I reviewed Conan Exiles back in 2017 when it had first entered into Early Access. Although the game initially had some issues (as do most EA titles) that needed to be ironed out—such as optimization and lack of content—Funcom has done a superb job of patching it up, as well as providing regular doses of free updated content. In short, Conan Exiles is finally shaping up to be the game that it was originally intended to be.
And there’s nothing else out there right now that can really compare to it. You have Rust, which, although is great mechanically, has one of the most (if not the most) toxic communities online; and then there’s Ark: Survival Evolved, which still has optimization problems and is as ultra-grindy as Rust. Although these two titles are the closest to Conan Exiles in terms of gameplay, the later simply blows them away with regards to overall value.
For instance, Conan Exiles has much more diverse landscapes to adventure in, more environmental effects to consider, and a heck of a lot more building options, gear, and weapons. There’s also a feeling of immense danger within the savage lands of Conan, and you can feel it at every turn.
One minute you might be fending off giant spiders in desolate valley areas, and the next, you could be running away from packs of wild wolves in the highlands. The PvE component of Conan Exiles will quickly kill off any foolhardy travelers who expect just another walk in the park.
To make things even better, Conan Exiles also received a much-needed overhaul of its entire combat system just before its exit from EA back in May 2018. Not only can you pull all sorts of nifty combos off, depending on whether you’re using light and heavy attacks, but each of the many weapons has different sorts of moves which are intrinsic to them.
The new combat system works well with the game’s myriad beasts, NPCs, and monsters. Once you’ve played for a while, you can even begin to predict variations in their attack patterns and adapt accordingly. This makes things play out almost like a Dark Souls type experience, where you dodge or block certain attacks, and then swoop in to unload your own assaults. But it truly shines when you go up against other players.
Recently, I remember playing as a mid-high level character and attacked an enemy player’s base with a few friends of mine. We more or less broke off into individual duels against the enemy team members, and some of the melee combat which transpired was exceptionally epic.
However, since I hadn’t played in a while, I was in for a shock when I looked at some of the armor pieces and weapons of our enemies. The entire enemy team was decked out in distinctly Asian-themed gear. It was then that I realized that Funcom had released a new content pack called The Imperial East.
The Imperial East introduces the Chinese-themed elements of Khitai to Conan Exiles. You get 39 new Khitan building pieces to gussy up your bases (same stats as existing tier three), 15 new armor pieces over three new sets (light, medium, heavy), 9 new weapons, and 25 new placeables, such as exotic hanging lamps and extravagant dragon idols. They even threw in some cool looking decorative warpaints.
I also discovered that Funcom released a Greek-flavored Aquilonian content pack called The Jewel of the West. Aquilonia is the Greek-themed culture within the Conan mythos. In the book series (I read them all), Conan eventually conquered Aquilonia and became its mighty king, similar to how the northern barbarians in the real world, conquered Rome.
The Jewel of the West pack contains an equal amount of content (i.e. 39 new building pieces, 25 placeables, etc.) to The Imperial East pack, but with the aforementioned Aquilionian vibe. That means lots of gorgeous marble floors, columns, and divine, Greek-themed idols.
These two content packs add a lot of flavor to the existing content and really stand out. Funcom has also stated that none of these new items will give you an advantage over anyone else, they are strictly cosmetic. I appreciate this sort of DLC policy because it keeps the playing field level—in other words, people who spend money aren’t getting an unfair advantage over others.
Both The Imperial East & The Jewel of the West Content Packs are available on Steam right now for $9.99 each.
Conan Exiles features great graphics that make its fantasy theme come alive. 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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