Friday, August 31, 2018
Conan Exiles (Xbox One) Update
Almost a year ago, I played an early access for Conan Exiles on Xbox One. Now, the full game has been released, and I figured I would jump back in for a few hours to see what has changed.
Wow. First off, the game is now third person. I think it was first person before, but I'm not 100% positive on that. Third person makes the combat a lot easier to manage. However, combat is still very clunky. Aiming doesn't get thrown off by being hit anymore, but still has strict accuracy. It's a step in the right direction, though. The equipment wheel is still used to equip things from your inventory, like weapons. It's still cumbersome, and takes a lot longer than I'd like to equip and un-equip items. This hurts combat, as it is slower to ready and stow your weapon, and doubly so if you want to use a shield. It's not a great solution when Minecraft figured a better one several years ago.
So what about building? Well, there was some improvement in actually getting pieces to snap together. This means it is much more reliable to make a structure that looks like an actual structure, and not some impossible hodgepodge of parts. It's not perfect, since I had several instances of not being able to put a piece where I wanted, even when nothing was in the way. But again, it's still an improvement over what I originally experienced.
Much like combat and building, the UI has improved, but is still more cumbersome than it needs to be. Moving items to from your inventory to your equipment wheel, to leveling up, all feel like a chore. Text is either the right size, or way too small to read on a TV. Stats do have descriptions, and it's easier to see what you will get by spending your skill points. The game also displays the prerequisite skills needed for higher level ones. It's just a picture, so you have to manually try to match it up.
It seems as though the developers listened to people like me, and added some basic tutorials. They are enough to get you started on the right foot, so the game isn't so obtuse. There's also a neat checklist of things to do in the game. I like that. If you want to play but aren't sure what to do, just check the list, and try to do something from that. Thankfully, there is also a map. It is glorious. Certain locations get automatically marked on it, too.
Even so, the game isn't overly fun at first. You can still only have one save file, which is absurd. It takes awhile to gather enough resources to build, and food/water to survive. But tucked away in the pause menu, there is a magic option that makes the game a lot of fun. You can turn on admin controls. This allows you to teleport, turn off hunger/thirst, give yourself items, or even be invincible. It is so much fun to build things when you don't run out of items part way through. Well, you can still run out, but it's easy to spawn more. Want some high level torches so you can see? Poof. What a strong sword for those pesky monsters? Poof. Want 100 walls so you can build a nice big house? Poof. The admin controls make it happen.
It might sound silly to some, but it was a game changer for me. No longer worrying about the mundane stuff like eating, or how cumbersome things are, is a great way to increase my enjoyment. Being able to check out high level stuff, or build interesting buildings is great. I could travel all over the map, seeing what is out there. The hassle-free exploration was enough to satisfy me...the rest is just a bonus. If you are an achievement hunter, you can even use the admin controls to make all but one a simple affair. Pretty nice.
Conan Exiles is surely improved from the game preview version available last year. While still clunky, combat, building, and the UI have improved. It's still not the most fun experience you can have in a survival game, but the admin controls definitely save the game, giving it a lot of entertainment value.
The admin controls are amazing.
UI, combat, and building still feel cumbersome.
You can build the torture wheel thing from the beginning of the first Conan movie. I don't even think it does anything. You can also capture enemies and force them to work in it. Crazy!
(Review code for Conan Exiles was provided by the publisher)