The Wild Eight is a shoulder-to-shoulder survival sandbox game in which the player is given free reign with surviving harsh conditions in Alaska. It focuses mainly on challenges involved in an undeveloped portion of Alaska
The game can be described as a less intensive version of Rust reason being that this has a more, laidback tone to it.
The Wild Eight is available on Steam for $19.99 (USD).
What The Wild Eight does so well is add a level of animosity to the game by having a loose based story for the player to go off. All that's truly known about the story of this game is that the survivors, that the player is able to choose from, have all crashed onto an unknown portion of Alaska. Nothing else is known of the land that the characters survive in, other than that it's empty, has very little survivors, and a mass amount of aggressive wildlife.
All that the player is informed of from the beginning of the game is that there are abandoned military bases and government buildings within the gamespace. The game's story focuses on a level of skepticism, it wants the player to question what is truly going on and if the plane crash was truly incidental or involving something more explicit.
The characters available to choose from all have an interesting backstory to them, which helps allow the player to relate to one of the characters. This game focuses greatly on lore, and the history of the characters/land before the player intervened within this game. For example, Jeffrey is a playable character and he is known as being the "tinkerer" of the group. Cole is another playable character which is described as being a has-been history teacher that gave up teaching in order to train within MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) in which he realized that it is his true calling. All these interesting backstories of each character allows them to be different from one another as they each contain their own special perks.
Death, and death again. That's what truly describes The Wild Eight's gameplay, it shines in the sheer difficulty this game has, for it being so laid back and simplistic compared to Rust. Players are abruptly introduced to this hostile environment right away, with a simple tutorial showing the basic mechanics within the game. For my first playthrough, I made the mistake of venturing into the abyss of winter without being properly equipped for it. After the simple tutorial I was given to learn the aspects of the game I felt a false sense of confidence and assumed that "oh, this game is easy I can easily manage". What I learned from this is that my false sense of confidence allowed for my character to be mauled by a pack of wolves. My character suffered a miserable life in which he began to freeze to death and then actually starving to death. I was able to counter these life-threatening conditions by finding food and creating fires constantly. The wolves simply massacred me because all I had was a pocket knife and nothing to protect myself. This game punishes you greatly for not being prepared for a dangerous venture, that it demands the player to be fully aware and prepare for any circumstance while exploring. So, in a sense, this game has a learning curve to it it works mostly on a trial-and-error concept of constantly dying, and learning from your mistakes. This may sound repetitive but it is actually a great mechanic as it allows for the player to hone their survivalist skills and see a level of progression in how they can actually survive in the Alaskan conditions. There is even a day/night cycle that allows the player to plan tactically, by exploring in the daytime and seeking shelter at night. This added a level of intensity for me as I found myself rushing to shelter the moment I saw the sun set. Nighttime in this game is punishing as the temperatures reach excruciatingly frigid temperatures.
As stated above, The Wild Eight has a simulator system in which the character has health, hunger, cold, and dehydration bar which all most be maintained in order to survive. The "cold" mechanic follows a simple but entertaining system of the longer the player is out of the warmth the quicker that they will die from the cold. So, when the player is within a building, or near a fire, they are able to maintain a survivable temperature but as soon as they leave the fire/building the cold meter can drop and kill the player. Things like clothing type and building stability can help or kill the player quicker. The player is able to loot for better attire to survive harsher climates and stay out of heat longer. Fires can even be crafted on the go, while exploring, to lengthen a venture. The implementation of crafting fires adds to the level of realism and fluidity of the game as a whole. The main complaints of the hunger/dehydration system are that it depletes at a pretty speedy pace, which caused me to play the game as a chore, rather than a game of exploration. The main thoughts that passed my mind is wow, I just ate and I'm almost starving again, although not a bad thing, this prevented me from exploring.
Exploring and finding secrets are what this game are great at doing, I wasn't successful at surviving the climates until I looted and explored in the many different areas within the game. The Wild Eight awards exploration greatly, by giving the player interesting NPC'S to interact with, and some of the best loot in the game. The greatest issue is that in order to go on longer ventures it takes a considerable amount of time to achieve a viable level of survivability. This game is good for consuming time, it wants you to play it fully and not rush through everything because if you rush, you die.
The combat can be described as a more shallow experience. There isn't much to it, sadly. The combat mostly consists of strafing left and right and spam left-clicking in hopes that whatever is trying to murder you, dies first. With a genre, this game is trying to tackle it's considered crucial to creating a clever surviving mechanic and also a sophisticated combat system to give the player a fight-for-your-life feel. With this game, it almost felt pre-determined when going into combat, there was no true skill involved when fighting enemies. It all came down to, were you prepared? Did you obtain a powerful enough weapon to kill something quicker than it would kill you? That's the level of detail needed in order for this game to reach the full potentiality that it can achieve. If a simple strafe/spam left click, if the combat system doesn't sway you away from playing this, then it's greatly recommended to play it for the exploration.
The graphics for this game are sub-par. This isn't entirely a bad thing as this is expected from this type of game. The developers don't attempt to advertise the visuals of this game and the graphics shouldn't convince you to not buy this game. What should be truly looked at is the level of detail the developers obtained within the weather of this game. The simplistic graphics almost aid The Wild Eight in giving the player a realistic feel of how punishing the weather truly is. How this can be shown is by just how little detail some of the objects in the game are, compared to the weather mechanics of the game itself. There is massive hilltops, different levels of snow in different portions of the map, and snowflakes to portray blizzards.
The character design used even helps with giving the aurora of unknowingness as they aren't completely filled in. It's as if the developers traced an outline of a general human-like structure for the characters and demand that the player "fill in the blanks". When I played it I was able to make my survivor relatable to me and it allowed me to have a level of connection to my survivor as if when he died I felt remorseful.
Sound in this game is barren, it enveloped me into the game. Just imagine, exploring an area on your last breath, knowing that with every step you take, it may be your last. Just to hear a subtle growl in the distance as you realize a wolf has been stalking you. Things like this help The Wild Eight consume the player into the game it promoted a level of authenticity to it. There wasn't an overuse of ambiance nor was there repetition involved, the ambiance was true to thought.
Although optional, I opted to turn off the music to exhibit just how barren this arctic wasteland truly sounds. There's nothing what so ever wrong with the use of music in this game, as it also promotes the atmosphere this game is trying to present, it has a rhythmic feel to it. In a sense, the music is almost soothing, it gave me a calming sensation, think Minecraft, the music as a whole was a great mix of different designs to help mix up the tone.
The Wild Eight has some quality work going on for it. There is a level of potential into it, the only issue it has is the combat isn't great whatsoever. There are the occasional bugs here and there as this is still considered an "early access game" but I never really witnessed much game breaking bugs. The game doesn't completely stand out against its competition nor is it a bad game, it's merely a change of pace compared to other games within the survival genre.
On a side note, the developer's interaction with the community is wonderful. The developers are very responsive to any criticism and answer a majority of negative reviews they receive on Steam. This shows that the company is willing to create a game for the community and not just a monetary gain.
|+ Great Atmosphere||– Bad Combat|
|+ Quality Sound||– Status effects deplete quickly|
|+ Interesting Character Design||– Empty|
|+ Fun exploration|