Deep Rock Galactic is a cooperative shooter for up to four players in which we play a group of dwarves and venture onto the planet Hoxxas.
A beer to quench your thirst. A good conversation to ease the soul. Chatting about telecommuting, our efforts to imitate Patry Jordan and the family we haven’t seen for so long. Laugh in company and forget about the routine and tedium of confinement. Almost all of Spain takes a few days, even weeks, recovering a certain normality and living scenes like those in the neighborhood cafeteria. However, there are still people who have not tasted that degree of freedom due to the incidence of covid-19. For many, and even for all, until a few days ago, the stage for socialization is not in the bar, but on the sofa. At the controls.
More than a few have found comfort on their computers, consoles and mobile phones during the harshest weeks of isolation. Technology has facilitated access to culture, leisure and, even more importantly, contact with others. In particular, video games have monopolized the prominence that they once shared with the cane on Fridays and the small football on Saturdays and have become the quintessential social entertainment. From the relaxing rides in Animal Crossing to the endless exploration of Minecraft, going through the heists of GTA V. Sometimes not even playing ourselves, but seeing how others do it and commenting on their adventures with other viewers. When going outside has not been possible, video games have reduced the distance to a single button.
Perhaps for you, dear reader, all this was already part of your life. The nights of Halo, World of Warcraft, Destiny and the like are inherent in our environment. The Twitch sessions, though more recent, too. Of course, many have discovered the potential of ludofiction to connect us throughout this quarantine. That is why we believe that the social video game, although it has existed for decades, will emerge reinforced from lethargy and will experience a new golden age in the coming years. And works like Deep Rock Galactic have it all to lead it.
I’m a (space) miner
Deep Rock Galactic is a cooperative shooter with space dwarves and beer from another universe — literally — in which you complete missions of all kinds to fill our pockets. In Ghost Ship Games we are mining mercenaries and we make our living by raiding deep into the planet Hoxxas. We do not do it for adventures or discoveries, but for chickpeas. Our company, like us, only cares about bringing something to eat to our mouths and losing the least amount of money possible in the attempt. So much so that in one of the missions we are charged with recovering the equipment of an expedition that perished in the attempt. Lives are expendable. The banana.
Deep Rock Galactic’s humor works very well and contributes to building a credible universe, a diegesis with which to empathize and in which it is easy to integrate. As we are a digit for companies – what will the study have been inspired by? – our equals are teammates. It is they with whom we share status, objectives and missions. We are not only alone against the hordes of enemies and the inhospitable corners that await us, but also against the system. And while cooperating is the only way to survive, better to do it between equals.
With this logic, Ghost Ship Games highlights the importance of teamwork already from the premise of the game. It is a cog in which everything contributes to feeling part of a larger whole, to sharing successes and toasting with huge mugs of space beer in some tavern lost on an asteroid. That way everything is easier when it comes time to take on roles, distribute tasks and risk the rest. We think of plural before starting the mission and that influences its success very, very much. And once it starts, the mechanics reaffirm the essential of collaboration.
Collaborating is winning
Looping up a neighbor is essential at Deep Rock Galactic. Above all, because in the depths of Hoxxas you don’t see a pepper. It is true that we have a headlamp, but this hardly illuminates what is right in front of us and does little or nothing to prevent attacks. The map of each mission is best drawn among all, informing the partner about what is there where he cannot see. We have flares, yes, but they are limited and their use should be optimized as much as possible. We will need to see well when the hordes of monsters that our airs of Dora the Explorer do not convince them as much begin to arrive.
In these abysmal pits inhabit insectoids of all kinds and conditions. There are fast, slow, big, small … The paradise of entomophobes, go. They attack in heterogeneous hordes, with more than one type of enemy in them, so coordination among the members of the expedition is basic. The combat is exciting and diverse, as each of the dwarves performs one of the four existing classes, giving them unique mobility and combat.
Engineers can build scalable platforms to climb Hoxxas’ steep walls, as well as lay out turrets to keep enemies at bay. Gunners, armed to the teeth, can enable ziplines between two points to bridge long distances. Excavators have a giant drill in each arm to create tunnels in a few seconds, as well as a flamethrower that makes them objectively the best class to kill insectoids. Explorers enjoy greater independence of movement thanks to their hook, but their help to the group is less.
