Developed by Ghost Ship Games and published by Coffee Stain Studios (who also publish Valheim), it was released on May 13th of 2020. It spent around two years being developed in Early Access, and new updates are coming out for the game all the time. Currently bring worked on is modding support.
If you have ever played Left 4 Dead, or Vermintide, you will be familiar with how this game plays. There are some big differences of course, but we will get into that.
Like Left 4 Dead and Vermintide, you have a team of four players that need to complete an objective and then get out alive. Left 4 Dead has no classes, everyone is equal but for the guns they pick up. Vermintide has five classes, but only four can be played in a game, and only one person can be each class. In Deep Rock Galactic, all four players can play the same class, often times to some crazy results. Unlike the other two, instead of facing off against zombies or evil man-rats, you are fighting against waves of bugs.
Also unlike the other two games, in DRG your objectives aren’t just survival, or pushing back the tides of evil. You are miners, tasked with excavating gold, nitra (a red ore that can be used to call in ammo/health drops), and a ton of other made up materials and minerals you can use to upgrade your weapons, armor, and buy cosmetics. Gold is used for this as well. Everything you mine, as well as completing your primary and secondary objectives (and how much extra you complete them) gives you experience. This experience then allows you to unlock more upgrades, primary and secondary weapons, etc.
For further customization there are also perk points, which you can use to buy and upgrade perks. These range from reviving downed teammates faster, to taming a bug to help you, to being able to carry heavy objects faster and throw them further. You do not get these perk points by leveling up, but rather by completing milestones. Every time you beat five Heartstone expeditions, or unlock new beer recipes, buy a certain amount of weapon upgrades (and so many more), you can get a certain number of perk points. If you reach level 25 and promote your Dwarf, you can get one extra perk slot, which can really help.
The game is based around mining, as said before previously, but because of this the maps are fully destructible. There is nothing you cannot explode or mine through, other than bedrock and certain mission items like liquid morkite extraction pumps and other Dwarf tech. This, along with the four classes and their abilities, gives you a ton of options on how to handle the maps, which are all randomly generated, sometimes using large set piece map parts here and there, which can become recognizable after time.
It is hard to get bored with this game, as there are 10 different biomes, all with their distinct hazards and challenges. The Crystalline Caverns have lightning crystals which can damage you, and the enemy. The Fungus Bogs, Radioactive Exclusion Zone, Magma Core, and Glacial Strata all give enemies different kinds of elemental attacks, and some maps just straight up want to kill you, like the Hollow Bough. The Azure Weald and Dense Biozone are some of the hardest, as level three cave complexity and cave length means that there can mean some of the largest, most hard to traverse caves imaginable. They will give you a run for your money.
There are also several different mission types, from your basic Mining Expeditions, to Salvage Operations, Point Extractions, Boss Eliminations, and many more. All of these different mission types can vary in difficulty and complexity along with cave length and cave complexity, making some of them extraordinarily hard. Thankfully missions on the world map reset every half an hour, and there are always dozens to choose from regardless.
Difficulty goes from level 1, to level 5. Generally, most games will be played at difficulty three, with some going to difficulty four. Almost none are played at 2 or 5, and I don’t think I have ever seen a difficulty 1. The harder the difficulty, the more XP and reward money you will get at the end of the mission. So sometimes it can be worth doing easier missions on harder difficulties. There are also lethal hazards and bonuses. You can have any combination, one bonus, one hazard, one bonus and hazard, and now two hazards (but not two bonuses). Bonuses include things like no fall damage, 2x XP, and enemies taking more damage when you head shot them or hit them in weak points. For hazards, there are things like extra flying enemies, enemies doing more damage, and even a limited air supply.
The sound effects in DRG are fantastic, with every weapon, enemy, ability, etc, having a sound effect that really makes them unique and stand out. You can tell from the battle cries of the enemy out in the darkness just what you are going to be facing when you throw your flare out there. Even the different biomes have different ambient noises, and unique sounds for when you are mining through them with your pick axe. The music is also pretty decent when swarms of enemies show up or when you are making a last stand waiting for your pod to show up. Other than that though there isn’t really any music present (other than from the jukebox back at the mission select area). Voice acting is pretty, meh. Your Dwarfs sound more like autistic goblins than anything else, and I actually turned their voices off due to just how annoying they are.
Playing this game with your friends is a blast. Getting a group of three others together and going on a Deep Dive is tons of fun. You can set the difficulty low enough for everyone to just talk and have a good time, or you can pick missions and set the difficulty so things are tense, brutal, or even suicidal. Later on in the game you will get items that you can use at the forge to create cosmetics and weapon over-clocks that you can’t normally buy. In order to get these forge items you will need to complete a weekly event and fill up the blank forge card by completing an event in a mission, or get filled forge cards by doing the Deep Dives.
All in all, this game is a ton of fun with friends, and can be fun to play even when alone and you are playing something else in the background. The graphics are pretty damn good for a voxel based game, the amount of biomes and missions are impressive, and the four different classes and all of their different weapons, equipment, upgrades, and over-clocks make it a ton of fun to try out all kinds of builds supported by different perks. It is also a ton of fun to try and make your Dwarf look either the best, or the ugliest (which isn’t hard, they don’t just sound like goblins, they look more like them too) with all of the different cosmetic items. The great thing is that everything you could buy for real money, you can unlock by playing the game, so don’t worry, they aren’t like Paradox or Electronic Arts.
I would definitely recommend this game, and it is currently having a sale for it’s anniversary, at 40% off, so it is only twenty bucks, that is a damn good price for a game that I have over 250 hours in, and don’t plan to stop playing with my friends any time soon.
Deep Rock Galactic
A fantastic four player co-op game where you mine minerals, complete objectives, and kill a ton of big bugs. Looks great, plays great, and keeps you coming back for more.
- The ranged combat and melee combat feel fantastic.
- The game looks great, and has fantastic lighting effects.
- There are tons and tons of different biomes to play in.
- There is a good selection of different mission types.
- Hazards and bonuses can really change up the way you play.
- The amount of ways you can cuztomize your Dwarf, from weapon and gear upgrades, to different perks, to weapon overlocks, is seriously impressivle.
- The game is very addictive, and promoting all of your Dwarfs is a worthy goal made desirable by all the unlocks you get (and the fact that you don't lose anything you gained getting there).
- The game can be played at any difficulty level you desire, from super easy with no chance of dying, all the way to suicide, you get to choose what feels right for you.
- All cosmetic items can be found and unlocked while playing the game, even the ones for sale.
- A lack of music during most of the game can make it kind of dreary, especially while in single player.
- You will probably want to bring some friends along to play with, as people in public games can be very unreliable.
An extremely impressive game for something so Indie and out of Early Access. I keep coming back for more with my friends, and have a blast every time..