Reviews - Updated on April 10, 2022

Of course, I could start my review of Desolate with a phrase about another “Russian Fallout”, but I’m afraid that in this case Andrei Makoveev would personally rush to St. Petersburg to strangle me. Therefore, I will say differently – this is another “Russian STALKER”. I have not used this combination yet, so there are more chances to survive. In any case, you understand the essence: this is a “survival” in the post-Soviet entourage, with anomalies, swag, pumping, quests, an emphasis on the plot – and, of course, with abundant use of alcoholic beverages.

Boundless freedom at the Border

The place of action is an island with the speaking name Border. In fact, this is an analogue of the Zone – recently a certain catastrophe occurred here, connected, as follows from the prologue, with regular bad experiments. And now some mutant animals and crazed people with sticks are wandering around the Iskra railway station, among the ruins of the Yuzhny Bereg cinema, against the backdrop of posters “We are building a new future”. And around is full of various anomalies and polluted places where you suffer from poisoning or lack of oxygen.

Responsible for this disgrace, the New World company sends volunteers to the island to carry out its instructions and collect information about what is happening, helping to “investigate the paranormal impact of the disaster.” As one of these volunteers, we get to Granichny, where you can go to all four directions, breathing freedom to the fullest.

It soon turns out that in addition to the monsters and the military guarding some warehouses, there is also a large camp of survivors, which becomes our base – this is where the hero is reborn after death (and, of course, you will often have to die), this is where the workbench, furnace and medical lab for crafting, repairing or healing. There are also merchants and distributors of unpretentious weekly quests.

What a terrible life!

You can play not only in splendid isolation, but also in the company of three other “volunteers” – Desolate supports the cooperative. I don’t know if it becomes easier in it (I didn’t manage to try it), but at first it’s really difficult and scary to survive alone. Weapons and equipment break, inventory is limited in weight, bandages and medicines are not enough, as well as water. Meanwhile, the character periodically wants to eat and drink. It also takes into account the level of stress (increases in collisions with monsters), body temperature (there are very cold snowy locations where you have to look for fires), the presence of injuries, bleeding and other negative effects. Both relieve stress and raise body temperature, of course, help numerous types of alcoholic beverages.Desolate game review

You can attach an upgrade to a weapon so that it hits, for example, also with fire.

However, at first we don’t even have a bottle of vodka, and the character is as naked as a falcon. Therefore, you are afraid of everything, shy away from madmen and anomalies, and shudder nervously when suddenly something terrible grows right out of the air before your eyes and immediately disappears. This, of course, is not Resident Evil, but even here it sometimes becomes uncomfortable – it’s not for nothing that the authors talk about survival horror.

The very first plot task after we get our room at the base of the survivors is to walk more than a kilometer through the territory teeming with mutants and anomalies and kill the terrible mutant who teleports, spits something bad from afar and has a solid supply of health.

Repetition is the mother of learning

You have to retreat, accumulate resources and ammunition (this is the most important thing), buy or look for crafting recipes, as well as irons and toasters to improve the workbench or oven at the base.

You also need to wander around the island, explore the territory, gaining experience for discovering new locations and attractions. With new levels acquired skills, knowledge and skills. Some increase health/stamina/food efficiency. Others reduce running noise, allow for better hiding, and even highlight herbs and vegetables for picking. Still others give discounts from merchants or a certain chance to save parts after death (this is local money). And only having become fairly strong and having obtained good equipment, you can return and show Kuz’kin’s mother to the enemies.

Desolate game review

Shooting here is also unpretentious, although it is not so easy to hit this reptile.

Partly simplifies survival by the fact that after the death of a character, he completely restores health, all negative statuses and injuries are removed from him, and he has as much as 10 minutes to get to the place of death and collect lost things. At the same time, you can rummage through familiar boxes again and again, where items “respawn”. Thus, death is even useful here.

You can play

Yes, there are holes in Desolate, and in general it feels like a Russian indie. The animation and voice acting are terrible – many monsters do not scare, but make you laugh, the main character speaks like a person with retarded development. Optimization is lame, there are not only anomalies around, but also bugs.

The combat system cannot offer anything outstanding (hit, block, dodge after learning the appropriate skills), the enemy AI is primitive. Crafting is also implemented quite banally, but nothing can be built here. Most of the story quests are made according to the “find, kill, bring, fix” scheme, and the characters are devoid of depth and motivation – why our volunteer hero unquestioningly indulges in all serious things that drives him is completely incomprehensible.

Desolate game review

On the fire, they are allowed to cook food, boil dirty water and do all the other things that are standard in such situations.

However, it is precisely this factor of exciting exploration of the world described above, when you also become stronger at the same time, that saves the game in many ways – at least from a very loud fall to the bottom of the “survivors”.

The world here is really big, unique, with its own flora and fauna. And wandering around it, discovering new things, studying anomalies, suddenly discovering that one of them can teleport to an arbitrary area on the map, and the other is a very harmful and dangerous ghost, is really exciting.

And in the course of the story, there are quite interesting situations when, for example, we help the survivors to win back the territory from marauders and monsters. Or when we’re hunting for an overly talkative philosophizing maniac.

The authors do not disdain such “screamers”.

***

Let it sound trite, but Desolate really leaves conflicting feelings. Here both obvious pluses and frank minuses coexist, which directly follow from the fact that we have a low-budget debut game in front of us. And yet I would recommend it to all fans of the genre – Desolate fascinated me for a while. In addition, the authors are constantly in contact with the community and promptly release updates with fixes.

Pros: interesting and atmospheric setting; a big world full of dangers and discoveries; sufficiently detailed role-playing system; there are really interesting story quests; vibrant co-op.

Cons: unpretentious combat system; primitive AI; few interesting survival mechanics; poorly written characters; weak animation; bad sounding; optimization problems.

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