They all have strengths and weaknesses that complement very well those of other team members. Doing it, in fact, is essential. The explorer may be more useful for finding treasures in remote places, but he will need the gunner to stop the monsters lurking in the depths of Hoxxas. Combining and coordinating these functions is one of the keys to success at Deep Rock Galactic, in addition to what makes it so much fun when playing with friends.
That mixture between moments of tense exploration and in absolute silence with moments of pure frenzy annihilating insectoids is one of the great virtues of Deep Rock Galactic. The work gives room to pause and put information, objectives and decisions in common with the other colleagues. But it also breathes adrenaline with hordes of difficulty, quantity and well-measured strategy. Ghost Ship Games’ mastery of tempo is worth admiring. Study makes your world feel truly alive.
Endless fun also solo
Deep Rock Galactic’s missions, however, go far beyond fighting critters. In each one we are entrusted with an objective that has nothing to do with the battle. Accumulating a certain amount of rare minerals or stealing alien hatchlings to prevent them from reproducing are two common examples that showcase the potential of the game. While the gunner contains the aliens, the engineer can create platforms for the explorer, as agile as he is poor in combat, to gorge himself on loot and accomplish the mission objective.
Once again, everything happens through cooperation and communication between team members. Those “rock and stone!” with those who greet those of your condition before, during and after missions generate a much more powerful bond in good company. Deep Rock Galactic is a magnificent generator of collective experiences, a machine for creating anecdotes while we repeat the same tasks as always. If you can put together a group of four friends with whom to coordinate easily and celebrate the virtual beer successes in hand, Deep Rock Galactic is a more than safe purchase. But what if not? You will continue to enjoy as a dwarf, never better said.
Deep Rock Galactic is perfectly playable – and fun – solo. When you have no one to hang out with, the company you work for will treat you to a robot companion who is most adept. Named Bosco, this versatile android can shoot insectoids, collect minerals and even revive you from time to time. And if you want to play in the company, but you don’t know anyone with the game, you’ll be happy to know that around the work of Ghost Ship Games, a nice community has been created with which to share a lobby. The best thing is to turn Deep Rock Galactic into that Friday night plan with a group of acquaintances, we can not deny you, but you will not be wrong if you decide to go into Hoxxas by yourself. Perhaps the only exception is to do it by playing an excavator, since the ammunition of the flamethrower is very limited and it does not seem to us a class capable of shining without the complement of other dwarves.
Alone or accompanied, this work offers hours and hours of fun. Much of that merit is due to its progression system, which involves both cosmetic tweaks and skill enhancement. We will start our adventure as a beardless dwarf — an outrage for the imaginations of Tolkien or Sapkowski — and it will be our successes that allow us to unlock a beard in conditions, among other cosmetics. The same goes for our combat and gathering skills, which can be improved as we invest the skill points that grant us to fulfill certain objectives in the missions. Killing a certain number of enemies, gathering a few tons of certain material or completing a good handful of raids will give us more speed and special attacks. The same happens with our team, since we can improve weapons, armor and various odds and ends with the materials that we find in the depths of Hoxxas.
If Deep Rock Galactic shines for something, it is for its infinite duration. We can maximize any of the classes and reset them to level up again without losing the unlocked items and upgrades, a kind of New Game + that greatly extends the useful life of this game. Along with the extensive payroll of missions, to which perhaps we would ask for a tad more variety in the objectives, we have game for a while. And if we add that the Hoxxas maps are generated procedurally and that each visit to the depths feels like the first, even more. As soon as Ghost Ship Games stabilizes the servers to the maximum and the connection is as rocky as a gunner’s arms, there will be little or nothing to Deep Rock Galactic to blame.
Deep Rock Galactic is one of the strongest cooperative shooters in recent years. The combat is always intense, fun and rich thanks to the enormous amount of synergies that occur between the four classes of the game. Learning its basics is accessible and perfectly playable without any improvement, but it’s as deep as Hoxxas and mastering each class’s possibilities will take a good handful of hours. Both alone and in the company of three other friends, this indie is a guarantee of endless fun. Well worth a space beer.
- Each class feels different and all are important to success
- Fun and deep combat, with a lot of variety depending on the chosen class
- Highly replayable: guaranteed fun for hours on end
- Some connection issues that can frustrate the experience
- Lack of variety in mission objectives