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Conan Exiles review

Conan Exiles has quite the offering. A survival game set in the barbaric world of Conan the Barbarian, allowing you the freedom to create your own adventure – build your own homestead or even city – while enduring the odd encounter with other online players who are also forging their own piece of barbaric paradise.

Played from either a first or third person perspective, Conan Exiles is predominantly a survival game with a heavy dose of building. Sound familiar? If you played Ark Survival Evolved it sure will. Conan Exiles takes a heavy cue from the dinosaur romp but also sprinkles in a heavy dose of what Minecraft does best – a world where you can create amazing builds from its rich resources, while offering many adventures for any intrepid explorers that are curious enough to scratch away at its surface.

Left on a cross to die, it is the man himself – Conan – who sets you free and sets you on an adventure to free yourself from a mysterious amulet that adorns your wrist. The next hour is then spent fumbling around, exploring menus and working out what can be picked up and used to make basic tools and weapons.

Your first call is to clothe yourself, unless you enjoy the way your genitals sway in the wind. Day-to-day life also needs tending to, which sees you gather resources, chop wood and hunt. Once collected, you must then turn these raw materials into useable building materials – this is where the Minecraft influence really shows and I’ve seen some incredible builds from vast communities of players working together.

Like many good crafting games, hours fly past as you carve out a small area but there is a huge world out there begging to be explored and like so many crafting games, you may be held back by your own creativity or desire to find an adventure.

There is also a further hindrance; you can’t just go marching off into the wilds. There are many beasts and enemies out there and if you haven’t spent time progressing through the various crafting levels to create bigger and better weapons and armour, you won’t get very far and death can be a real pain in the ass.

Similar to Dark Souls, when you die you lose everything you are carrying and death is made even more painful if you are far from home. Respawning back at your bedroll, you enter once more naked and alone. All your worldly possessions are back at your corpse. Here is where the grind can really annoy. Hours of hard work can be lost in an instant if you have been foolish while adventuring, stumbling into powerful enemies or falling from a great height. Worse is when you trek back to your body to collect your treasures only to find that it has randomly vanished!

The biggest hurdle I have with the survival genre is the steep and brutal learning curve; Conan Exiles opts for an easier path. You need to pay far less consideration to the fact that fruit you collect may be poisonous – death may always be a threat, but some survival games kill you for making the simplest mistake.

Despite the stripped back survival mechanics, life in Conan Exiles can still be pretty rough. Like many other titles in the survival genre, there is little hand holding save a ‘journey’ plotting key points in your life that you can strive for. These teach essential life skills but it’s unfortunate that the stages of crafting you learn aren’t better shown in the menus, which are an utter mess. Hard to navigate and work out what you are actually crafting, it’s clear that console gamers have been completely forgotten about with this terrible UX.

Another part of the game I wrestled with was being able to efficiently build a base. Pieces snapped on to other pieces well enough, but always on the wrong side of where I was aiming and because the menu isn’t clear what pieces I was building, I made some pretty peculiar looking builds. Another issue is that materials aren’t always in your immediate vicinity. Unlike Minecraft, you have to venture miles to retrieve precious ores, during which time your humble dwelling decays against the elements.

I also found the combat to be a huge disappointment, weapon swings, blocks and dodge rolls often missed, were ineffectual or just looked plain silly. The whole combat system lacks any kind of finesse, which other titles like The Witcher or Dark Souls have in abundance.

Questing is in the game; it just lacks a defined path unlike other quest-laden games on the market. Conan Exiles does nail the world it creates and the adventuring is on the right side of survival mechanics that feel fair. Moving up the ladder to stronger equipment and more luxurious dwellings is a great achievement – feeling like you have grafted and adventured long and hard to achieve greatness rather than just because you got to a certain point in the game.

I loved what Conan Exiles sets out to achieve and I will admit to becoming rather hooked to building a small village in my image. I also appreciate that there are so many fantasy adventures that have trod similar ground to Conan Exiles, so it’s great to see a game that brings a new dynamic to the playing field; it just didn’t click for me.

As fun as it is to build up a character, to get to the good stuff is a mighty grind and if you don’t have an interest in craft and survival mechanics, then the adventure that is eventually there for the exploring may be out of reach. Conan Exiles is a slow burner that needs a huge investment of time, but is equally hugely rewarding if you can be bothered…

Thanks to Koch Media for supporting TiX

Conan Exiles launches on Xbox on August 16th

We got a brief glimpse of Conan Exiles on Xbox at Microsoft’s E3 press briefing, but it was very brief and we didn’t get to hear from the developer and publisher, Norwegian based Funcom. Now, however we have had confirmation that the open world survival game, which is set in the world of Conan the Barbarian, will be coming to Game Preview on Xbox One on August 16th 2017.

Not only that, but launching on the same day will be a new, free expansion that introduces a huge new land to explore, bringing the game out of the desert and into the cold, frozen highlands in the north.
In Conan Exiles the game encourages the player to Survive, Build and Dominate.

