Conan Exiles has already sold a million copies, despite just being released officially, thanks to early access sales. If it’s sold so much already, surely it is a great game? The Conan Universe has had various interpretations, and Conan Exiles is the latest entry to take place in this brutal and unforgiving universe.
You play as a criminal that has been exiled and left for dead, crucified in the desert. The game allows you to customize your character quite a bit, and choose whether you play as a male or female. Whilst you’re hung there dying, a man throws an axe on to the cross you are attached to, this is later revealed to be Conan himself. He sets you free and lets you make your own way in the desert.
Conan Exiles is a survival game at heart, and the tutorial focuses mainly on this aspect of the game. However it doesn’t handhold you at all, other than giving you tasks to complete such as drink, eat, climb. So you will die a lot in the initial stages, especially if you come across an enemy and have no idea how to actually attack (it’s R2 if you’re wondering). There probably needs to be more hand-holding initially if I’m honest, but some may find this approach refreshing.
Despite each weapon having fairly unique animations, the combat itself is quite tedious and boring. If you found Skyrim’s combat a bit button-mashy, this is significantly worse. When you do attack an enemy, sometimes the hit detection is a little off. Also, you can change the camera angle to first person view and fight in this view, but if you equip a shield or a specific weapon, you’ll be kicked back to third person view automatically. Another gripe I had with the camera is that it’s difficult to control when fighting larger enemies, which can get frustrating.
One thing that makes a big difference in this game is how you play it. You can play online, in co-op mode or just yourself. The solo experience is rather slow and difficult to play through, but if you play online, there are servers that can make things much easier due to increased resources. You’ll have to craft weapons, clothing, tools and find food etc. The crafting element in particular is very time consuming early on, simply because you don’t have anything.