When we initially watched Grounded less than one year before, the pitch was supposed to accommodate Obsidian’s signature RPG style to the survival genre. Having recently introduced into Historical accessibility on Steam and Xbox Game Preview (and Game Pass), it is now much more of everything you would traditionally expect from the latter than it’s affected by the prior. However, what’s here so much is fun enough and, even though a couple of pops, obviously has a great deal of space to grow.
While Obsidian had previously said Grounded would incorporate strong story and RPG elements together with the survival aspect, and though you may see signs of this, there is not much to talk of yet. Without a continuing narrative beyond some collectible music logs – I struck a”End of Story Content” message after less than an hour – it is the”Honey I Shrunk the Kids” -style setting that is doing the majority of the heavy lifting.
It does not actually diverge from the conventional survival game arrangement in any especially meaningful ways – you select an avatar from one of four teenagers who have been shrunken down to 1 inch tall and invest time researching and collecting plants, stones, and insect parts to craft items and build your tiny home. It’s possible to collect daily action bounties like seeing particular locations or exploring specific items from BURG-L, the sole NPC – that conveniently provides the maximum Obsidian-esque material through – but past that your experiences are in the pursuit of no tricky target beyond the ones you set for yourself. While it certainly plays a tiny fast-and-loose together with the comparative sizes of particular creatures and objects, Grounded’s mega-sized spin on a suburban yard is interesting to explore. By puddles turned into lakes into twisting branches beneath a garden hedge which resemble the frame for an occasion or Ewok village compared to”that put you gently stuffed your beer could since you’re too lazy to throw it out,” I was constantly curious to find that a brand new milestone or Easter egg which helped flesh out the world and my part within it. That is due in no small part to the reality that Grounded seems terrific. The miniaturized planet you happen is rich and lush, and it gains greatly from some particularly stunning light effects (although a number of these depth-of-field effects lose their luster once you emerge from under the canopies of mushrooms and clover and recognize that the child you are acting as should just be incredibly nearsighted). Sunlight filtering through the branches of a tree in the early morning or bouncing through the chitinous exoskeleton of an ant the size of a German Shepherd were constant reminders to stop and relish the beauty of the surroundings, and also how moonbeams pierce through the light fog that blankets grass-blade woods (combined with some genuinely good sound design) added a great deal of spooky atmosphere to night exploration.
“Eerie” may not be the ideal word, however. “Terrifying” is likely more true, since Grounded is, occasionally, as much a survival horror game since it’s anything else. And it is not simply that the 12 -foot-tall spiders, possibly – though they are far and away the major winner of the”strangest thing in the lawn” award, in spite of all the much-discussed Arachnophobia slider flipped all the way up (WHO THOUGHT LEAVING THE EYES ON THEM WAS A fantastic IDEA?!) . Additionally, there are a lot of different miniature monstrosities out for you, from additional big bugs such as acid-spraying bombardier beetles into the very small bugs which spring towards you in the floor like mad, fuzzy variations of Half-Life’s headcrabs. Researching at night and working into a bunch of wintered creatures or spelunking to an old anthill simply to rush in the spider who had created its nest there supplied a few hair-raising scares and instilled a feeling of anxiety that carried over into each step I took.
There is not much variety concerning weather, however. I have been running for at least two three months and each day was sunny and warm and nightly gentle with light fog about 3 am. It might have been fascinating to experience a rainstorm in this dimension, or view Obsidian work in a few of the different tropes of the”tiny-sized individual” encounter – although possibly”The Strike of this Kaiju-Sized Toddler” upgrade is still to emerge. The noise of a car stereo blaring because it rounded a local corner along with a jet motor passing overhead were a few fine touches that remind gamers they are still in today’s world, but it might have been cool to get some more lively dangers which weren’t only the native backyard wildlife. Obviously, that does not make those pests any less deadly. Not to end up another insect bite, you will have to create use of your own superior human intellect and also do what we do best: ruin the world around you without thought because of its fragile ecosystem and use what is left to develop cool things. A strong and interconnected crafting method is that the hallmark of a good survival game, also Grounded’s early-access offering certainly includes a great deal for gamers that like the endless grind of harvesting substances to convert to other substances which you could subsequently turn into a house, or even a trampoline, or even armor made from the carcasses of defeated enemies.
Where grounding stumbles toughest is that this procedure has difficulty staying continually enjoyable. It is definitely satisfying to rip off the last bit of an ant that you had to finish your armor place, however the battles required to get all those ingredients ceased being especially fun after I murdered my fifth ant. Combat basically boils down to circling round an enemy while it strikes, then darting into chop, stabclub off a number of its HP and replicate. Sure, there is a parry system which may help increase your opportunity to stun a monster, but then your armor takes damage so that it was nearly always better to keep strafing. Obviously, you could always simply climb up onto a stone and flame an endless barrage of arrows in an enemy, also (though be prepared to attract a great deal of arrows – that I trapped a wolf spider and unloaded 50 + arrows to in, simply to knock off around 45 percent of its HP). Hostile AI appears to get little-to-no awareness of self-preservation, which, although accurate for their insect brains, created all but the most stressful of conflicts a rather boring affair.
I lost count of the amount of occasions I made mental notes to utilize the”Submit Feedback” button once crafting new items or building up my base. It appears crazy that a game so heavily concentrated on crafting 2020 would not have the capability to incorporate a’Craft Max’ button, the ability to craft in a workbench using things from nearby storage containers, or a auto-craft function which automatically absorbs the raw resources necessary to make something. In the same way, I understand inventory management is an integral part of any fantastic survival match, but it felt a little strange to not have the ability to craft more cellular storage or build items which would allow me to produce stacks of formerly un-stackable things (such as a sling to package spears collectively, for example ). Between the tools necessary for picking and the weapons/armor required for self indulgent, it felt as though my stock was at least half-full before I left home foundation. Not one of those things are especially bad, but it felt like lots of minor inconveniences that included up to some good quantity of frustration.
Adding buddies to the mixture does not lighten the load, possibly. Since one participant needs to function as sponsor, that means anybody connecting their match will probably be starting from absolute zero each moment. Progress does not move back into a game world, possibly, meaning in the event that you would like a consistent experience with buddies you have to be the team’s permanent host, or become completely good doing all of your construction in somebody else’s store file for the entirety of your sport (and even then you will have to be certain that you leave all your equipment in one of the storage bins prior to logging out). In addition to all this, Grounded is please forgive the pun – fairly buggy. There is nothing I would consider especially game-breaking (although I did encounter a few hard crashes on my 2015 Xbox One which caused some minor improvement loss) however I ran into a fairly noticeable and during my time with it. Bugs – especially larger ones such as spiders or ladybugs – frequently get trapped in, on, or from geometry, if you are searching for a bug and it becomes too much off after taking hurt, its HP will often completely reset, and putting foundational components of my foundations (walls, staircase, etc.) frequently came down to me needing to consciously glitch in the machine to get them where I needed them.