Conan Exiles… whether you will ever admit it, you know about this game because of the ‘Endowment Feature’ video. To keep it as ‘PG’ as possible, a video went viral where someone was playing as a man and made their ‘yogurt slinger’ smaller and larger using a slider called ‘Endowment.’ To make matters even worse (or better depending on how you look at it), they then proceeded to crouch-walk with this seemingly third leg between their other two legs. Anyway, this video alone was enough to make me say ‘I want to play that game!’ But, the real question is, was the game good enough once I got into the thick of it so to speak? Full disclosure, I played this on my gaming PC. So, unlike most of my reviews that are played on my Xbox One, I decided to give it a shot on my PC.
Blue Ball Score: 16 out of 25 balls
Since I did play on PC and I am not a ‘natural’ PC gamer, there is a bit more of a learning curve in regard to the controls. But, once I got the basic controls down, they seemed pretty simple, straightforward, and easy to grasp/remember. One thing I did like was you could setup shortcuts for items in your inventory. So, you could quickly equip your stone Warhammer in the heat of battle by simply pressing the number ‘1.’
The overall concept of the game is quite simple – survive. You are an exile that was left for dead on the cross in the middle of the desert. Another exile (I think he/she is an exile too) ended up saving you so now you must survive. This game was extremely confusing at first because there weren’t any tutorials or walkthroughs on how to do stuff or even where you need to go. It is an extreme example of a ‘true’ survival game. You just start walking around and slowly figuring out what to do. You quickly realize that you need water and food on a regular basis to stay alive, and you need to gather resources such as plant fiber and stone(s) to craft items such as: weapons, buildings, fire, armor, etc. And, of course, if you die you may lose all these things depending on the type of game mode you are playing (to be discussed later). But, in summary, this was an extremely realistic experience to the point of almost being obnoxious.
What about character customizations, Tasty? Can I customize my character exactly how I want them? Yes, you most certainly can. As I mentioned earlier, you have the infamous ‘Endowment’ slider which allows you to make your character’s ‘nether-regions’ larger or smaller. You can even adjust the chesticles for your female characters. Besides that, you can adjust just about any aspect of your character. You can set the type of character they are, some pre-defined traits/skillsets, etc. So, once you set the type of character you want, you then move on to how you want them to look. Personally, I like a simple customization system and have no interest in manually adjusting the color of my character’s eyebrows. But, Conan Exiles allows you the full range of motions – so to speak – in regard to character customizations. And, they are constantly adding more and more features to this game since it is still relatively new.
In conclusion, the controls were pretty simple overall and you have a very deep customization system. This allows gamers to get their character exactly how they want and this allows for a more personable, enjoyable, and exciting gaming experience. But, the lack of direction is really hard to overlook here. I understand the point of the game is to survive and that is it, but c’mon Funcom! Give us something to work with?! A starting point/direction at least?! Throw us a freakin’ bone here! 3/5 balls.
As I mentioned above, the goal of this game (seems) to be survive and build. You can build shelters, cities (after a s&%t ton of gameplay I imagine…), stock up on supplies and craft more items, join clans, build your character/attributes, slay monsters, and so much more. Unfortunately, you can’t reproduce in the game, but I hope that comes soon. It would be a great compliment to the ‘Endowment’ feature in my opinion. Anyway, back to the point, this game is a bit of a blend between: Runescape, Destiny, and Age of Empires. Perhaps those are bad game examples, but the point is that it has elements of a MMORPG, building an ‘establishment’, and working with other players online through clans.
Well, Tasty, I am an emotionally unstable lone wolf. What if I don’t want to play with others? Well, imaginary friend, I would first recommend you seek help immediately if this ‘condition’ of your lasts longer than 4 hours. Next, I would tell you that this is possible… the not playing with others that is.
The way that Conan Exiles is setup is a bit complicated. First, you have the option to choose a lobby type. This can be online with other players or Local/Co-Op (for your LAN-Party lovers). Assuming you play online, you then choose between: Player-vs-Player or Player-vs-Environment. Finally, you can even go one more level deeper and decide the style of gameplay within that lobby. Those include: Purist, Relaxed, Hardcore, Role Playing, etc. Then, to top this complex cake off, each lobby can have its own variation of game rules.
