Few other games have been able to create a sandbox world that feels worth the time investment. Roughly 50 hours spent in an official PvP server in the first week of launch and I am constantly tested by new obstacles and occurrences. My curiosity and genuine interest in the mystery of these lands only increases. There's seemingly no end to chaos and adventure. The title is all about base building, crafting, leveling, and exploring. You'll find a healthy balance of them all in the diverse and inviting world, full of monsters, nomadic warriors, and beautiful sceneries.
When you begin your journey (whether that be online in Player versus Player, Player versus Environment, or Single-Player/Cooperative), you will be tested to escape the Exiled lands. Create your character from a variety of aesthetic choices that include hairstyle, hair color, facial hair, facial hair color, eyebrows, eyes, nose, and size of private parts. Yes, women can run around with a bust that contests Pamela Anderson, and men can look as ripped and muscular as a Dragon Ball Z character. I hope you get the idea. But appearance isn't everything, and in fact, it will change very little about the way you play and your character performs (asides from trying to see the ground with an overly busty female character).
You'll need to pick a god to worship but this too will not screw you over based on your choice because you'll eventually unlock them all as you explore the map. The gods play a sizable portion of in the game if you want them to. You will need to build an altar for one of them (or all of them if you so choose) and through sacrifices and offerings, you will be able to craft specific weapons and items. One God will allow you to craft healing items, another will allow the crating of poisons, another will allow ice-based weapons, etc. I haven't found too big of an interest to upgrade mine, but my brother works hard to craft us a bunch of healing items in his which are extremely clutch.
Once you have fully created your character you must leave the exiled desert and make your way to the noob area. The map doesn't call it a noob area but soon enough you will realize it is the main hub of the game where many fresh characters will begin and many server junkies will call the base of operation. The reason it is such an amazing location is that it's one giant river with many islands. It will have everything you need to survive in regards to resources, so it is very easy to get started. Further north though you will continue to find desert until you reach the green wooded region. Further north of that is the snow and ice region, and even further north of all that is a volcano. The map is more vertical than horizontal but regardless of which direction you are going, you will have miles upon miles of terrain to cross before nearing any map borders. It's huge and when the official servers can only hold 40 people at a time the options regarding where to set up shop is endless. It's not an empty world though even if you find yourself isolated in one corner.
The environments will wear you down and the countless NPCs and monsters will test your survivability. Little campfires and campsites will be full of warriors looking to cut you up on sight, and asides from the experience you'll gain they make for pretty profitable encounters. You'll loot anything from resources to weapons, all the way to random items with some benefit. The environment can be harsh and sandstorms will be the first obstacles you might run into. They sweep in from a distance giving you time to run and hide in the shelter, but if you are caught off guard and can't craft a 1×1 hut fast enough, your health will plummet to nothing.
Speaking of crafting though, this game is filled to the brim with it. I struggled a bit with end-game crafting in games like Ark: Survival Evolved, but there's something about Conan that is just easy to grasp. I hadn't even reached level 20 yet and I knew everything I needed to know. In regards to structure, you will be able to craft three tiers of them, exponentially increasing in durability the higher you go. The first tier requires nothing but stone and wood. The second will require you to smelt some iron in a furnace and make reinforced iron ingots in the blacksmith and match that with a refined wood in another station. Slightly more time consuming but easily doable even early game. The third tier requires harder-to-find resources that can only be found on the ice and wood regions.
Again, the map is massive, so you need to consider the difficulty of making a tier 3 fortress in the starting area since you will be making long expeditions for farming (but completely doable). You have your basic square foundations, square walls, door frames, doors, and variation of ceilings. You can use wedges in an attempt to make your base not look like a block, but honeycombing your base is a very annoying process unlike in the PC game Rust. Eventually, you will unlock huge gateways that you could make enter your base, or within walls bordering your base.
I am blown away by the beautiful world of Assassin's Creed Origins, but Conan Exiles comes very close to competing with it for best desert setting in a video game. If you climb to the top of the cliffs and overlook the rivers, it feels like a huge oasis that you're lucky to call home. The jungles and tundra of the north carry all the same exploration-inspiring visual appeal while offering unique challenges and distinctions. Diversity for enemies is not of no concern as mentioned earlier. Monsters, nomadic warriors, and large animals you're familiar with today will make appearances frequently.
Ark Survival Evolved finally came to consoles the other year, and it felt like the heavens sent a gift. Conan Exiles surpasses those feelings I initially had for Ark. The world of Conan is vast, gorgeous, filled with resources that compliment an extremely well-done crafting system, and most of all it is only as dangerous as you want it to be. Rust is the only other open world PvP sandbox title that feels better, but when you take into consideration the settings and environments of all three games, it's understandable there will be major differences. Conan Exiles is not perfect, but I love everything it has to offer. Bump up the server limits and speed up the raiding/combat and you've got an arguably perfect game for PvP.
|+ Great building mechanics||– PvP fighting is weak|
|+ 40 person server limit (limited server lag)||– 40 person server limit (limited spots)|
|+ Climbing allows ultimate exploring|
|+ Easy-to-understand crafting system|
|+ Gorgeous and diverse world|