Grounded Review

Grounded Review

In this horrifying backyard survival game from Obsidian Entertainment, you may squash or be squished.

It''s time to get back to basics after two years in Early Access, which has included more bugs to battle and harvest, more imposing backyard sights to seek out, and a complete story with an eventuel ending to uncover.

Having only played in the early build and when there were hardly any threads to follow, im surprised how far progress has come owing to ongoing updates and a big final push for the 1.0 release on PC and Xbox. Originally, the familiar yet creative-up-close world was its biggest asset and it still exists to today. Now, the whole survival loop feels cohesive, with plenty of thoughtful touches you would expect from a passion project.

Some players have never been allowed to participate in the games'' work-in-progress debut, but they have developed fantastic (and painstaking) home bases to prove it. As for me, I started fresh with a new save file and got to exploring. Little did I know I''d be in for a 30-hour adventure.

Obsidian Entertainment Publisher: Xbox Game Studios Released: September 27, 2022 MSRP: $39.99

Even with my Early Access playthrough, this is still one of the most interesting worlds Ive ever encountered in a survival game, right up there with.

Using towering blades of grass and hauling limbs like a lumberjack, scurrying through ant tunnel labyrinths with a torch in hand, and scavenging for half-buried scales in a koi pond with water fleas falling at your feet is an unforgettable experience for such an established genre.

I''m glad I found myself stuck with the game, and I''m glad I was pleased to help out every detail, from the toxic trash heap to the kids'' sandbox to the smoldering rampage and the creepy crawlspace under the shed.

So much of the game is learning about the land, its extraordinarily ruthless inhabitants, and the resources that will help you survive the crisis. Some of the most powerful techniques available for you to make the transition work. The same goes for example, when you need to provide valuable information.

Even if I was planning to mind my own business and keep a low profile early on, I was shocked by how hard-hitting and dangerous can be.

With makeshift armor, no permanent stat increases or perk-like Mutations are unlocked yet, and a powerful weapon that big (and even medium) people might hone off. Spiders are ferocious, although they are more likely to attack fighters than any arachnids I have ever seen before, but they also include bombardier beetles, mites, larvae, and mosquitoes, among many others. Several foes can even gang up on you,

Battles have a different rhythm, including perfect blocks that open up your opponents. Combat is fun once youre strong enough to have greater margin of error. I liked the variety of fighters, but skirmishes started to feel less engaging when I played. Expect mashy chaos from time to time, and pieces have different advantages and weight ratings.

Most of your struggles were frontloaded, including a stable environment to travel, and better gear sourced from bugs you can pummel. Bless the life-steal weapons, with the exception of a few boss battles (some of which are optional) and a late defend-three-points-pray mission that got. In the internet co-op, things might have been smoother, but I managed it all alone, and with patience, you may also.

Thankfully, has multiple autosaves to fall back on, and death isnt the worst (more of an inconvenience) and you may freely save outside of combat. Id recommend doing so often. Its possible to set a respawn point at (easily built) shelters, and if youre taken out, it is a matter of fetching your lost backpack to restore your on-hand items. This is an exploration-heavy game with a lot of running around.

While hunger and thirst meters are a common danger, fresh water is plentiful just smack a blade of grass to release a high-up droplet, and food isn''t only required to be fried, though a roast aphid is far better sustenance than a handful of plucked mushrooms. An ominous countdown will begin if you neglect these needs for too long. This timer was only a problem for me once, when I was stranded deep in an unchar

The main advantages of scouting out a suitable central location for your house (or condos) because you''ll keep returning to unloading backpack and craft building-dependent creations, as well as maintaining a stable supply of materials. Armor and weapons are degraded and can be repaired with the correct ingredients, but it is possible to strategically upgrade them when they''re nearly kaput.

It''s worth noting that having three primary problems Id generally recommend the lowest, Mild, and a Creative build-cool-stress-free mode, Creative with Bugs, and Custom modes with lots of granular you-do-you options. There were times when I thought about bumping my save to a custom game due to obnoxiously aggressive insects and stamina constantly falling, but it was a one-way conversion.

Mutation unlocks are a fun RPG-like touch, and your build on the fly might go a long way. Youll also want to crush giant teeth (Milk Molars), which award points to permanently benefit your max health, stamina, hunger/thirst burn rate, and max item stack sizes. There isn''t enough inventory space available!

I haven''t gone long enough without going into the story yet, haven''t I? I''ll keep it all light.

The narrative gives meaning to your exploration, and it gives you the ability to see where things go (there is a good and a bad animated ending), but the writing is better viewed as a playful, funny, clever bonus than as your sole reason for playing. Expect a lot of audio recordings but minimal interactions with NPCs and some scattered flashback cuts the vast majority of all I have described up until this point.

If you are usually survival-wary and are just interested in using Obsidians'' established name, please be cautious. There was enough narrative substance here for me as a survival fan, certainly, but you might not feel the same way. I liked the central abduction mystery and the opposing sides.

Then, youll get clues about several labs with chips you must do to recover, and if youre brave, you may go out of order I love that sort of freedom.

Much later, you''ll be funneled towards the upper yard, above the retaining walls. It''s tempting to do your own thing as long as you want, but it does pay to investigate these labs to the fullest extent for resources and other items. Eventually, the limiting factor was that getting geared up was a seemingly small roadblock. Thousands of errands.

As a solo player, I get it this is classic survival gating, but in these moments, I wanted a more organic approach, as seen in. I would have accumulated more waystations to supplement my main base and pick better locations for my staircases that stretched up to big biomes. As a solo player, hauling grass plans can be tedious because you do not have the most efficient armor.

I should say, the way handles blueprints is a step above most of its competitors. Sure, you can analyze materials to unlock related recipes, but thats not the only way. There are also quests to take on, collectibles to find, and expenses to spend. It is also a constant blueprint rollout that never feels overwhelming.

While im not a developer at heart, it''s worth mentioning that you could conceivably get into just for the construction side, and the backyard sprawl makes for a fantastic setting. To that end, I was so invested in this charming and surprisingly fresh miniature world that I didn''t worry too much. There''s a certain finesse.

With its 1.0 release, it has so much to discover, and has the ability to justify the dozens of hours you may invest. Whether you are an explorative player in search of historical sites or hidden-away treasures, or a castle-building fiend with a vision, you should always bring friends along for the ride. While still, playing alone, I wasn''t satisfied with my end-of-game score, so I kept going, boosting my grade in the process. Even now, there are still more bugs to

Obsidian isn''t known for survival games, but it ended up making a great one.

[This review is based on a publisher''s retail strategy.]

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