Deep Rock Galactic
Gameplay 9
Graphics 9
Sound 9

Deep Rock Galactic is a very satisfying co-op first-person shooter starring dwarves fighting space spiders and other foes. The game is still fun to play solo, but it really shines when you team up with three other players using different classes. The procedurally generated cave systems, different biomes, and unique mission types make this a game that can keep you busy for a long time. It might seem a little daunting at first, but there are enough tutorials to ease you into the swing of things, and you’ll be mining and shooting with the best of them in no time.

Gameplay: A great combination of exploration, mining, and all-out shooting.

Graphics: The low-poly visuals look good, and some of the biomes are downright beautiful.

Sound: The dwarves are all very vocal, and the synth soundtrack is excellent

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Deep Rock Galactic

Developer: Ghost Ship Games | Publisher: Coffee Stain Publishing | Release Date: 2020 | Genre: First Person Shooter / Action / Co-op | Website: Official Website | Purchase: Steam

Do you have a sense of adventure, a careless attitude towards personal safety, and a love of gold? If so, you might want to consider signing up in the most Tenacious spacing mining corporation in the known galaxy, Deep Rock Galactic. You’ll be just in time to take part in their most daring mining operation to date, the complete subjugation of the planet HOXXES IV. It’s the single most lucrative mining location in the galaxy, so don’t let the fact that it is also the most hostile place ever mapped put you off!

Deep Rock Galactic was initially released on Steam Early Access back in 2018 and, after two years, emerged as a full-fledged game in 2020. A year later, the developer Ghost Ship Games is still not showing any signs of slowing down when it comes to updates and content. Even more surprising is that all of the new additions so far are free, apart from a few cosmetic bundles. This is quite a rarity in this day and age of games shipping with multiple season passes and day one DLCs.

For those who missed out on all the fuss, Deep Rock Galactic is a cooperative first-person shooter for one to four players. The goal is to choose a dwarf from one of four available classes and then team up with friends or head out alone to take on the procedurally generated cave systems of HOXXES IV. The planet is absolutely loaded with precious minerals, but it is also home to a rather nasty collection of space spiders and other hostile critters. There are different primary and secondary missions in Deep Rock Galactic, but each one boils down to getting the job done and then getting out before it is too late.

Missions in Deep Rock Galactic play out in first person, which allows your dwarf to get up close and personal with all the mining and fighting. Although friendly fire is a thing in the game, it is not very productive, so the focus is on taking down the hordes of enemies infesting the caves. Dealing with the occasional stragglers is manageable, but every so often, a swarm of these creatures will appear. This usually marks the point where the whole team should focus on survival instead of mining. Only one dwarf has to make it to the escape pod at the end of a mission for success, but players can revive fallen companions if they are down. This encourages players to cooperate and stick together, especially in the harder hazard settings where the environments can be just as lethal as the enemies.

Each mission in the game is selected from the Rig, which serves as the hub for the game. It takes the form of a cozy space station, complete with a bar operated by a beer serving robot, a jukebox playing classy tunes, and a barrel-kicking mini-game to pass the time while waiting for the rest of your team to get ready.

The Rig is also dotted with terminals where you can unlock new perks, change your class or load-out, purchase new gear and cosmetics, or craft overclock modules for your weapons. Various types of resources and credits are needed for these, which along with experience points, can be earned during the actual missions. The Rig makes for a nice breather from the action-packed missions as you can dance around in front of the jukebox, down a beer with your team members, or see if you have enough credits for a bigger beard than your friends.

When it comes to the actual missions, there are a few different types on offer, and as mentioned earlier, the developers continue to add more to the game. At the time of publishing, players can go hunting for special eggs, mine the required amount of specific minerals, or track down all the unique glowing gems called Aquarqs. There are also salvage operations where the objective is to find and repair the mini mules and crashed drop pod of dwarves who did not survive their mission. On-Site Refining is a mission where liquid “Morkite” has to be extracted by building and defending special pipelines, while Escort Duty involves riding an autonomous drilldozer to a special rock called the Ommoran Heartstone and then cracking it open. Finally, Elimination sees your dwarves take on the biggest and baddest bosses on HOXXES IV, the dreadnoughts. Again, the developers added some of these missions after the game’s release and promised more for the future.