  • Survive – Journey through a vast, seamless world. Explore crumbling ruins and uncover the history of ancient civilisations. Fend off hunger, thirst, and even insanity as you explore dark dungeons filled with monstrous creatures. Escape scouring sandstorms and bloodthirsty cannibals. Gain knowledge to craft new items and build stronger structures. Unleash your savage fury with brutal attacks that will see heads rolling and limbs flying.
  • Build – Harvest anything from rocks and wood to rare minerals and human flesh. Use forges, workbenches, tanneries, and more to craft tools, armor, and powerful weapons. Construct a home, a fortress, or an entire city using the incredibly powerful building system. Build on almost everything, from ancient ruins to towering mountainsides. Craft a wide variety of furniture and decorations to customize your home and settlement.
  • Dominate – Wage war on enemy players, blow up their city walls, and take control of the Exiled Lands. Capture thralls, break them on the Wheel of Pain, and put them to defend your settlement and craft rare items. Build an altar to your god and bring them offerings to earn their blessing and rewards. Summon and take control of towering avatars, and see your enemies driven before you as you crush their homes and their legacy.

More details of the game can be found on the official website – https://conanexiles.com/

It’s all about construction and destruction in Conan Exiles

They say that home is where your heart is, but according to Joel Bylos, Creative Director at Funcom, home is where you keep the hearts of your enemies and because of this you going to need to build something to keep all those lovely trophies safe. So this is where the latest video from Funcom, the developers of Conan Exiles is going to come in useful as it gives us a unique glimpse into the building, the crafting, and the many different ways players can protect their own or destroy their enemies’ settlements.

In the video Joel Bylos and Lead Designer Oscar Lopez Lacalle describe how the flexible build system can allow players to build virtually anywhere, but how it’s not an empty sandbox game and discoveries will be made of ancient civilisations leading to decisions to either to build on top of, around, or in-between the ancient ruins. They also go on to describe that anything made by the players can also be destroyed and help is at hand as players can summon giant avatars of the gods to assist and lay down destruction. It’s not only enemy players you will have to face as you will also need to protect yourself from the environment, monsters and even cannibals.

Conan Exiles Explore

For those of you unfamiliar with the title, Conan Exiles is an open-world survival game set in the brutal lands of Conan the Barbarian, the world’s greatest fantasy hero. The game can be played on private and public servers, either in multiplayer or local single-player. In the world of Conan Exiles, survival is more than tracking down food and water. Journey through a vast, seamless world filled with the ruins of ancient civilizations, uncovering its dark history and buried secrets as you seek to conquer and dominate the exiled lands.

The good news is that if you are a PC player then you will be able to get your hands on the early access version of the game on January 31st. Unfortunately Xbox One players will have to wait till Spring, but it’s going to be worth it as the Funcom development team announced that they are purely focusing on PC and Xbox One for the time being and other named consoles will be considered at a later date.

For more information about Conan Exiles, keep your eyes peeled to the TiX website or check out the official Conan Exiles site.

Conan Exiles’ new gameplay trailer looks a titan

Conan Exiles

It’s been a little while since Funcom revealed anything new about Conan Exiles. Almost six months it turns out. This new open-world survival title is set in the Conan the Barbarian universe. Well, Funcom have today not only revealed a new gameplay trailer for the game, but also a news of the release date.

Conan Exiles will be a wholly open-world survival game, inspired by the Robert E. Howard stories. You will have to fight to survive while building in order to dominate your enemies. This vast, treacherous world will allow for both single and multi-player gaming.

The game promises to be more than just an exercise in foraging for food and water though. You can journey, like Conan, through a vast and seamless world filled with the ruins of ancient civilisations. Discover the dark history of these lands and it’s buried secrets as you seek to conquer and dominate the exiled lands for yourself.

Each gamer will start out with nothing but their bare hands in Conan Exiles, ready to forge the legacy of your clan. Create simple tools and weapons and use them to develop your simple camp into a gigantic, imposing fortress, surrounded by an entire city. You could enslave the bandits of the exiled lands and bend them to your will over the Wheel of Pain.

Cover yourself in glory, or the blood of your enemies as you sacrifice their still beating hearts on the blood-caked altars of your chosen deity. This could be your true path to power and glory. As an ultimate act of your domination, summon the avatar of your chosen god and use it to lay waste to your foes as they cower in their homes.

And breathe.

Sound fun? Want to get in on the action? Well, Funcom have revealed that the PC version will enter Early Access at the end of January 2017, but more importantly, in the Spring, Conan Exiles will enter the Xbox One Game Preview program.

Here’s the new trailer, for your enjoyment.

The Park review

Take a trip to your local game store and the shelves are full of shooters, sports and adventure titles – the market is well and truly saturated – so when a title like The Park comes along I couldn’t help but sit up and take notice.

