TL;DR – Every part of this game build upon each other to create one of the best four-player co-op games out there at the moment
Disclosure – I purchased the game
Deep Rock Galactic Review –
For a while now, me and my friends have been dipping in and out of this odd mining survival game from Ghost Ship Games. But recently, we have been going into a deep dive, exploring everything the game has to offer. Well, as their Season Two event is about to launch, I thought it would be an excellent time to jump in and have a look at the game as a whole. Before we start, I want to thank my friends Johan, Nikola, and Chris for helping to run through the game with me.
So to set the scene, in the far future, the Creus solar system is inhabited by Dwarves thanks to the powerhouse that is the planet Hoxxes IV. The planet is smashed apart, and its surface is a desolate wasteland. However, underneath, it is full of wonders, full of minerals, and full of dangers. Under the surface are great biomes that exist in the planet’s many interconnecting cave systems. These caves are full of life adapted to the rocky and dark world. However, those very lifeforms do not like large sounds reverberating through the rock, for example, the sounds miners make while digging up their booty.
From a gameplay perspective, what you and your team of four do in the game is be deployed from your floating space rig and dig deep into the planet’s crust. You will be deposited into a cave system, and you will need to collect a certain amount of resources, kill a certain amount of monsters, protect a driller, or do one of several other missions in the dark. Each of your team members is playing a different class, all with additional bonuses, guns, and equipment that creates a different playing style no matter who you are playing as. The Scout has the grapple and big flare gun to zip around and light things up for everyone. The Engineer has platforms to help you reach up high and turrets to help with the hordes. The Gunner has the best assortments of weapons and can set up ziplines. Finally, the Driller, which I played as, gets the big area of effect weapons and a set of drills to carve through the walls like butter.
The first thing you see in this game is just how beautiful it can be. When you think of games set underground, it can be just monotone greys or browns and historically can be pretty bland. But in Deep Rock Galactic, every biome has a distinct feel that you know where you are from the moment you leave the driller. But more than that, each of the biomes is simply gorgeous. You have the warmth of the Sandblasted Corridors that feel like a canyon in the desert, the Azure Weald with its bioluminescent jungles, and the Dense Biozone with its coral formations, just to name a few. But this attention to detail in the design can be found in every facet of the game. The space rig feels like a lived-in space and has just enough distractions to keep you entertained while your group picks its next mission. The cosmetic items you can unlock feel perfect for the feeling of Dwarves in a Science Fiction setting, blending those Sci-fi and Fantasy elements.
But while a game can look good and have a good narrative foundation, but it is still a game, and the most important thing is how it plays. Here what we get might be one of the best 4-player co-op games I have played. Each of the four roles is distinct enough to play distinctly differently while still feeling grounded in the game. But more than that, each of the four roles helps support each of the others with their special powers. The Engineer can set up platforms up high so that a Scout can grapple up and mine a resource that couldn’t be reached otherwise. The Driller can freeze large enemies allowing the Gunner to do a precision strike on a weak area. These are just two of the many interactions that happen throughout the game.
This emphasis on co-op play creates moments that you just don’t forget, like when someone accidentally throws a grenade and sets off a Dreadnought before everyone is ready. Or when you are rushing to get back to the dropship while a swarm is happening, and people are dropping and getting revived, you manage to get in just before the ship takes off without you. It also helps that there is an excellent variety of the monsters/Glyphids that you face, and the game does a good job of slowly introducing you to them and the different modes you can play in. There are also mutators that can dramatically change how you play the game, like low O2 zones, which means you can’t stray too far from sources of oxygen. All of this works together to make sure that you will go a long time before you start to feel like you are going through the motions, and even then, the game still surprises you.
In the end, do we recommend Deep Rock Galactic? Absolutely. I have had a blast exploring the depths of this game, and I love that it can still surprise me after all this time. I will say I have not tried out the single-player mode, so I am not sure how that would work, and I think you will have to play this game with people you know to talk over Discord as you play. But barring those two little asterisks, I recommend picking the game up and giving it a go.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
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Credits – All images were created by the staff of Deep Rock Galactic
Game Director – Mikkel Martin Pedersen
Art Director – Robert Friis
Programming – Jonas Møller & Philip Mygind
Developer – Ghost Ship Games
Publisher – Coffee Stain Publishing