La Darwin Project review seems to transport us to a parallel universe in which the phenomenon of Fortnite saw the release of a spin-off set within a snowy scenario. Seriously: if you went to tell someone, showing them the game, they would have no reason to doubt it.
The similarities between the title of Scavengers Studio and the Epic Games blockbuster are numerous, in particular from a stylistic point of view: i characters, the settings and objects seem to come from the same creative mind, with their colorful and cartoonish setting, and even the musical theme appears extraordinarily similar. Beyond belonging to the same genre, however, the points of contact between the two productions practically stop here.
Map and equipment
Darwin Project is set in a post-apocalyptic future where the masses entertain themselves in front of televised competitions based on the violent elimination of participants, in perfect style Hunger Games, but in this case we are talking about a match of reduced dimensions, ten-against-ten exclusively with ax shots or arrows, which take place within a scenario divided into seven communicating hexagons. Each of these areas, as per tradition, is characterized by different landscapes: there are forest districts, made up of rocky mountains, trees and snow; but also those with more or less elaborate structures, ranging from forts to industrial areas. Walking through these locations is not too demanding, given the short distances, but there is a focus on crafting which takes its cue more from the original Fortnite formula than from its battle royale declination.
The participants in the match must in fact use their hatchet to tear apart trees and collect wood, extract leather from old abandoned armchairs, open crates left around and use the materials obtained for the construction of arrows, traps and clothes with bonuses. endurance and speed. Not only that: within each quadrant an electronic device appears at a certain point which, once conquered, gives the components necessary for the construction of devices ranging from teleportation to camouflage, from vertical boosts to defense turrets. In a random way the zones are "closed" and you have to move quickly to another hex, which ends up making the encounters more frequent and dangerous. Also you have to pay attention to the indicator of cold: to avoid freezing to death, every tot it is necessary to light a camp fire and warm up, however risking being identified.
The progression is also limited in this case to what happens in the context of the single game, but with a different mechanism than what is generally seen in battle royale. Before entering the arena, in fact, it is possible to choose between three preset classes or independently manage the options available in the crafting wheel to shape a fighter that best suits our needs. So the arrows they can be normal, tracer or fiery, with differences in terms of range and power; the hatchet can be upgraded to work better as a weapon against opponents or cut faster; the coat can have a different degree of protection from the cold and support camouflage with the landscape; boots can make us faster or quieter. You can also choose from various traps and various electronic devices to complement your equipment.
Finally, ample space is dedicated to aesthetic customizations, unlockable through an in-game currency that is obtained by playing or through a set of microtransactions. You can thus buy different-looking weapons, clothes and anything else needed to characterize our avatar in a strong way.
Gameplay, structure and technical realization
The "reduced" nature of Darwin Project compared to the aforementioned Fortnite is compensated by an original and interesting strategic substrate. Clashes can be resolved in a few well-aimed shots, this is true, but winning a duel immediately turns out to be less trivial than one might expect. The collisions with the hatchets and the timing of the swing must in fact be understood perfectly so that damage can be inflicted on the opponents, and even more so archery requires a considerable precision given the targets in constant movement, so much so that on PC it is literally it is impossible to have any hope of victory by playing with the controller: mouse e keyboard are a must.
Before coming to the confrontation, however, time can pass: the hexagons that make up the map are initially invaded by one or two participants randomly, without the traditional launch and landing phase, and identifying the enemy's position sometimes requires truths. and own investigations.
Interacting with a felled tree or an uprooted armchair, we will be shown for a few seconds where the opponent who touched these objects is, while at close range any action other than normal walking will signal our presence with a visual indicator.
Unfortunately, the dynamics that characterize the clashes do not make the necessary leap in quality, keeping intact those simplistic solutions that the general public nevertheless seems to appreciate: there are no stalking other than luck, but above all the evasive maneuvers (somersaults and lateral discards) leave the character vulnerable to blows, making it even more difficult to escape a duel that sees us at a clear disadvantage. It goes without saying that the great emphasis on timing and shooting accuracy, as mentioned to be carried out always and in any case towards constantly moving targets, also places a substantial focus on the quality of the connection: a latency medium-high can represent an insurmountable obstacle.
The modalities initially available in Darwin Project are two, solo and tag, which see us face all-against-all battles or in the context of five couples. In any case, the matchmaking it's pretty quick, a sign that the long period of Early Access has helped build a large and passionate community that will not fail to tear you apart during your tragic first few games. After level five it is also possible to try your hand at Director mode, which undoubtedly represents a fascinating variation on the theme: instead of competing in the arena, we will control a drone and we will be able to influence the progress of the match in various ways, for example by choosing the areas to be closed, bombing others, placing targets on some players and benefiting others. A great power that, however, at a certain point ends up running out, leaving us to act as passive spectators in the final stages of the battle.
From a technical point of view, as mentioned, the title of Scavengers Studio is very similar to Fortnite, giving up the personality in favor of a perhaps excessive form of emulation, which as mentioned even extends to the musical theme. There are some touches of class, see for example the snow that moves as it passes through the coldest parts of the scenario, but in general we are faced with simple and cartoony graphics, which in terms of animations find the right compromise but pay duty. as regards the visual variety of the settings, the precision of the collisions and, above all, the yield of the impacts: hand-to-hand confrontations are inevitably slippery. On the test configuration we were able to play at 2160p and with all parameters at maximum, however obtaining the stable 60 frames per second only by acting on the internal scaler and bringing the real resolution to 80% of the output.
PC System Requirements
- Processor: Intel Core i5 6600K
- Video card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti
- Memory: 16 GB of RAM
- Operating system: Windows 10
- Processor: 2,4 GHz dual core
- Video card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 750, GTX 660
- Memory: 4 GB of RAM
- Hard disk: 6 GB of space required
- Operating system: Windows 7 64-bit
- Processor: 2,4 GHz quad core
- Video card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970, GTX 1060
- Memory: 8 GB of RAM
- Hard disk: 6 GB of space required
- Operating system: Windows 7 64-bit
CommentTested version PC Windows Digital Delivery Steam, PlayStation Store, Xbox Store Price Free Resources4Gaming.com
Darwin Project is a battle royale stylistically all too similar to Fortnite, but which nevertheless is able to offer a different, more contained and more strategic experience than the Epic Games phenomenon. The system for selecting skills before taking the field, the emphasis on crafting, the presence of survival elements such as the tolerance of cold and the clues for the identification of opponents combine to create a peculiar gameplay, which many users have shown to appreciate over the long run in early access. It is a pity that the game initially renounces a more sophisticated combat system, limiting itself to remaining in the wake of a simplicity that is now widely cleared but no less tedious.
- Several interesting news
- Appreciable strategic elements
- Very nice to see ...
- ... but too inspired by Fortnite
- Controversial combat system
- Director mode didn't drive us crazy