The Park is a psychological horror game that makes no excuses for its two-hour campaign. At its dark heart is exploration and storytelling rather than combat, and why not? Outlast managed to execute this perfectly. So what has this sinister looking theme park got up its sleeve? After all, amusement parks are happy places…

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You play as Lorraine, a mother who after a trip to Atlantic Island Park with her son Callum has returned to the park entrance to enquire about her son’s lost teddy bear. Instead of waiting in the car as instructed, Callum charges off into the park, which is closing for the day. As you chase after him something weird, and possibly supernatural, sweeps over the park as night suddenly sets in.

As you explore, you can take a ride on each of the amusements and as expected, things get a bit weird during each ride, and I don’t mean getting funny in the tummy because it goes round fast. The rides, which make you sit through their entirety, are a moment of solace for Lorraine as she recaps her terrible story. Each one ends with an eerie vision, which will twist your perception of what’s happening. While enjoyable, the rides seem like an odd decision to include – I’m looking for my son who has run off, I’ll just play on each ride I come across then some spooky shit happens – to begin with, the rides don’t sit well with the story, only after a second playthrough did I understand their inclusion.

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As you make your way around the park, in what feels like a guided tour, various newspaper clippings, objects and notes are left for you to find – like breadcrumbs from the tale of Hansel and Gretel – these help fill in the wider story about The Park and the various unhappy moments in its history. Most of these are rather small to read and I had to (unwillingly) get closer to the screen.

The Park is best experienced at night, with no lights on and a good pair of headphones cranked up to the max. This will ensure one or two jumps, followed by a wave of embarrassment that Funcom got one over you and made you jump at something quite trivial. This is down to some excellent sound design. The music will penetrate your soul and by the game’s climax, I was feeling as distressed and tired as the angry shouts of Lorraine as she calls in vain for her son to return.

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The Park never outstays its welcome and tells a superb narrative before throwing you into the chilling climax of the game. There’s a lot more to the story than you may initially think and its conclusion is open to interpretation as to what happened to Callum and whether the events within the Park ever existed. This may agitate some gamers who are expecting a neatly wrapped up finale. Postnatal depression, bereavement and the struggles of parenthood are just some of the things I picked up on during my two-hour playthrough. 24 hours after finishing the game I was still trying to unravel the events and meaning of the game, a second playthrough is certainly needed.

Best experienced in one sitting, The Park is a fantastic experiential game and something that I’d love to play in VR. Those of you that are parents will feel that much more for the main character than maybe those without kids, and while short, I really enjoyed my walk in The Park.

Thanks to Funcom and Xbox for supporting TiX

The Park opening times published

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Back in November 2015, we were teased with the announcement that Funcom’s funfair based horror-survival title; The Park was coming to Xbox One. The game saw a successful Hallowe’en release on PC last year and the developer decided that it would be a perfect fit to release on console. Now, Funcom have finally gotten around to revealing a release date.

This will be Funcom’s first console release since Dreamfall: The Longest Journey, way back in 2006. The Park will release on the 3rd of May worldwide and will serve up it’s chills, ice cold.

Just like other psychological-horror titles, the game is massively popular with online streamers and the PC version generated more than 10 million views on Let’s Play YouTube videos. I’m sure that it will generate as much interest on Twitch through Xbox One.

The Park will see you step into Lorraine’s shoes, a mother, whose son goes missing at the abandoned Atlantic Island Park. Players must explore the dilapidated amusement area and face panic and paranoia as they progress. Unravel Lorraine’s story and the history of the funfair itself.

Focusing entirely on intense storytelling and exploration instead of combat and action, this draws inspiration from other first-person exploration games such as Gone Home, Dear Esther and The Vanishing of Ethan Carter. This funfair has a dark and sinister secret. Your task is to search for Lorraine’s son, Callum. Call out for him as you examine clues and listen to Lorraine’s own inner voice as the game progresses.

CEO of Funcom, Rui Casais;

We are thrilled to develop for consoles again. Not only because The Park is a great fit for console gaming, but the process has also given us a lot of experience which we can use for some of our upcoming games, like ‘Conan Exiles’.

The Park is opening it’s gates to Xbox One gamers on the 3rd of May, then. Here’s a reminder from the announcement trailer of what you can expect from the game.

Funcom invites us to The Park

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Psychological horror games are becoming more and more popular. There have been a few releases, like Slender: The Arrival, to games that are coming soon, like Outlast 2.

Funcom had entered the fray at Halloween, on PC with their offering, The Park. It’s been such a success that it’s been announced to be coming to Xbox One in the first quarter of 2016.

Creep round the eerie theme park in a desperate attempt to simply not die.

Funcom’s CEO, Rui Casais;

Encouraged by the positive reactions we have received on the Windows PC version, we are very excited about bringing it to consoles. Exploring a dark, sinister and frankly terrifying location from the comfort of your sofa, with the lights turned off and controller in hand is sure to be a very rewarding experience.

So, step into the shoes of Lorraine, a mother whose son has gone missing at the Atlantic Island Park. Explore the ruins of the funfair and face panic and despair as the story unfolds. Are you ready for The Park?