Review by Richard Winstone
With the battle royal Genre growing so fast, has the twists and turns provided by Fear the Wolves got what it takes to enter into this lucrative space.
PubG, fortnight, H1Z1, Apex Legends, COD’s Blackout, there is no hiding from it the battle royal genre is HUGE and growing. With the newer contenders using a series of quirky game mechanics to try and make them stand out from the crowd. So how has Vostok game tried to differentiate themselves from the pack, firstly the shrinking circle is gone… we now have a grid system that removes playable areas, you don’t need to be the last man standing, you can extract via helicopter and win, dynamic weather with effects on gameplay, oh and the added AI wolves to hunt you down and kill you.
Either as a lone wolf (pun intended) or as a Duo your start the game in Chernobyl a 25km squared map in an up to 40 player battle royal, there is a really post-apocalyptic feel to the environment that’s only increased with the anomalies and adrenaline infections forcing you to stop looting and run for your lives. The loot system has also had a little reboot, with wolf invested radioactive areas holding the best loot, the choice is yours, run in and take the permanent damage to get the best weapons or hope to find the right gear early game to allow you to freely roam them later, maps with hidden stashes of the best guns and gear can also be found at random. The jump into the map feature has gone allowing players to pick where they start also showing where
So why is it that the largest game I had involved nine other players a lobby that took 15 minutes to get, I won my first 7 games in a row just by running away from the wolves and not dying. And on that note, the wolves, after my 3rd encounter where I was too ill-equipped to fight them, I simply run away, yes, your faster than the mutant wolves and they will simply stop chasing you once you leave the town that they were guarding. Yes, fighting them has its advantages as long as you can kill the matriarch, she will not engage you directly only howl for assistance, but if you fend off the others and kill her, you can remove her heart preventing other wolves from attacking you and also allowing you to call nearby wolves to assist you in taking down your opponents.
In general, the game mechanics are pretty smooth although very basic no leaning, no prone position, no vaulting over object even a rickety fence, the gun firing animation although realistic, its tricky the recoil is excessive and requires a lot of getting used to, for new players this will be very daunting, maybe a lobby firing range would be more beneficial than being allowed to explore the map as it currently does.
Fear the Wolves biggest issue is the player base, it’s very small, I done a little digging into its past and the early access seamed to be the deciding factor, Countless post about lag and connection issues, It was to early access and a large amount of the player base was left disgruntled, I didn’t play it in early access, so I cant talk about how it was then, but now it smooth no noticeable lag but that could be down to the limited player base.
As much as I liked the premise and the principles of the game I couldn’t in good conscience suggest anyone buying the game unless there a few hundred all buying it and starting to play on the same day. Maybe a free weekend or free to play, with cosmetic upgrades micro transactions that are all the rage now could save this title, what holds a lot of promise was let down by poor marketing and a terrible release, it really is a shame. I fear its an early grave for Fear the Wolves.
Playability 2/10 (purely down to the lack of player)