By Terris Harned (NWOrpheus)
What happens when a prototype robot becomes self aware, and also apparently has the ability to self replicate? XERA: Survival apparently is what happens. In this not-so-aptly named PvPvE (but mostly PvP) looter-shooter, you’re dropped into a hot zone full of the aforementioned robots. The fun part is, you’re dropped in with nothing but the clothes on your back! Yeah, you’d think they could at least issue you a starting 9mm pistol or something, but, no, you’re on your own.
Let’s make a quick checklist of things that might make something a good survival game, shall we?
- Food and water needed to survive (or at least gives benefits like replenishing health or energy).
- The ability to suffer status ailments, such as poison, hunger, or broken/wounded limbs.
- Environmental hazards, such as extreme heat or cold.
- Crafting elements, preferably including but not limited to structures.
Technically, XERA: Survival has two of these four elements, but even those two aren’t particularly well executed. Food and hydration are required to survive, but are such trivial factors that I’m not even sure why they bothered. Both of the resources are relatively easy to find, and if you die they replenish your health to full. Mind you, this also comes with an experience penalty, but the benefits of leveling up seem limited to unlocking the handful of crafting recipes available and increasing your global stash size.
Like, all 5 of them, I think? You can make some gauze bandages from cloth, and then dump booze on them to make them “better”. You can put some nails in a baseball bat. You can construct a drone from a chassis, blades, and a battery. Oh, and you can make some C4 out of household components. It’s really just annoying that you have to level up to craft the things at all, especially considering it’s such a small list.
Why did they even bother? Really? You can find plenty of all of these pre-fabricated in the game.
Thankfully, there’s plenty of stuff to forage around the map, both in regards to food and water, as well as weapons, backpacks, ammunition, etc. As I mentioned before, there is a global storage, where you can drop off your finds, but it does have limited capacity. What thus seems to be the tactic is to log onto a slower server, run around and loot while largely avoiding other players, then go to a more populated server and engage in PvP.
The PvE elements of the game leave something to be desired. The only non-player opposition are the robots gone crazy. These robots don’t have any weaponry, however. Only the ability to punch you, and in some cases self destruct. The latter does a hefty sum of damage, admittedly, but generally you can shoot the robots before they get anywhere near you without too much problem, thus making them generally ineffective, unless you happen to not hear them loudly clanking as they approach.
Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto… for them bullets.
Even on smaller servers, it is possible to engage in some amounts of PvP, but the likelihood is that if you’re solo, you’ll probably just get ganked by two or more players who have teamed up. I’m not saying there’s anything necessarily wrong with this, so long as you enjoy being teabagged by a twelve year old cackling toxic profanity into your speakers through their microphone. Oh the joys of the internet. I guess it’s better than having a bunch of empty servers?
Be that as it may, there are airdrops that frequently have some nicer gear, but they are hotspots of contention, and you’re likely to run into other players at them. There are also events that spawn periodically at specific locations called “compound events”. The object of these events seems to simply be to eliminate a set number of robots. I never did end up finishing one of these events, out of sheer general boredom. Although I did have one humorous event at one where I ended up following another player into a trap. Truth be told, it was worth it.
I was totally singing Yakkity Sax.
I will say that the scenery of XERA is generally well done. The graphics are above par for what you see in the price range of the game’s $20.00 price tag. That being said, there is a cash shop that seems to be focused on cosmetic filled loot boxes. I really am not sure what the developers figure to get out of that cash shop, but I’m guessing they took some inspiration from CS:GO and decided to run with it.
I’m not sure if there’s more to come in XERA, but if not, I wouldn’t anticipate it being around for very long. Not in today’s competitive market. Yeah, it’s pretty, and it’s fun to explore for about an hour, but I don’t think it really qualifies as a survival game, and I get the distinct impression that trying to bill it as one is just an attempt by the developers to cash in on a catchphrase.
17 minutes of walking followed by getting shot through a wall. Awesome game.
That’s right, XERA, you’re the kale of video games. I doubt you’ll last as long, though.