Content Type: Gaming News
Date: September 11, 2021
See, at first, I thought I was the only one who got screwed this second Beta weekend: a newly joined player without the ability to build a shelter, spawned on the map with no water in sight.
However, everyone’s progress from ICARUS’ previous Beta Weekend had to be wiped due to major changes to the game’s systems. So, we all kind of ended up in the same boat. A boat tacking in and out of nasty storms.
Get Used to Dying: Rushing Against the Storm Clock
The introduction of recurring storms that can damage anything that’s not inside a shelter — as well as attach a few unpleasant debuffs to the player caught in it — introduced a few… challenges. While rushing to level up my character as quickly as possible (in order to get those sweet tech points so I could finally build some semblance of a shelter), I still had to juggle my basic survival needs.
Immediately, I struggled to get my character enough water (wouldn’t it be convenient to spawn near a lake?). Instead, I was consuming near-full stacks of (apparently, very dry) berries for all three meals just to keep that thirst meter floating somewhere 2/3 of the way down. Likewise, oxygen was definitely a problem for me for a while, until I put together a machine that vaporized metal into oxygen balloons… once I had enough points to unlock it, that is. One thing I didn’t struggle with was food, thanks to my healthy low-carb berry diet, of course.
Here is an important clarification: you get to keep your character progress after death! With, uh, a little bit of XP debt, if you don’t have another player to come revive you.
What happened when I failed to build a shelter in time, you ask?
This is what remained of my precious first build of an oxidizer, made with wolf and deer skins hunted in the middle of the dark, dark night (it’s hard to land hits on anything when you can’t see). Maybe I should have crafted a bed instead… (To explain: my oxygen-generating station was reduced to rubble from which I could only recover some of the oxite ore I originally put into it.)
Oh, and at that point I was still stuck in the wind storm and soon running low on oxygen. Death #4.
(Have I mentioned that you accrue some XP debt every time you die and you need to re-pay it before you can acquire any new experience points?)
Better than the first time I got caught in a storm. That is, when I was also battling 400 seconds of pneumonia I got from briefly popping my head inside a cave, a debuff that made me heave from exhaustion after two hits with my pickaxe. (Water inside that cave gave me salmonella, but at least I got that darn thirst meter full.)
How Did the ICARUS Beta Weekend Two Go for Me?
So, overall, a charmingly familiar, extremely frustrating experience of a survival game! Would recommend to the fans of the genre and games like ARK: Survival Evolved.
However, I am now convinced that I need to find someone helpful to play co-op with me, because that XP debt, mmmm… maybe I should take advantage of the Solo Talent Tree? If you are playing solo, you will probably find yourself dying more often, with multiple timers all around your screen warning of suffocation, starvation, dehydration, and probably a storm incoming as well.
Here’s something nice worthy of note, however: RocketWerkz gave everyone extra 24 hours to play this weekend! That definitely helped counteract the bit where they promised not to wipe players’ progress throughout Beta and then wiped it when players needed it most (because, uh… storms). Good news is, with that wipe came significant backend improvements and a revised leveling system! But, uh… can I pwease keep my oxidizer for next time pls.
Overall, I would say that I got a pretty fun experience for the $26.99 sale price. And that’s without all of the content unlocked yet! It definitely feels like RocketWerkz has plenty, plenty in store for us yet:
Which brings us to the next point — where does the game currently stand as a Beta?
Plenty of Good and A Few Minor Issues
I will go ahead and join other folks out there praising the game’s stability: ICARUS so far feels like a proper Beta game (as opposed to a runny box-mix Alpha cake that makes you wince at the promised list of features).
The slow unlocking of the features is a pretty clever way to run the testing, and the devs seem to be introducing a lot of fixes into each system every time they conclude a test weekend. Following the “Forest” weekend, RocketWerkz did thorough work on adding more to the exploration experience, animal strength scaling, infections and fracture debuffs, and graphic optimizations. That’s on top of introducing the promised weather features and the re-worked leveling progression.
Running out of video memory still seems to be an issue for some, and I was among those who experienced a few server time-outs. Unfortunately, once the connection issues kick in for you, the server-hosted nature of the Beta does not allow for saving. So, whatever you are doing when the server times out ultimately gets lost.
New animal damage scaling gave some players issues with fighting wolves and bears (and, again, we all spawned as 0 level characters with no lake in sight) and many could not get the multiplayer to work this time around, but these minor issues are likely to get resolved in no time. ICARUS is yet to show what makes it rival the gameplay of survival giants like ARK, but we are certainly seeing some promise of episodic progression and events, and I honestly can’t wait to see how those will look like.
Now, let us hear your own thoughts! Where are you at with ICARUS? Curious? Considering? Already testing it out?
Please share your own experience with us and let us know what topics and game systems you want us to cover in the future!