Your family has been murdered. You’ve been crucified and left to die in the desert. All hope seems lost. But wait, someone is coming to save you. It’s Conan! He has different plans for you. He sets you free…….for whatever reason. My character had a hint of necrophilia. It literally says it on the sheet stuck to my chest. Despite this, Conan thought I was pretty cool, so that’s nice he doesn’t judge. Now that I’m free from my desert grave, so begins my epic journey of beating the shit out of alligators with my fists, dying a lot, and dealing with the horrendous menu and crafting system.
When I was first starting up Conan Exiles (I played the PS4 version), the game begins with a really well done CG cutscene. It really sets the stage for some epic action where you will build your own world of greatness. I was looking forward to the feature everyone was talking about that lets you choose how big your penis is (it sounded hilarious and I enjoy the simple things in life). Unfortunately, that feature is sorely missing from consoles. You can change the size of your endowment, but you can’t see it. It’s hidden under your loincloth. What’s the point of having this feature? I wanted to roam the desolate landscape with a gigantic dong. It would have made dealing with this game a little more bearable.
Once you’ve created your character, you’re dropped into the world. There are no markers telling you where to go. Nothing. You thought Dark Souls didn’t hold your hand? Try playing this. You have to teach yourself everything. There’s a Journey guide that has things on it for you to do, but some of them are very vague. One is “find intelligent signs of life”. I assumed this was for me to find other humans, but literally, everyone I come across wants to kill me. You’re not taught how to use the building features to create shelter. The game doesn’t explain how to learn the various traits and skills or what they do. There are things that pop up on your screen every now and then, but the game never bothers to tell you what these things are. You just roam around and hope for the best. Minecraft I guess is the same, but it’s just done so much better. At least in Minecraft, whenever you come across something or you pick something up, the game explains what it is and what it’s good for. Even the recent Early Access release It Lurks Below gives you quests to show you the basics that will be needed to survive. Everything in this world blends together. Nothing is highlighted for you to pick up. You just have to run through bushes and hope you gather any materials.
You have different meters in the top left-hand corner below your health and stamina. There’s Thirst, Hunger, something I don’t know, and Temperature? Like I said, the game didn’t tell me what they were. You have to keep an eye on these or you will die. Combat is something you usually want to avoid. Typically it results in you just wildly swinging your fists or weapon and hoping for the best (I say the word ‘hope’ a lot when describing Conan Exiles mechanics). The hit detection is very poor. Even simple enemies like deer, that don’t even fight back have insane cat-like reflexes that make them hard to hit targets. It’s just a pain in the ass doing anything in this game.
The menu and crafting system is atrocious. Every time I tried to make an item, it would create it, but 50% of the time it wouldn’t end up in my inventory. The same goes for when I was picking stuff up off the ground. I’d get eggs to eat, but they wouldn’t be in my bag. It’s these kinds of game-breaking experiences that really hindered me from getting any enjoyment out of it..
Conan Exiles is extremely unforgiving, even on the standard difficulty. Co-op is a nice feature, but good luck trying to get someone to play with you. Online is broken up into PVP and PVE. You can join a server but a lot of them are full. If you find some people willing to help out and let you join a clan, that’s great. I just found myself on my own, battling the elements. There were numerous occasions of slowdown, even when I was playing offline.
The only nice things I can say about Conan Exiles is that the world is enormous. It’s a vast landscape of mountains, jungles, and deserts. There’s plenty to see. Also, when you die, you keep the levels and survival skills you’ve gained. You lose everything you were carrying, but you keep all your abilities. No de-leveling here.
Conan Exiles fails to be anything great. It has promise, but with a clunky menu system and awful combat, so-so graphics and game breaking glitches, doing anything is a chore. It’s not worth the $50 price tag right now. Maybe in future patches, it can be some kind of playable game (add in that penis feature please, it sounds hilarious). I’m going to give it another go, just to see if I can get somewhere or understand what exactly the end game is. Maybe I’ll take it slow and figure out how to build a nice little house in the oasis. It seems like the kind of game you could have fun messing around with friends online, but for the price it costs, you could do so much better. For now, I recommend you just play Minecraft, It Lurks Below or any other survival game out on the market right now for a better experience. – NVJ
Conan Exiles is now available on PS4, Xbox One & PC
PS4 Review code provided by Funcom