Earth: Revival mixes a lot of different ingredients: there are some survival game systems, Iron Man flight controls, MMO assault and lodging mechanics, a shiba inu armed with a cannon, and some skillful shooting. It’s a kind of food that cleans out the store cupboard, and that has both good and not-so-good connotations.
So let’s start with the good. I spend most of my practice session completing a dungeon, fighting off seemingly endless waves of mutated insectoids while running between target nodes, all on the way to a boss fight against the hive queen. It’s a brilliant display of the stylish, fast-paced combat of Earth: Revival.
You can move quickly, dodge, and roll left or right to avoid an immediate attack, run, or do a quick dash, and the controls feel tight and precise whether you’re on PC or mobile. You carry two weapons at any one time, including sci-fi blunderbusses, nondescript assault rifles, modern bows, and even two-handed melee options, and each weapon has two additional abilities that complement its primary fire. And if that wasn’t enough, from time to time you’ll be able to activate and equip power armor, which basically turns you into Iron Man.
More impressive is how much work has gone into making sure every move and attack feels heavy. Gunshots hit your eardrums, muzzle flashes illuminate the environment, and weapons shake and wobble the harder you pull the trigger. Melee combat is much less compelling, and there’s very little visual feedback when you’re the one being hit, so if you normally head towards melee builds, I’d recommend reconsidering the distance for Earth: Revival.
Outside of the dungeons, the experience is a bit looser. The open world is made up of several biomes, each with dozens of resource nodes, enemy types, and world bosses. You can get around quickly on a Tron-like bike, but on foot things feel pretty sparse. Walk to some rocks you can mine, farm some mutated enemies for materials, drop everything off for money in the next town, or craft something while out in the wild; you get the gist. It feels a bit empty and unloving compared to the strictly designed dungeon brawl that the demo begins with.
There are survival systems to deal with, occasionally forcing you to track down water and food, but it seems strange to be searching the world for rations when you can periodically strap yourself into a Gundam and unleash a barrage of homing missiles. My partner is a shiba inu who wears a padded jacket, so how come my dog has a drip but I’m sipping water from a pond? Resources cannot be so scarce. Is not a bad experience at all, but it’s rare.
And there are many more systems that I have yet to see in action. Base building is almost as deep as Fallout 4’s settlement building. You lay out every wall, floor, and door, choose the architectural style, furnish it, and paint it however you like. There are physics-based puzzles, cooking stations, crafting trees, and RPG-like upgrade paths. If all of that comes together succinctly, Earth: Revival could be a hit, but it’s too early to tell.
Earth: Revival is set to release for PC and mobile in 2023. Head over to our lists of the best MMOs or multiplayer games on PC for more massive multiplayer goodness.