Well, Tasty, I am an emotionally unstable gamer that can never be satisfied. What if I don’t like those pre-sets? On this one, you are not alone my friend… you are not alone. Many gamers suffer from a similar condition called… Well… I don’t know what it is called. Secondly, I would say that this is also possible. You can setup custom lobbies with whatever specific rules you can set. And, trust me, there are a ton of options available to be tweaked for your pleasure. Finally, you can make these lobbies private/local only. DO I HEAR LAN PARTY ANYONE?!?!
In conclusion, Conan Exiles took a unique approach to the campaign/multiplayer. They elegantly combined many different gaming elements and coupled that with two extremes in their game. The fundamental concept is simple – survive. But, they went extreme on the other end of how to accomplish that goal through their customization system, varying lobby types, and game setup/rules. Overall, they did this fairly well. The two extremes caused confusion in the game at times because there is very little direction provided throughout the various stages of the game.
But, if you are looking for a very customizable experience, then this would be the perfect fit. I just wish it was a bit more ‘user friendly’… For these reasons, I give it a 7/10 balls.
The graphics were awesome for a game that is still a work-in-progress. The part that I loved the most was the terrain and environment. The environment was beautiful. The sharp contrast between the barren desert and the green oasis-type areas. It just had a beautiful ‘wow’ impression on me. Also, the visual effects were a nice touch. When you were getting p0wned by some sort of creature resembling a crocodile, then your character would get more and more ‘bloody’ as their health depleted. Also, when you attacked animals and were p0wning them, their bodies would get ‘bloody’ as they neared death. These types of visual effects just helped to provide a more immersive and ‘realistic’ experience. There are still some minor glitches in the game and the graphics need to be a bit crisper (especially when you get up close), but it is definitely a good start.
The audio was good overall. Now, I know many of you may have differing opinions, but let me explain myself before you send me death threats. The soundtrack is awesome; Plain and simple. It is absolutely EPIC and makes you feel like a bad som’ b$%ch. Now let’s look at character audio. The characters themselves don’t do a lot of speaking in the game, but when they do, they sound like what you would expect a barbarian named Conan to sound like. You could also choose what your own character sounded like which was nice as well. The sound effects were hit or miss. Some sound effects were perfect, but others (such as when you died) were God awful.
For these reasons, I give it a 4/5 balls.
It is a little under half and half (foreshadowing the total balls here). I think that this game can appeal to a wide variety of audiences. But, in practice, this game will require some definite hours to be put in with it. Sure, we can all say, “Yeah, I would love to play a pure survive-and-build style of game.” But, when you start to play these games recreationally and realize that you are absolute trash compared to everyone else and it results in you constantly getting pooped on, then it isn’t fun anymore. Of course, you can play on your local server or do ‘Player vs. Environment’ with no PvP, but that takes away from the full experience and could get redundant and boring after a while.
Also, the customization system is extremely thorough, but it isn’t presented in the most user-friendly way. So, it comes across as complex, confusing, and over-bearing. This is especially apparent with the lobby types, types of lobby types, and types of types of lobby types. See what I mean?
So, if you are looking for a new game to sink most of your gaming time into and have an extremely customizable experience you can setup yourself, then Conan Exiles may be a good fit. But, if you are looking for a game you can play recreationally with your buddies and have an enjoyable time, then Conan Exiles may get boring or redundant after a while. For these reasons, it gets a 2/5 balls.
In conclusion, Conan Exiles is a decent game. It shows signs of unlimited potential, but has a lot of obstacles and hurdles to overcome. Games like Conan typically face the dilemma of: Complexity vs. Simplicity. Meaning, do they constantly add a ton of stuff to the game to keep it fresh, or do they keep it simple? There have only been a handful of games that have mastered adding in a lot of functionality while keeping it as simple and user-friendly as possible. If you are looking for a totally customizable experience from your character to the gameplay itself, an online experience where you can join clans and conquer the Conan universe, and a unique game concept that combines a lot of different gaming elements, then Conan Exiles will be perfect for you. Just be ready to sink a lot of time into this barbaric wasteland. Grand total? 16/25 balls.