Heat Review – A “We’ll See” Wild West-Themed Survival Sandbox Game

Heat
Codehatch         

Yeah, PC gamers pretty much have it made as far as being able to play games of virtually any genre out there. Even fighting games have found a home on the PC, thanks to fighting game stalwarts Tekken 7, Street Fighter 5, and Dead or Alive 6 (the latter which I never thought I’d never see on the PC platform) being available on the platform.

However, when Rockstar Games decided to not bring their much-heralded title, Red Dead Redemption 2, to the PC, PC gamers have felt that they’ve sort of left in the lurch, at least as far as being able to play any Western-themed games of import. In other words, for those who want to throw on some spurs and quick-draw some six-shooters, there really isn’t a viable option out there besides Hunt: Showdown, which is more of a quasi-battle royale-style game more than anything else.

Seemingly in order to fill that void, developer Codehatch has recently released their Wild West-themed MMO called Heat. When I’d first laid eyes on the trailer for the game, I came away both equally amused as well as confused. I’ve never seen so many diapered babies in a log cabin before, leading me to assume that Codehatch was trying to appeal to fans of survival-y sandbox games such as Rust and Ark: Survival Evolved.

Some of the character models looked rather rough and so did the game’s basic environmental textures. Luckily, the game’s devs seemed to have cleaned up their Western-themed effort quite a bit because the game looked pretty good on release, sporting some highly-detailed environments and good, fluid character model animations.

However, overshadowing all of this six-shooter goodness is a developer who has pissed off quite a few gamers. Their previous two efforts—Starforge and Reign of Kings—were for all intents and purposes, totally abandoned. Heat represents their third project, so will this third time be a charm or another disappointment?

Aesthetically, you can tell that Heat was designed specifically to cater to fans of Rockstar Games’ Red Dead Online. One of the most bandied about hooks for the game is the ability for players to be able to rise through the ranks and eventually become the President of the United States, which sounds ominously similar to the feudal political system in Reign of Kings.

Heat allows for up to 32 people to play in the game’s servers at the same time. However, whenever I logged on, I’d never find more than fifteen to sixteen people playing in the busiest ones; even on the weekends.

The actual gameplay consists of creating a character with Heat’s rather limited character customization system, and then embarking on a Wild West-themed, survival sandbox adventure. The game has some surprisingly diverse biomes present, I believe twenty, and they are all very distinct and handsomely rendered. However, I did notice a fair bit of lag during my play throughs which was probably due to the game’s poor optimization issues.

Heat allows you to build roads, build homes, farm your claimed lands, cook meals, ship items, procure mounts and livestock, and yes, even become the president. The latter, however, is merely a matter of someone attaining a certain level and then simply plopping their derriere into the president’s seat.

Oh, and there’s also kidnapping, merry-making, sordid hanky-panky, and the ability to impregnate women. These virtual mommies can even breastfeed after giving birth, a novel gaming mechanic that I don’t think has been attempted before in the history of PC gaming.

The whole hanky-panky, putting-the-bun-in-the-oven deal is described as follows:

“Start a family with other players or NPCs. During the process of love making, the male will have a chance of making the female pregnant. Once pregnant, the female will birth a newborn. The newborn grows to become a baby, the baby then grows up to be a child, the child eventually becomes an adult. A second option is to adopt from an orphanage by purchasing a baby basket in the shipping catalog. The baby will be inside the basket delivered to you. Adoption is very expensive, but provides a guaranteed outcome, whereas the first option may not reliably result in pregnancy due to the possibility for weak seed. Your children are a mix of the visual DNA of the two parents. Babies, children, and adults will need to feed and stay hydrated (players lactate to breastfeed their newborns). If you fail to care for your children, the government will take them from you for mistreatment. Beware of other players, as they can adopt your newborns, babies, and children as their own if you are not nearby (as they would be considered abandoned). So, keep them secret, keep them safe.”

In all, Heat is an interesting survival sandbox game with a lot of interesting concepts going on. However, only time will tell as to whether Codehatch will stick around for the long haul and continue to develop the many rough spots that plague the game right now. Buyers beware.

SCORE: 71%

Heat features some pretty nice looking graphics that make its survival 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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