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Home » Deep Rock Galactic (Early Access) Review – One of the Better Co-op Experiences Out There

Deep Rock Galactic (Early Access) Review – One of the Better Co-op Experiences Out There

Deep Rock Galactic
Ghost Ship Games/Coffee Stain Publishing

A gaming friend and I were complaining a couple of years ago about the apparent lack of games that focus on the co-op experience. Sure, we’ve always had tons of survival games where you must stick together with other players in order to have the best chances of survival, but you always had to contend with other players. The last great co-op games that I can think of were some of the Splinter Cell titles.

Now, we’re eating our words. It seems like every time we turn around, there’s yet another interesting co-op game coming out. Just last weekend I reviewed Warhammer: Vermintide 2. It’s a game with triple A graphics and some seriously challenging gameplay. But although it’s all shiny and prettified, it seemed to me to be more of the same as the first game.

Then I stumbled across a little indie title called Deep Rock Galactic. It actually threw me off a little bit because of the somewhat blocky graphics. But later I realized that they suited the game’s stubby-legged, potbellied, Dwarven-theme perfectly. They’re also that way due to the fact that the game utilizes triangular polygon-style graphics instead of a cubed, voxel system.

When I first saw that there were only four classes to choose from, I was a little taken aback. But when I learned that each one was packed with uniqueness, it allayed any fears of same-y-ness. First up you have the Scout, who wields a deadly assault rifle which is backed up by a shotgun. He also has a handy grappling hook with which he can fly through the game’s caverns with.

Next up is the Engineer (my favorite), who has his trusty shotgun along with a grenade launcher. The Engineer also possesses a device which can shoot out platforms which embed themselves into cavern walls, turning the game into a fun platforming experience. But the best part about his arsenal is that he comes with a pair of automated sentry guns that may be set up just about anywhere.

The tank of the foursome is the Gunner. He’s pretty much what you’d expect him to be—a big, bad, Gatling gun-toting dwarf with high DPS and equally sturdy shielding. And if you get into any tight spots, he can shoot out a zip line that can be a real life-saver when you’re being swarmed by enemies. And let’s not forget his satchel charges, which can tear apart entire mobs of foes.

And last but not least is the Driller, who has an uber-powerful drill setup that can blast through cavern walls in seconds. His drill is also the best for collecting all sorts of valuable ore that your team will come across during missions. His primary weapon is a flamethrower, but he also has a pistol for backup.

There are different kinds of ore that may be drilled and extracted from each of the procedurally generated caverns that your team will explore. Morkite is an ore that you must drill in order to accomplish certain missions, while nitra is another one that you must extract to be able to call in re-supply drops. Gold is drilled to gain money, and other more specialized ores can be harvested so that your stubby little fellers can rise up in Deep Rock Galactic’s progression system.

Speaking of which, the game’s progression system allows you to change your Dwarf’s appearance, such as the style and color of his beard. You can also earn things such as more ammo for your weapon loadout, or more shielding for your body.

Deep Rock Galactic’s four difficulty levels are set at 25, 50, 75, and 100 percent, and ramp up quickly as you try each of them out. My gaming buddy and I made the mistake of trying out the two highest difficulty levels for our first games, and were quickly overwhelmed by swarms of the game’s aliens (or bugs as I like to call them) which remind me of the ones from Starship Troopers.

As a matter of fact, Deep Rock Galactic seems like a clever mixture of Starship Troopers, Minecraft, Left 4 Dead, and Team Fortress. At certain points your commander (via comlink) will warn you of impending swarms of aliens that are heading your way, and at those times the game seems like a wave-based shooter. However, you always have to be on guard since smaller, random groups of baddies will ambush you out of nowhere as well. This creates a tense feeling of constant fear as you drill away at ores while trying to keep eyes on the backs of your heads as well.

Deep Rock Galactic is a little light on content right now, but that’s expected since it’s in Early Access. What’s so heartening about the game is that its small group of developers seem to know they have a potential hit on their hands, and are constantly updating their little gem of a game. I’m extremely excited to see what the future holds for this splendid gaming experience. It’s simply one of the best co-op titles I’ve had the pleasure of playing in some while.

SCORE: 91%

Deep Rock Galactic features outstanding graphics that make its adventurous co-op gameplay truly shine. However, you want to have a pretty beefy gaming PC or gaming laptop in order to play it at a decent framerate. So, you may just want to invest in a decent gaming rig:

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