Rust Early Access Review

Much like my previously reviewed game, Nether, Rust is yet another game that could be considered an online evil simulator that has joined the line behind DayZ. However, unlike others that have decided to simply follow in line with the rest, Facepunch Studios have taken inspiration from other sources, like S.T.A.L.K.E.R. and Minecraft, and melded these inspirations together to make a sum greater than the whole of its parts.

Again, like my last review, it puts me in an awkward position because I’ve given away the conclusion – but it’s well worth reading about the journey in this, my Rust Early Access Review.


To Die Or Not To Die

Rust, like those before it, is a game of survival. Unlike the poplar DayZ and it’s successors, the other games that Rust has adapted from has created a whole different world, one that can be even more brutal than those that came before it.

When starting up you begin with a rock, a bandage and a torch. These are all you’re given in your quest to survive your first day, and all of them will be needed. The rock is your sole means of collecting materials, by either bashing it against Trees, Piles of wood, rocks or animals, each giving you something essential for the future. After gathering enough wood you’ll need to build yourself a little shack and, if you’re smart, a door for that shack.

If you’re unluckily, or you spent too much time looking around and figuring out roughly where you are, you wont have gathered enough to settle down. If that’s the case, it means you’ll need at least a camp fire to keep yourself warm at night, because it certainly gets cold. With the heat and cold in mind, another thing to remember is that every action consumes calories, or energy, and running out of energy leads to starvation which slowly saps your health until your die.

Beyond starvation, the other likely ways for you to die are through either an animal, say a Bear or Wolf, mauling you to death. A zombie also gnawing and tearing you apart is also a possibility, which is an event unlikely to happen in a later release (more on that later). Radiation sickness is also a possibility, as there are hotspots spread throughout the area. However, the most likely way for you to end up as a corpse is some random person taking you out and looting you for whatever you’ve got on you, or simply killing you because humans are downright evil.


The World You Live In

No matter where you look, other players have made the most visible mark on the landscape. While there are a few pre-built locations in the world, these being small radiation filled towns or areas, the majority of structures you’ll see are ones built by other people. These wont be the small shacks mentioned earlier, but huge houses, even castles, made out of wood and, by the more stocked up players, low quality metal. These could have been built by one person, or even a group of them.

What adds to this feeling of an inhabited and living world is that some of these buildings you encounter will be simply ruins. These are places that people spent the time building and no longer inhabit, maybe they were sieged by others and then looted or maybe they just moved on to a better location. Either way, time takes it’s toll and parts of buildings eventually just fall apart if they aren’t repaired. Walking around and seeing these ruins is always interesting as it adds a level of history to the world and sometimes you can find things people left behind.

Some of these buildings, if you recognise them, will also be essential for navigation. There is no map in Rust, unless you look at one of the many player-made maps, which can make finding your way around difficult to say the least, unless you learn the scenery throughout your travels. This is possible, the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, the coast is to the south with a huge mountain range to the north, with two mountains in the middle and a single road circling around the main inhabited area. The only problem with navigating by terrain is that it all looks pretty similar.

Even though it looks similar pretty much wherever you go, there is certainly nothing wrong with the visuals. On the higher settings it can look absolutely brilliant, especially when the sun rises and sets, watching the rays of light shine through the trees or even through your very own fort windows.


Social Darwinism

What makes Rust the excellent game it is, is the way it can turn anything and everything into your own personal story. This isn’t the sort of story that can be scripted, it can only happen in a living, breathing world, where the truly unexpected happens because it’s other people that are at least partly in charge of your fate.

One such example of this came early in my adventures. Using a map online I found my way to a valley, rich in resources. I’d gathered enough to build myself two wooden shacks. One night I heard a person rustling in the grass outside of my shack. Having been killed before I decided to stay still and be quiet, but sadly the shacks have cracks in them and he saw me moving, as well as the camp fire I’d set to keep warm and cook some meat.

“I know you’re in there” He said over voice chat
I didn’t say a thing. Keeping still, hoping he’d go away.
“You may as well open up. I can see you. All I want is some food”
I decided to pluck up the courage to let it known I was, indeed, there, so I simply said “I’m not opening the door. I’ve been killed too many times already”
“I’ll not kill you, I’ll even move away from the door and let you drop it off”

I decided that caution was the better option to take so I split up my food, separating off a small amount, opened the door and popped the food down for the stranger. Almost as soon as i’d dropped it I heard an arrow whizz from behind my head, fired by another person, I quickly ran back into my shed and eventually heard them go away.

Heading out the next morning I checked around, wary of anybody that may be around. About ten minutes in I heard a few gunshots and saw the two people who tried to rob me the night before running towards me, away from another person in what I later came to recognise as Kevlar armour. I ran away, watching the chat bar for signs that the two I knew from earlier had been killed, watching one of them swear pointed me to that fact. Then bullets started hitting the ground around me, I eventually made it into one of my shacks. Then, i heard ticking, a short time later an explosion and I was mowed down by the man in black. This is life in Rust.


However, being in alpha it still has a few changes to undergo. Small issues like the meat gained from animals is always chicken meat for some inexplicable reason, whether you get it from a boar, wolf or bear. The aforementioned zombies are to be phased out eventually. They act as a source of high end loot for now, but the end goal seems to be that the high end loot will only come from air drops or from being found in the high-radiation zones. Eventually, when the higher limit servers that are being tested, are rolled out and perfected the map will probably end up being a lot larger than it currently is, maybe even offering other maps.

Much like the previously reviewed Nether, this is only suffering from the lack of content and a few small issues. Indeed, when a later promise is that content, and the hardest AI enemy, is going to be removed then it seems a strange thing that you should look forward to it. Rust is promising to be the most player oriented game there is. It could possibly even be there already.

Is this worth checking out? Yes, yes it is. It offers more opportunity to experience your own personal story than any game before it, if only because your house can be raided by evil, cretinous, humans. Horrible bunch of things they are, glad I’m not one of them.

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