In 2018 there are more games than there were PCs 18 years ago. With an abundance of survival games in the Steam Market, there is no doubt that the genre is quite profitable and garners a considerable audience. Given that, it is not uncommon to find startups racking up lines of codes to program open-world survival titles as they are, perhaps, the easiest to engineer with a guaranteed return on investment. If someone asks me what my favourite survival games are, I would out of all honesty, say that they are: Rust and Ark. Being a chump in the online gaming community I have devoted a fair amount of time in both and I’ve had the most fun when I played them with an active squad. But who knew that my opinions would take a sharp U-turn so quickly.
When I came across Green Hell I did not have high expectations. So, when the review copy came in, I decided to give it a run and much to my surprise, I grew obsessed with it.
The Plus(+) Points
A Forest That Has Come Alive-
The best part about Green Hell is its environment design which lays down the enchanting wilderness of the Amazon Rainforest in its vivid shape, supplemented by highly realistic sound effects, further reinforcing it with a hint of atmospheric realism. The degree of hard work that has gone into piecing together every individual asset is a display of great finesse.
Spellbinding, vivid and lifelike.
When I toured down the endless forest, along foothills and the hems of innumerable plateaus, I truly witnessed and felt what I believe the developers wanted the players to experience. There is no other way of saying this, but I actually felt as if I had morphed into the character in the game and been teleported into the wild.
Sanity, Reminiscent of Lovecraftian Tales-
The Sanity factor is what one could argue to be the epitome of realism. When you sleep on the ground you get worms, insects that bury themselves under the skin of your character. Fish bones are used to carve them out, leaving a nasty wound that necessitates treatment. When you are wandering through the jungle leeches would latch on to your skin at random intervals. Other than these, anything that more or less hinders a comfortable livelihood would greatly affect sanity. For example, if you stay within the proximity of a bonfire, your mental stability would be better off than when you are in the dark. Likewise, a healthy diet which comprises of carbs, proteins, fats and an adequate amount of water to keep your vitals functioning is as much a factor contributing to your mental health as are the others.
A Unique Crafting System-
For everything that it does right, Green Hell possesses striking distinctions on the one hand and similarities to many other survival games on the other. The crafting system entails recipes, somewhat similar to what Minecraft, basically following a drag and drop procedure where the items are picked up from the inventory and placed on an uneven slab of stone. In its early access state, most of the items that are craftable are primitive. Including weapons which include a diversity of melee weapons. As for ranged, only a pair of bows is craftable.
The inspection menu is the player’s ability to inspect the character’s limbs for injuries. When worms and leeches appear, they show up on the character’s limbs that the player has to pull out and bandage. Any injury, therefore, would appear on the character’s limbs and the player has to scroll through all four to locate it and treat it. Injuries may vary, snake bites require antivenoms to nullify the neurotoxins. Other injuries can be treated with regular bandages.
Tribal Threat & The The Forces of Nature-
In the haunting wilderness, you are not alone. Occultist tribals and animals will impede your operations at every step. And when the time comes, you have to rely on your trusty weapons to defend you. Hostile animals loitering in the woodland will attack you if you approach them. Jaguars will attack you openly if they detect you; scorpions and snakes will only attack you if you step on them.
While we consider all the good, let our predilections not distract us from the obvious. There’s plenty that is wrong with Green Hell. The character tends to glitch out sometimes, especially after waking up. The Jaguar’s roaring sounds like it is a recording that is been played in an endless loop. The item crafting recipes are extremely limited to a select few primitive tools. NPCs are limited to the meandering tribals chasing after your blood, or jaguars that prowl in the magnificent wilderness or crouch behind the dense undergrowth. The forest, other than these few hostiles, does have many mice and capybaras and many other innocuous creatures for the player to hunt down and survive upon. But, drawing on that the open world that is mostly reliant on the player to step on or come across something dangerous, feels bland and lacking many things that essentially moulds a survival game into what it wants to be. It is lacking the thrill that would keep the players on the edge of their chair, persistently attempting to survive by defeating the threat and not searching for proteins or carbs or water or pulling out leeches and worms out of your skin.
The Bottom Line
Although, in its early access state it does accomplish quite a lot. It is noteworthy that the developers are keeping up and sticking to their deadlines. Every game has its starting phase, and this is Green Hell’s. Let’s hold on to that and see what becomes of it in the future.