The Culling from Xaviant Games is quickly rising up the steam charts. One of the reason why it is doing so well is because it is a brand new game that is built around the Battle Royal situations found in Hunger games and Running Man. Many ideas are lifted directly from those films including but not limited to silly haircuts and lots of crafting.
Lets dive deeper to see what all the rage is about. At the beginning of each match 16 players are dropped into a vast area with many different biomessuch as grasslands, forests, and lakes totally empty handed. There are also many abandoned buildings scattered through out the map. The premise of the game is to kill everybody and be the sole survivor or you can also join a team and have a team deathmatch instead. The match is narrated by the announcer of the game show and you can hear the crowd reacting to different situations as “the show” moves along.
The Culling depends very heavily on crafting. You need to make all of your weapons by using rocks and sticks. That is your only method of gaining weapons and items until you have killed enough people to get “F.U.N.C” credits. Two rocks allow you to craft a knife; another stone will allow you to improve your knife into a hatchet. Two branches allow you to craft a bandage. You can keep using different sticks and stones to make basic armor and other weapons to have at your disposal.
F.U.N.C. points are needed to craft almost everything. It takes five credits to build a knife or a bandage. You can try to stay alive and save them up to be able to summon an air drop full of pre selected murderous goodies but unfortunately you’ll need 120 F.U.N.C. credits to be able to achieve the air drop. Credits are gained by exploring and by killing. You can also recycle unwanted items at special recycling stations. The point being that having a limited inventory and the credit restriction being able to craft anything is a big accomplishment
Considering all this crafting is a must, and you must do it very quickly because if you don’t have a good weapon by the time you come across your inevitable first enemy, you will be dead just as quick as the game started. Your best bet in the beginning of the round is to try to use stealth to your advantage and to try to back stab stronger players whenever possible. While the game has some decent graphics, especially on the extreme setting, the animations and physics leave a lot to be desired. Most close encounters end up looking like rag dolls bouncing against each other until one eventually dies. Keep in mind also that there is no respawn leading to matches being over very quickly for most players. This does lead to a bit of frustrations while trying to figure out exactly how to play the game.
While engaged in a melee fight, it doesnt simply boil down to smashing the mouse button and hoping to win. You actually have a few techniques that you can use to give yourself a better chance of survival. You can try to block which makes your enemy stagger if they hit you. To counteract the blocking mechanism you can “push” a blocking player to bring down their guard and allow you to attack without fear of being staggered. This all plays out like a complicated dance involving rock paper scissors.
Another issue that I had was that most of the enemies I came across during my time with The Culling, had all sorts of body armor and advanced weapons. My player was empty handed and was simply wearing a t-shirt and jeans. It would be an understatement to say that I had a very hard time winning any of my enemy encounters.
While the idea of the game seems to be on the right track, some of the issues i experienced are keeping me from fully recommending this game. I would love to see the developers attend to some of the issues I experienced and also hopefully using better animations and a more level playing field to start. All in all The Culling is showing promise and it is a game that I will keep my eye on while it continues through its Early Access via Steam.