While there’s a decent amount of variety in the mission types, the procedurally generated caves also help keep things fresh. In addition, the hazard levels and random mutators also keep players on their toes. The focus should be on completing the primary and secondary objectives. Still, exploring can also be rewarding thanks to random discoveries such as machine events, dead dwarf’s helmets, and the dreaded Bet-C. These might sound like Greek to players unfamiliar with the game, but Deep Rock Galactic is surprisingly easy to get into, and it doesn’t take long to get to the fun parts.

Another area where Deep Rock Galactic shines is the variety in terms of player classes. Dwarves can be engineers, gunners, drillers, or scouts, all with their own unique accessories, skills, and load-outs. Each class has two primary and two secondary weapons, although the latter has to be unlocked first. Their skills are also geared towards helping the team, so gunners can put down shields or permanent ziplines, drillers can tear through the terrain very quickly, scouts can light up dark caverns, and engineers can build platforms as well as sentries. Not all classes are vital for all mission types, but they all get their time to shine at some point. Of course, players can earn experience points for each class and then level up to earn the coveted “promotion” when they reach level 25. This opens up end-game content such as Deep Dives, which are tough enough to challenge hardened teams. Thanks to a drone companion, the game is still very playable solo, but the experience doesn’t come close to playing with a full team.

Visually, Ghost Ship Games have opted for a low-poly art style that actually looks pretty good. Everything in the game has sharp edges, but this matches the gritty aesthetic of the miners and their surroundings. The caves in Deep Rock Galactic are generally quite dark, so constantly dropping glowsticks helps to illuminate your surroundings. However, occasionally you’ll also encounter biomes with bioluminescent plants that make you feel like you’ve ventured onto the set of Avatar. There’s also a ton of visual customization options for your dwarves, even without splashing out on the paid cosmetics.

Ghost Ship Games have also done a fine job with the audio in the game as the dwarfs are constantly making quips or yelling at each other. A dwarf back on the Rig will keep the team updated on objectives, and incoming swarms and enemies also have their own distinct sounds. The sound of a Mactera Grabber lurking somewhere in the dark is something players will very quickly come to recognize and dread. A special mention should also go to the synth-heavy soundtrack, which kicks in when the action ramps up as it fits the game perfectly. Cooperation is essential, but voice chat is not really needed, thanks to the ability to point out things in the environment. Players can draw the attention of their companions to minerals, enemies, and objectives or set down waypoints to help guide them without ever having to utter a word. You don’t even have to curse at players whose aiming skills are lacking, as your dwarf will do it for you if they get hit by friendly fire.

The controls in Deep Rock Galactic are solid, and the shooting and traversal feel good. The classes all control differently, so as a scout, you’ll spend a lot of time zipping along like spider-man while diggers will spend a little more time looking at the 3D topographical map to plot optimal paths for their tunnels. The developers have stated that they were inspired by Left for Dead and Minecraft when making this game, and it clearly shows. Using a pickaxe to mine for minerals to deposit in your M.U.L.E is just as satisfying as making a stand with your team members to fend off a swarm of enemies. The game can become a little grindy after you have experienced all the mission types a few times, but the weekly assignments and Deep Dive Elite missions provide a good reason for coming back for more. The developers have also been promising mod support which will make for more interesting additions to the game by players.

Overall, Deep Rock Galactic is a great game that belongs in the library of every PVE co-op fan. The primary gameplay loop is very addictive, and the regular free updates continue to improve an already excellent title. It is a game that can be played very relaxed on the easier hazard levels, while experienced players can opt for overwhelming odds where there is never a dull moment. Regardless of your skill level or playing style, there is something for everyone in Deep Rock Galactic.

System Requirements

  • Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system
  • OS: Windows 7 64 Bit
  • Processor: 2.4 GHz Dual Core
  • Memory: 6 GB RAM
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 or AMD Radeon HD 5770 /w 1GB VRAM
  • DirectX: Version 11
  • Network: Broadband Internet connection
  • Storage: 3 GB available space
  • Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system
  • OS: Windows 10 64 Bit
  • Processor: 2.4 GHz Quad Core
  • Memory: 8 GB RAM
  • Graphics: NVIDIA 970 / AMD Radeon 290
  • DirectX: Version 11
  • Network: Broadband Internet connection
  • Storage: 3 GB available space

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