By Remko Molenaar (Proxzor)
Ever since I started playing games I have had a chemical romance with shooters; the genre itself is just too good and a proper shooter blows a proper MMO out of the water for me when even in quality measures. Unfortunately in the last few years we haven’t really seen a proper new IP in the shooter genre. Sure the new hero shooter genre is flourishing, and the major flagship shooters continue to dominate, and if you’ve found your niche in those then you are good. But if what’s out isn’t what you’re looking for, then you have been shot out of luck. I want something that can make me question what happened with the last six hours of my life, while offering a setting that feels original. Survarium, for instance, was meant to be so much more than just a simple shooter. The initial idea was to make it a game about survival, with an open world around it. But development was slow, and with only the PvP game mode launched, development took a different turn, and decided to stick with it.
It’s been over 3 years since I first noticed Survarium. I had big hopes it could reach the survival game the devs originally hyped it as. It sure took a while realizing the great concept and awesome concept art, and while not delivering on all promises, the one they certainly got right was the atmosphere. Survarium is one of those shooters where it just feels amazing to be alive and walking around a map in.
Survarium kept a few elements that were originally planned for the game such as sticking with the factions. You get to choose between one of the currently four available factions: the Scavengers, the Black Market, the Renaissance Army and the Fringe Settlers. But unfortunately these are just fancy names for the weapon talent trees you can take. Each faction has its own thing, their own set of weapons that allows you to unlock more of them over time. And even though you choose for one of these factions, you can always decide to level another. After leveling a faction they eventually get weapons that the other factions use, but your initial choice still depends with the weapon you start out with. I chose to go with the Scavengers, because they are ‘specialized’ in the bolt action rifles, and snipers. And boy, do they sound good.
Not only are the maps absolutely stunning, especially since the game has its roots from the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Series, but the sound of some of these weapons are really phenomenal. The difference between shooting in doors and outside is day and night, and the game really immerses you well. It also makes me sad, because their initial concept could’ve been so much more, and it would’ve worked beautifully. Perhaps we will still see a glimpse of it one day. Now the maps in general aren’t really special – on most maps you will have a couple of buildings and there isn’t that much to it. You do get a vibe that there’s a backstory to every map you play in though, but what matters most is which of the four game modes you get to play them in.
The game modes honestly aren’t really that special. Beside the standard Team Deathmatch, you have the Research mode where you capture objectives, Battery Retrieval where random batteries will spawn on the map that you and your team will have to retrieve, and Artifact Hunt where you will fight for the deadly artifacts and the rare artifact ‘Glow of the Forest’ to score points. In all of these game modes you will also find normal Artifacts. These are hazardous and can kill you if you’re not careful. But they provide bonuses! And I know that sounds vague, but there isn’t really a lot of info about them, except I have noticed some help you regain health… an extra element to spice things up.
Leveling up is what makes your character stronger. See it as a World of Tanks type of tiering system; the more levels you gain as a character, the more ‘passive skills’ you can unlock that’ll help you out in combat. Besides your character level you also have a separate faction level. This faction level is tied to the matchmaking, so you will always get matched up against the same tier. The faction level is important because it allows you to use better gear such as armor and weapons. Obviously this is where you mostly focus on to get stronger and unlock more weapons to use. Though if you want to try a different faction, you are free to do so, but obviously you start there from the bottom and have to gain their trust.
Survarium is a stunning looking game, one that I previously only dreamed of. It really brings back the memories of what I have from the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Series. The sounds are really well done and make Survarium a leader on the shooter realism front. It is a hidden gem on the Internet, and I wish it had a bigger population than it has right now. Don’t worry, you can find games at any time of the day, but it deserves more numbers because the game can be so much more. I am even positive it would do well as a competitive esport, because yes, the game is that good. Do you like shooters? Then what are you waiting for? Check it out!