Hunter vs Hunted. A common image in most of the action and thriller movies since….well, forever. Sometimes the sides get switched and one becomes the other but the formula stays the same. It’s fairly simple to come up with a decent movie with it if one knows what they’re doing and now we have a game with that approach. I’ve played a lot of fast-paced games with a simple premise and they usually end up being far better than I suspected so let’s see how Deathgarden: BLOODHARVEST holds up on that front.
” In a dark, dystopian future, the world is divided. Only a few deemed worthy are granted access to the Enclave, an opulent safe haven, while the rest are damned to almost certain death in the slums”. Hm, sounds suspiciously close to the plot of Elysium but let’s move forward. ” The only way to obtain the right to a better life and reach the Enclave is to face the hunter and put one’s life on the line in a ruthless game of blood”. Not sure how to see this. Seems pretty weird to opt-in for this instead, you know…..buying your way into it but if most are fine with it, who am I to judge?
After a short preparation, you are thrown into the map with one hunter and a bunch of scavengers. I think the roles are pretty self-explanatory but I’ll break it down by explaining that the hunter’s job is to track and kill all the scavengers on the map while they have to scavenge the map (duh!) and collect blood units. Blood units are then used to charge one of the three portals on the map until they are fully charged allowing the scavengers to escape into a better world. Of course, the job of a hunter is to prevent that. As of right now, you have three classes of hunters at your disposal and five different scavengers. They all have unique skills enabling them to better track the scavengers or to better escape from the clutches of a hunter. So what about the core gameplay? It’s all pretty simple. As a scavenger, zigzag across the map, collect blood units and deposit them into a portal super fast ( since you are visible to the hunter while doing that). As a hunter, be always on the move looking for scavengers on the map and unload your weapon into one once you establish contact. I played most of my matches as an Inquisitor hunter and it was fun. The only complaint is that it takes too long to kill the average scavengers unless you are a God of aiming where every one of your hits connects. They appear to also be slightly faster than you so the winning strategy is to sneak up on them and unload all of your shots as fast as possible. Now, playing as a scavenger, I found that gameplay was far more engaging. Unless you are playing against a seasoned hunter, it is fairly easy to escape, avoid their drones and hide. The hunter is always outnumbered by default, so a well-trained team of scavengers with voice chat is almost always guaranteed to win.
As simple as the core gameplay. Nothing breathtaking on this front. Even though each map is procedurally generated, it doesn’t take much to become aware of your surroundings. It’s easy to separate the pickable objects from the environment and you never have a hard time trying to distinguish what is what. Nothing much stands out, although some character models and cosmetics look pretty good.
Being that type of game that it is, it’s no wonder that Deathgarden: BLOODHARVEST enters a new dimension when played with a decent pair of headphones. The audio is much sharper and some background noise comes better into the focus now, including the noises made by a hunter that’s on your back (not literally, of course). On the other hand, the music of the game is nothing that stands out but in this type of game, it would only be distracting if it did come into a focus too much.
For what it’s worth, Deathgarden: BLOODHARVEST lives up to its task. A simple game, designed for a simple match or two when you’re out of ideas on what to play. And just like that, a match or two that you counted on can pretty soon morph into an hour or two and then some. Deathgarden: BLOODHARVEST is deceptively engaging as it is fun. Of course, an active player base is a “make it or break it” factor for this type of product. During my playtime, I had no issues finding matches although I could see that the population was decent at best. Considering that the game was only recently released, I expected much more. But if that means the game will end up with a moderate but a dedicated player base, I’m all fine with that. Deathgarden: BLOODHARVEST is still in Early Access and when taking a look at the developers’ roadmap, I can see that we’re in for a lot of great content.
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