Conan Exiles is survival with a hint of Conan

Conan Exiles was released just over a week ago. And it’s easily the most anticipated new survival game to release with over 1 million copies sold prior to release. The question remains, is it really all its cracked up to be? Well, let’s take a closer look.

The game is separated into a few sections. There is the Solo/Coop mode, in which you can ragtag it on your own or invite friends to a private game, and Online mode, which has PvP and PvE. I have to say; this game will not be as fun if you play on your own. You will want to link up with friends, especially in PvP. Players can be toxic, and that’s exactly what I ran into right off the bat in PvP. Found a decent spot, started to set up camp and build, noticed someone watching us, and didn’t pay much attention until they came back with friends who were ready to kill me. I get it, that’s the point of PvP, so this is just a word of warning for those hoping to make friends in PvP.

I spent most of my time playing with friends in PvE. It’s quite nice to just pick up and play. Especially once I got some good weapons and armor. The goal is to complete the “Journey,” a list of tasks to fulfill where you can learn more about how to survive in the game. They start out easy, but they gradually get more difficult. It acts as a tutorial, but the game really needs an actual tutorial. There is no explanation on how to equip items, select a weapon, or many other functions. I had to figure it out on the fly. That said, once I had the hang of it, it was all smooth sailing from there. Speaking of the start of the game, I had tons of options to customize my character and gameplay. The game does allow for full nudity on PC, and partial nudity on consoles. If this is an issue, you can always turn the nudity off.

I needed to mine for resources, use them to build shelter and weapons, make sure I was hydrated and fed, and explore. There are many kinds of enemies. Humans (NPC), tigers, spiders, elephants, bears, antelope, and tons of others. Some of the creatures are exclusively from the Conan universe too. Each creature can provide different meat, from feral to exquisite. The quality of meat will have an impact as well. The better the meat, the better it is for you. The same goes for mining tools. The better the tool, the more it mines. Be sure to cook the meat though, I found myself fighting off food poisoning for the next several minutes when I ate it raw. (There is a perk you can unlock to eat raw meat though.)

There aren’t many elemental dangers. Sandstorms happen from time to time, but I could survive by finding shelter. I would call nightfall an elemental danger because even though it doesn’t hurt physically like sandstorms do, it is near impossible to see without a torch. There aren’t as many creatures out at night, but I didn’t see many them until they were already too close for comfort.

The types of outfits to play a factor in the game. If you head to a snowy area, the outfits that are warmer will make you heat up. You’ll know when you’re heating up with the thermometer. I do find it funny that revealing outfits made for the cold will cause you to heat up in desert areas because it has fur, and wearing it in snow will be just fine.

The “Boss Creatures” are essentially just larger and more powerful versions of the standard creatures. There is no real reward for killing them, so I just avoided them for the most part. This goes for most of the game. I found the lack of a proper reward quite irritating at times. Outside of mining, building, killing, eating, and just plain exploring, there are collectibles. Many of them are emotes, but there are several documents I found that will help tell a story. If you are looking for a storyline, this is the closest you’re going to get. I felt more like Conan the Librarian with all the running around collecting these documents to be honest (which are just lying on the ground by the way).

Even though there is a layer of depth to Conan Exiles, it doesn’t really stand out as a survival game for me. It’s as if they company developed a survival game and then when it was close to finished, decided they wanted to make it a Conan game. Its sounds harsh, but it’s true. There were some things that were cumbersome. Namely, chatting and finding my friends. I’m told that I cannot see where my clan members are on the map and cannot chat with them in the game unless we are close, because they want to add a level of realism. I found it more aggravating than interesting. By the time I found them, they were already done with the game.

Final Reaction

Even though I have my gripes with Conan Exiles (the monotony, lack of reward satisfaction, and annoying realism factors), it is still a fun game to play. I played for over 60 hours this past week and I will still be hopping on tonight. PvP can be intense, but I prefer the relaxing atmosphere of PvE where I can do and complete more while having fun with friends.

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