known as a perpetual development hell for some games with a release date Never arriving. But we feel it doesn’t deserve the hate it sometimes gets. It has also been responsible for some fantastic games, such as Ark Survival Evolved, Don’t Starve, Subnautica and The Long Dark.
It’s now time to add another game to this list… Deep Rock Galactic. Strap on your mining helmet and get ready for a fun, satisfying and great adventure.
In Deep Rock Galactic you assume the role of a new employee for a corporate mining company.
There is not much depth to the storyline, and it’s the games weaker part, however, it is very funny and full of corporate tropes – “Make sure you don’t damage the gear, oh and try not to die.”
This game was not designed with a focus on the narrative. Instead, the story takes a back seat, using it solely as a way to give purpose to your adventures.
You start off a lowly bare-faced dwarf and as you prove yourself and gain more experience you transform into a fully-fledged, luscious bearded, beer-guzzling dwarf. Just don’t let those greedy overlords get you down!
Motivational messages and access to the bar and jukebox will help pass some time, easing the burden of the thankless task that is Deep Rock Mining…
Although this storyline has been done before, the way it’s done here is delightful and very funny. The game doesn’t take itself too seriously. Which works wonders when enjoying the experience with others.
The game adds a humorous comparison to real life. You are down in the mines of an alien world slaving away, Whilst the top dogs of the corporation keep an eye on you from their mission control, telling you to go about your job faster, better and with less collateral to anything that burns away at the profit margins.
Who doesn’t like working for a greedy corporation… Right?
You would think that spending most of your time in pitch-black darkness, thousands of meters below ground, there wouldn’t be much to see… But this is where the world comes to life! The atmosphere is stunningly dark and eerie and reminds us of scenes from Aliens or Starship Troopers!
The use of light in this game is incredible. Standing on the edge of a massive ravine and throwing off a flare is one of the most satisfying experiences.
Each and every biome is uniquely beautiful, from frozen tunnels to caves with flowing lava, There is so much variety! Not only this, but there is also no shortage of life to complement the ambience of these foreign worlds; with alien-looking plants that appear to be attracted to your presence and a mysterious slimy residue on the walls with eyes… eyes that attentively follow you with their eerie gaze. you also can’t forget the most welcoming sight within the caves, MINERALS! These are super important to most of the missions you do, but we will get more into these later.
Deep Rock Galactic is not going for a photo-realistic style here. Instead, they have chosen to adopt a more Light-hearted approach with their choice of art style and we think it fits the comedic style.
The sound design on Deep Rock Galactic is truly fantastic! And the dwarves steal the show! The voice actors for both the playable dwarves and the bosses are brilliant and had us crying with laughter, you are even able to taunt whilst running around screaming “ROCK AND ROLL!!”
The soundtrack is also stunning and sometimes you don’t even notice it as it blends with the visuals. Calm relaxing music whilst it’s quiet and exploring. Then kicking in with intense space dwarf techno as hordes are rolling down on top of you. Overall fantastic sound design!
This is where Deep Rock Galactic shines, much like the diamonds you will be mining! The world springs into life the moment you embark on the trip to the planet. It starts with the loading screen where you can see the drop pod you are in, travelling to your destination. Just before you commence on your mission, you watch from the inside as the pod drills into the rock and drops you deeper and deeper into this unforgiving environment, the doors open… and it’s pitch black!
Although there only 5 different types of mission. the game makes good use of the procedurally generated caves, the use of light and sounds, and alien plant life to keep every mission feeling fresh and new.
Every mission will require you to open the 3D “Terrain Scanner MKIII” to find pathways hidden by rock and This really does make you feel like you’re finding your own way through the terrain rather than on a designed map. Some of the best times we had and some of the most interesting things we found were completely unplanned. We happened to just stumble upon them – And it felt great!
The only issue with procedurally generated levels is the lack of hand-crafted experiences and sometimes the sprawling caves can feel a bit empty and the larger caves can become quite repetitive.
nevertheless, It’s not just the hostile alien worlds that look and feel great, but the HUB world where you spend time between missions is fantastic! This is where you can change your class or equip and upgrade any weapons. We were quite surprised how much work had gone into this HUB area and probably spent far too much time in the bar, getting our characters drunk and then trying to kick a barrel through a hole to see who could get the highest score. We do advise against getting drunk and then heading out on a mission, of course… though it is totally doable.
CO-OP vs SOLO PLAY
Deep Rock Galactic is labelled as a 1-4 player game and although it’s totally possible to play this game alone, It creates a totally different experience. Playing solo, you are given a little robot companion called ‘BOSCO’ Who can mimic many of the abilities of your absent teammates. Playing solo felt a lot tenser and created some almost scary moments but we definitely feel time is best spent with MORE DWARVES!
Here again, lies another problem… the random drop-ins. You can play solo and host the mission you’re on, allowing 3 other random players to join you, but we found that unless they communicated well it actually made the missions harder. Most of the Dwarves have abilities to help each other reach places they couldn’t alone and when it’s time to drop everything and run to the escape pod don’t expect them to wait. A good gameplay design though is that only one member of the party must make it back to the pod for the mission to be a success.
There is plenty of option for you to play this game however you want. In the end, we found the best way for us were duos, just two friends, beer, beards and minerals! What more could we want… maybe fewer aliens trying to eat us and bosses that cared about the welfare of their employees, But this is part of the fun!
There are four classes to choose from in Deep Rock Galactic; The Engineer, the Driller, the Gunner and the Scout. All the Class loadouts are fully upgradeable with all the things we come to expect: – larger ammo, more damage, faster fire etc. You are also able to unlock a new weapon for each class as you progress through the game.
We love the way the classes work together as they all have weakness and strengths. The scout, for example, doesn’t have a lot of firepower but can light a massive area with his flare gun and scout paths ahead with his grapple.
Early on you won’t have any issues at all. Unless you’re us… we got lost and never made it back to the escape pod…
The way the difficulty works in Deep Rock Galactic is done through a thing called ‘Hazard Level’;
Hazard level 1 = low risk, Hazard level 5 = Lethal.
The difficulty scales with each Hazard level and effects a whole tonne of things. The Hazard level affects;
Enemy Damage, Enemy Attack Speed, Enemy Projectile Speed, Enemy Movement Speed, Friendly Fire, Environmental Damage, Revive Health, Max Health Regeneration and Point Extraction Scaler…
With this difficulty system and the procedural map generation, it gives a lot of replayability and creates a lot of content.
As a whole the gameplay of Deep Rock Galactic is good and the moment to moment action is great. The game is designed to be run over and over, slowly getting better and raising the difficulty. This would not be possible if the gameplay was repetitive or boring but that’s not the case with Deep Rock Galactic. Every second from drop pod’s initial landing is enjoyable, and for different reasons.
within one brief instance, you can go from experiencing utter tranquillity on the edge of a chasm, to then having the ground open up from beneath you, before being zerged by a horde of vengeful aliens, All within a matter of seconds. This mixture of beautiful visuals that is there to be admired, as well as the presence of permanent danger, results in a beauty you are scared to enjoy.
This style of game is not for everyone and we could see how someone could get bored with the sparse number of biomes and the limited variety of alien creatures, but we enjoyed our times in the mines and will be signing up for a return trip.
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