(there are 75 US servers and 20 EU servers, and there are usually 5-20 players in total, meaning most servers are empty and only few have like 1-5 players online)
It is not only stereotype environment, poor textures, too few objects to interact with or clumsy inventory/crafting windows that kill the gameplay experience. For me, the biggest disappointment was the gathering and crafting system as a whole. Everyone can craft/build everything from the first time he enters the game, in the same quality. Most craftables do not even require any tools or crafting station, you just make them from raw mats using your hands and teeth only. All you need is to gather resources, which is boring as hell. There is no challenge in doing so, you just grab a stone and go bashing trees, rocks and cave walls. Even no mobs bother you. Ridiculous.
Looking on bright side: the game runs pretty well, even on weaker PCs. Allowing you to
wander the island, looking for stuff to eat, animals to hunt, resources to gather and other players to interact with
build houses of your own design using component system anywhere on the map - from shacks to fortresses, plus supporting structures like docks or towers
capture or destroy other's houses :)
craft tools, weapons, clothing, armor and miscellaneous stuff
build a boat and struggle driving it
the beach so empty ... not graphically thrilling indeed ... and no food to find there
Out of Reach website states: "Fight cold and hunger". There is no fighting cold, just hunger. False advertisement. No thirst fighting as well, so only thing you really care about is hunger.
For a newcomer, that might prove challenging, hunger bar goes down quite fast. When I entered the game for the first time, I started searching the shore, to find some fish, crab, clam or maybe a turtle? Nothing like this was available, and I also couldn't dive under the water - so nope, I am crashed on the island but I need to forget about sea food, there is none. What else to search for? I have heard you can find some berries to eat, but I was wandering for about 15 mintes and found no berries at all. There was pretty much nothing to gather, save for wood and rocks. And few flax plants, for making ropes. Animals? Deers and zebras run away from me, tigers, rhinos and crocodiles were too dangerous to fight, so bad luck again, the game provides nothing to kill at close range combat.
I have found out that you have basically 2 options, if you cannot find berries - either make a bow and start hunting at long range, or build a shack with a bed that serves as your respawn point. Building a shack with bed requires just wood, which is easy to get, so you cut down like 30 trees with the rock in your hand and build few platforms, some walls, and bed. Just from wood, no nails, no tools, no leather (for bed) is needed. How you manage to make planks for walls and nail it together without nail and tools, it beyond my comprehension.
At this point, you are free to starve to death, because you dont lose anything when dying, your items will drop at point of death, and you respawn fresh with full healthbar. Does that count as surviving? Maybe :) Maybe not.
fire one arrow and run! repeat until the tiger is dead
For hunting, close range fight is not an option, so lets use bow and arrows. Arrows are easy to make, just bash the trees with rock, get wood, chew wood with your teeth and there you go, you have arrows! It takes about 1 tree to craft 2-3 arrows, so find yourself a forest if you want to make some 50 arrows. To make a bow, you need 30 wood, which is about the same amount as needed for a wooden wall. Go cut 5 more trees to get 30 wood and in case you have gathered enough flax, you can craft a bow. Do you wonder how do you make a bow out of 5 trees, with no tools? And why you need so much wood? And how do you combine it to make a single bow? Me too.
rhino put down by ballista dart, one shot one kill
It is quite easy to kill with a bow, if you accustom to game mechanics. Each animal move around 1 spot and does not go further than 20 meters from it. So you just camp the area, wait for animal to come close, and shoot it. You need to shoot from like 6 meters, arrow has pretty weird trajectory, making you almost unable to hit at longer distance. You can kill dangerous animals with this tactics as well, you just need to start running after hitting it, it will follow you few meters and get back to its spot. Lame.
do you see how difficult is it to acually see anything in the cave?
Now you are real survivor! With a shack and bow, you have pretty much all you need. You get meat, fat, hides and bones from animals. Meat feeds you, fat allows you to make torches for night travels and caves discovery! Now your journey for better equipment begins. Caves are hiding copper and tin, which is needed in large quantities for making bronze enquipment, ballista, anvil and ... boat. Yes, there is no regular wooden boat available, game offers just a boat that requires tons of bronze. Without bronze, you cannot get across waters, makes perfect sense, doesn't it?
I was lucky enough to find a cave quite close to my shack, the entrance was below a group of tall rocks. I was a little scared what perils may lie ahead, but I have met no mob inside of the cave at all. You just fight with your orientation and very poor visibility. Cave rendering is bit strange too, if you look into a tunnel, distant parts are illuminated in blue-grey, but when you get closer, illumination is gone and there is just darkness. The illumination gives you some perception of a cave sizing, which is proved wrong when you get closer. I did not enjoy searching the cave at all, but managed to get decent amount of copper and tin at the end.
To clarify - there are tin and copper boulders scattered throughout the cave, each giving you just small amount before breaking up. Some boulders are placed quite high, but you can make a shack inside of the cave with a ladder to reach such areas. Fact is, that there is no weight limit, so you can carry a lot of wood with you inside of the cave to make ladders, and carry a lot of minerals back.
Bronze and Iron ages
that darn furnace runs for just about 1 minute. then you need to put wood inside and light it again
After more than an hour in a cave, I have gathered mats for about 200 bronze. Seems quite a lot, but... Ballista requires 40. Ballista dart 20. Boat needs 150. Hammer, anvil, axe - each needs around 50. So I have cleared entire cave system of minerals, just to realize that I need 4 times more! I really wanted to try ballista, so crafted it, crafted few darts and all bronze was gone. Now I had to find another cave, which I didnt accomplished at the end, so I waited about 2 RL days for some minerals respawn. Is it really necesssary to gather for hours to make few balista darts or few bronze tools? Does it help the gameplay?
Generally, bronze tools, weapons and equipment are more effective and durable, it kinda takes you to next level, Bronze age. And now you can mine iron with bronze pickaxe, which leads you to Iron age, to progress even more. Iron can be found on remote island, and you need a boat to get there.
original boat design indeed. too bad it is so unplesant to drive it
Let's end my Out of Reach PvE adventures by few words about boat driving. As you already know, you need boat to get to iron, and you need a lot of bronze to actually build a boat ... well, boat, it looks rather like a steamship, and it is propelled by paddle wheels.
You drive it by spinning one of the wheels, and there is a lever that shifts the wheel rotation from running forward to backward and vice versa. If you play alone, driving it is a difficult job, sice there are two wheels and just one person. On top of that, during wheel spinning, you need to look at the wheel to be able to do so, so you have no idea where the boat is going. Game devs wanted to be original concerning boat travel, good job, they really achieved it! For me - just another needless struggle.
If you like survivals games, independent studios and you don't care about your time and money much, buy the game and try it yourself. Do not expect much fun, be ready to struggle and enjoy exploring what game devs did or did not manage to deliver:)
Next to come: Out of Reach - JOEi's PVP adventure, including house building and putting to the torch