Reviews

Deep Rock Galactic: First Impressions

Deep Rock Galactic

Deep Rock Galactic is a one-four player CO-OP first-person shooter about small teams of space Dwarves undertaking mining expeditions in fully destructible, procedurally-generated environments while fending off endless hordes of angry alien bugs. Here’s our first impressions…

While this is not a full review, this article consists of my early thoughts on Deep Rock Galactic. I have around 30 hours in the title now and plan to do a full review when I have more time logged. With that out of the way, onto the article: Deep Rock Galactic gameplay consists of a team of up to four total players – or in the case of single-player, one player and a player-controlled drone, more on that later – launching into various missions types focused on gathering resources for the titular space mining corporation.

Classes

Deep Rock Galactic has four classes to choose from, pictured below;

  • The Gunner, focusing on a large chaingun, a sidearm, a defensive shield tool and the ability to set up a zipline for the entire team to use.
  • The Driller, who uses a flamethrower, a sidearm, explosive charges and his namesake drills.
  • The Engineer, using a shotgun, grenade launcher, placable sentry turret(s) and a tool to make destructible platforms.
  • The Scout, wielding a rifle, sawn-off shotgun, grapple hook and a potent flare gun.

All dwarves also wield with a recharging stock of flares, company-standard pickaxe and a handful of class-based grenade options.

Deep Rock Galactic
Credit: Coffee Stain Publishing

Due to this variety of tools, the game manages to evade the problem of a particular class being strong enough that everyone wants to play it exclusively. Engineer, for example, may have some of the best weaponry available complimented with great area control via his turrets, but the platform gun is a limited mobility tool, requiring a surface to begin working from, and has absolutely no additional lighting tools – making it difficult to employ your firepower in the dark.

Similarly, the Gunner and Driller both have excellent primary weapons for crowd control, being a chaingun and flamethrower respectively, but have limited agency at dealing with potent single-target threats – they could expend their limited secondary weapons such as the powerful sidearm for the gunner, or the explosive charges for the driller – though doing would likely soon require a restock as supplies for these are in short supply.

The Scout could easily handle these larger targets with his mobility, precise weaponry and potent backup shotgun – but then risks being overwhelmed by hordes due to his lacking area control.

Ultimately, each class is fun and provides a lot of both firepower and tools to a team, but typically has a notable weakness that ideally wants a different class to cover it.

Co-op

Now, onto CO-OP. The game draws favourable comparisons with the like of Left 4 Dead and Vermintide, well-reviewed coop horde survival games, and for good reason. However, while you’d imagine the game is best suited for a four-player coop setup, – the maximum team size – I’ve mostly been playing solo, or two-player missions thus far. Two-player coop has proven challenging in some missions, but not to the extent it feels overly difficult or unenjoyable.

The only mission that proved an outright struggle was when we tested a new difficulty level on a new mission type we had just unlocked – not the best idea to be clear.

We spent a lot of time trying to figure out the mission itself while fending off early swarms that slowly whittled down the defensive options the mission gave us, and due to a shortage of Nitra – the mineral used to order resupplies for our weaponry and tools – much of the mission was spent madly dashing, jumping and grappling away from a seemingly endless horde we whittled down over time using literally anything available to us, luring enemies into a field of native exploding cactus included.

Deep Rock Galactic Glyphid Dreadnought
Credit: Coffee Stain Publishing

During this mission, we also discovered a huge type of enemy known as a dreadnought – pictured above – we had never encountered previously – presumably visiting purely to tell us to give up already – after having stalled for well over forty minutes in a mission that was looking doomed from minute three.

After more mad dashing around, reviving each other while being pursued by increasingly sized hordes – and a few instances of killing larger enemies with resupply drop pods due to a lack of ammunition, we did ultimately both go down and fail the mission – though not before around a thousand enemies were killed, including the dreadnought, and unlocking an achievement for surviving an hour in a single mission.

RELATED: 2020 Steam Awards: Vote for Your Pick and Earn Rewards!

The entire experience was absolutely hilarious, and I’ll remind you that this was supposed to the mission we struggled with – so evidently the game is consistently enjoyable in multiplayer, even when it goes badly – in fact, Deep Rock Galactic managed to do so well on the CO-OP part, that it was nominated for the 2020 Steam Awards CO-OP award, Better with Friends, with our coverage article linked below.

Single Player

Despite what you may expect from this title being a CO-OP game primarily, single-player is also thoroughly enjoyable. When you begin a mission in solo-mode, you cannot have players join at all during it. However, you gain the help of a mostly autonomous drone known as BOSCO – he also responds to player commands, such as targeted mining, object retrieval, lighting and hostile target selection but will otherwise support the player in general without orders.

BOSCO is strong enough and responsive enough that going from solo playback to CO-OP always has me wishing I could keep the little flying death machine with me in missions without four players.

BOSCO, much like every other tool available to the dwarven combat miners of Deep Rock Galactic, happens to fully customisable – you can repaint him, unlock a few different models as you upgrade him, slap on extra upgrades such as an additional revive in solo play, a player-targeted missile, a boost in the power of his light tool, or even electrifying his shots.

Thoughts on Deep Rock Galactic – a Summary

The game is located here on steam. Frankly, I’d highly suggest taking at least a look at the title. The full price is only £25, and from what I’ve seen so far you are certainly going to get value for that price with the game. I’m already over a 1 hour of gameplay per £ spent ratio – my usual minimum to justify a purchase, – and that’s only going to improve further.

The game itself is executed flawlessly in both single-player and CO-OP gameplay, and despite the fact it’s getting regular updates, I have yet to encounter a single bug in any of my gameplay. For those on the fence, based on my experiences thus far, I would highly recommend buying the game and at least giving it the two hours steam allows you before the refund window closes – if you give it that try, I’m sure it’ll win you over too.

Deep Rock Galactic
Credit: Coffee Stain Publishing

Closing Mentions

If you’re looking for more Dwarf based chaos, check out the links below. And be sure to watch out for more Deep Rock Galactic coverage, as I fully intend to be playing more of this.

RELATED: DwarfHeim: Game Review

For those hoping to read into more information about Deep Rock Galactic, the wiki is available here.

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