First given life in the writing by Robert E. Howard at the beginning of last century, embodied on the screen by Arnold Schwarzenegger, Ralf Moeller, and more recently Jason Momoa, the character of Conan the Barbarian has been all over the world, and found its way into the collections of gamers when Conan Exiles released last month. The developers of this new Conan epic have chosen the survival genre, a concept that raised eyebrows but remains justified: the famous Cimmerian himself has gone from being a vagrant to the conqueror we all know, gradually developing his abilities and wealth in an unforgivable world. But let us get started with this Conan Exiles review.
Though the game takes its name after the barbarian, it is not him that we embody, but a whole new character for which we select the ethnicity, the sex, appearance and religion. Our beginnings are more than modest: crucified in the heart of the desert for having contaminated a well, fornicated with a beast or some other reason, proven or not, our character patiently waiting to die, naked like a worm. Saved from our fatal destiny by Conan himself, we regain a relative freedom, stopped at the limits of the Lands of Exile by a magical device. Our existence now has a horizon: to subsist, to understand our place in this world and to impose ourselves in the face of many dangers.
Very soon, primary needs are imposed upon our unfortunate avatar; hunger and thirst at the top of the list, signified by a gauge that is constantly falling. The game puts some pressure on us through some alerts, forcing us to look for anything to appease these needs – all in total panic. Faced with hostile tribes and unlikely monsters, I was forced to find refuge on top of a rock and catch my breath. With the penumbra arriving, we’ve passed our first trial. With much more to be done in the morning.
A crafting system allows us, using rocks, branches and even plant fibers, to create our first tools and clothes. The collection of raw materials is already easier, and we can consider building a sandstone shelter, unattractive but effective against enemies and sandstorms. A rudimentary cooking pot makes us avoid the food poisoning caused by raw meat, and the sealed waterskin offers us a source of mobile water: the first requirements for our adventure are in place. However, Conan Exiles offers us much richer possibilities, provided we know the secret.
Unkempt at first, our intrepid adventurer takes the lead thanks to an experience bar that slowly fills up from each of our actions. If when it comes to hunting and exploration we move forward timidly, a well designed mission system helps us earn our first few levels with ease: named “Journey”, it asks us to quench our first, to concoct a potion, to make a combo of attacks or to discover a specific place, and offers a nice sum of XP points in exchange. Which makes our odyssey more rewarding. Once our character leveled up, we can can develop two elements: our attributes (strength, vitality, clutter …) and our abilities. Crucial, it is the latter that define what we can craft in terms of housing or weapons.
Soon, we will have a proud building made of bricks and treated wood, customized as we wish and equipped with the most advanced amenities such as a pantry or a freight elevator, and even slaves. Functionally developing the originality of this title, the system of slaves allows us to knock out unfortunates ones before breaking their will on a wheel of suffering and to making them unwilling allies in this threatening universe. In the long run, the craft will unfortunately get daunting, by making the search for recipes and their production laborious on all platforms, with a special mention for the consoles.
Once our base is erected, we will be tempted to stock up and explore the lands of the Exile. Without being excessive, the map of Conan Exiles remains vast and is crossed with much difficulty on foot; above all, it emphasizes density with abundant vegetation, many unique points of interest, and several biomes themselves varied from one place to another. It also proposes an important verticality (with a climbing mechanism) as well as a great coherence which makes you want to invest more in this title. Rare minerals, exotic plants, amazing creatures and formidable dungeons populate these places with the consequent potential.
The realization of all these elements is a near-success, with a worked artistic direction, emphasizing intense panoramas with convincing light effects (the sunrises are always great moments). Alas the engine of the game is greedy, and not many will be able to run in on PC in Ultra. The modularity of this platform can limit the damage, but the consoles owners will not miss regular framerate falls and laborious loads.
Conan Exiles Review Conclusion
Funcom successfully combines the survival genre with Conan’s mythology, inviting us into a decor filled with possibilities but also perils, which ultimately generates a real sense of satisfaction after each challenge. Once again, keep in mind that this is a review of the game as a solo player, and that the review score will reflect just that.