Deep Rock Galactic Review
Contributed by CompleteNOOB
Do you like fantasy dwarves? What about spaces dwarves? If you answered yes to either of those questions, then you should try Deep Rock Galactic.
You, alongside three other dwarves (or a robot if you play solo), get sent to the bowels of a dangerous alien world to mine precious minerals. Each dwarf brings his own specialized gear: weapons, grenades, and tools. The harder the difficulty, the more you have to cooperate and use every piece of equipment you have to survive long enough to succeed at your mission.
This game looks good, with its own detailed style of animation. If you want to play casually, you can play at a lower difficulty to explore caves with just a few enemies to fight off. I’d say this type of play would be enjoyable for a novice player, but beware those dwarves swear a lot, even at the lowest difficulty! Parents of young children be warned.
The procedurally generated caves are gorgeous, and there are a total of 10 different biomes, each with its own unique look. Biomes also add variety to the gameplay by featuring environmental hazards, such as the radioactive crystals unique to the “Radioactive Exclusion Zone”, the storms and crevasses of the “Glacial Strata”, or the earthquakes and lava geysers found in the “Magma Core”. Some biomes don’t have environmental hazards but include unique enemies to try and throw a wrench in your team’s plans.
Each dwarf type/class makes use of a different mobility tool. The Scout is set apart since his tool, a grappling hook, gives him incredible mobility but doesn’t directly benefits his teammates. The Gunner can set zip lines, which allows the entire team to get up or down a cliff, or to get across a chasm. Standing in the middle of a zip line also offers a relatively safe spot to shoot enemies from… if you can take care of ranged enemies quickly enough. The Engineer has a very versatile gun that can shoot platforms, which can help players access minerals on walls, cushion high falls, or funnel enemies to make a position more defensible. The Driller makes short work of the thin walls separating adjacent cave sections, can access some out-of-reach resources, or dig a tunnel to go back to the drop pod more safely at the end of the mission. It is important that the team uses these tools together to get past obstacles and reach minerals. This may sound a bit complicated at first, but it’s actually pretty intuitive. Each tool can be used to solve different and specific problems so they tend to complement each other quite nicely, allowing teams to coordinate naturally.
The most straightforward mission type is the Mining Expedition. It is generally the fastest mission type, since a short one can be completed in less than 10 minutes. The team has to keep going deeper into the cave until they mine their quota of green “Morkite”. Each section of the cave is initially full of enemies that you have to deal with before being able to mine safely. However, the game will eventually throw swarms at you. You get 20 second warnings and then you have to defend yourself and survive until the swarm eventually dies out. You can then resume your mission and mine as much as you can before the next swarm gets triggered. As of this date, there are six other mission types with differences in flavor and pacing. To give a few examples, Salvage Operation requires you to survive huge swarms while holding a specific point, preventing you from retreating to another position if things get out of hand. Escort Duty is the longest mission type, taking up to half an hour for a single mission, but it’s refreshing to play a game that actually has good escort missions for a change. During Point Extraction, enemies keep spawning faster and faster, making it a race against the clock. Elimination missions require you to take down up to three huge bosses.
You can count around 20 different non-boss enemies, but they can be grouped into three categories. First, there are small basic melee enemies that try to overwhelm you with sheer numbers. Then there are big armored enemies, slower, that will pressure you until you focus enough damage to kill them, or fall back. Finally, some enemies possess ranged attacks. When fighting off a swarm, it’s imperative to have some AoE attacks to clear the grunts closing in, high single-target damage for armored enemies, and some long-range weaponry for those ranged enemies that can attack from afar. Note that ammo economy is important in this game. You start a mission with limited ammunition. To resupply, you are required to spend specific minerals you’ve mined during the current mission.
As for the weapons, each dwarf must choose between two primaries and two secondaries. For instance, a Gunner may choose between the “Lead Storm” Minigun, which specializes in single-target DPS, or the Heavy Autocannon, which focuses on AoE damage. The Scout can choose between the well-rounded “Deepcore” Rifle and the “M1000” Semi-Automatic Rifle. One provides better ammo while the other delivers long-range damage. Weapons are balanced enough that everyone can choose the loadout they like and make it work. They can also be customized with (quick to unlock) mods. You can choose to use these mods to either offload your weapons’ weaknesses or lean into their strengths. As you progress, you will eventually unlock special mods called “overclocks” to further adapt weapons to your preferred gameplay style. Overclocks can sometimes drastically alter a weapon. For example, the Engineer’s personal grenade launcher, a good AoE weapon in its own right, can turn into a devastating nuke launcher.
The developers at Ghost Ship improved this game a lot since its early-access release in 2018. And they kept adding free content after its official release in May 2020. They added new biomes, new mission types, more cosmetics, and have new weapons on the way for the upcoming update 35. The developers stated in a stream that they would keep adding free content for “as long as it is profitable for [them] to do so.” I like this game, so go buy it, because I want to keep getting more content!