Savage Lands is yet another entry into the rapidly expanding survival genre that’s arrived this year. Making its way into the Early Access program, Savage Lands released earlier this year to a moderately positive reception, and has since only improved. While Savage Lands is clearly not a perfect title, it has the potential to be something great. The success of survival games like Rust and Ark: Survival Evolved led to the rapid development of similar games in the genre.
Like many survival games, you wake up marooned on the shores of some foreign land. Savage Lands opts to remove any sense of biomes and sticks you straight onto a frozen landscape, where it seems to be experiencing an endless winter. The snow and winter effects are quite impressive, but they are let down a bit my the average graphics of the other aspects of the world, and the lack of environments that aren’t white.
Also like other, similar titles, Savage Lands may seem overwhelmingly difficult at first, but if you stick with it you’ll quickly adapt to the harsh conditions. The game is being constantly rebalanced, so it’s difficult to pin anything that is too challenging or too easy on the developer, but there are a few questionable decisions that have been left in place. For one thing, the only real resource you need, food, is either ridiculously easy or ridiculously difficult to obtain. If you go about things the logical way, and hunt food that doesn’t hunt you, you may be disappointed. For some odd reason the relatively easy-to-kill wolves that actively seek you out contain meat that is nearly as beneficial as deer meat, and seeing as how deer are extremely (but realistically) quick, it doesn’t seem worth the effort. Decisions like these narrow the scope of the game, taking the two experiences of hunting and surviving combat and mashing them into one simple task, kill wolves. Resource gathering can feel repetitive, but it’s the same in all survival games. I’ve personally played DayZ and H1Z1 and despite the lack of Zombies in those titles, resource gathering can still feel tedious.
While there are wolves, pigs, bears, deer and food, not everything in Savage Lands is so realistic. Savage Lands also falls under the fantasy category, sporting tree-giants, skeletons, and dragons. While these enemies are quite unique, they’re all that the game has to offer. The dragon sightings are extremely rare, and combat is finicky at best. In fact, at least in its current state, you should stay out of Savage Land’s PvP mode as you’ll quickly grow tired of the clunky combat that doesn’t always make sense.
If you can tolerate the combat long enough to obtain a stable character, you’ll probably start to notice that there is little left to do, aside from mastering the game’s quirks. The late-game content is low and unnecessary. You can survive well enough with basic materials if you become skilled enough in the game, and in PvP you’ll probably lose that gear to frustration.
As I said before, Savage Lands has potential. It has a unique (albeit limited) environment, with fun enemies and a survival theme. On occasion the scenery will catch your eye, especially with the snow effects, but the content is limited and the game has too many issues at the moment to wholeheartedly recommend. That said, this might be a title to keep your eye on.