From the moment we started this game up, it swept us up in what will become the key word for today: atmosphere. The opening screen features a rather macabre image and a sad, quiet tune that drills in the loneliness and helplessness of the scenario.
Miscreated, a game currently still being tweaked for final production by Entrada Interactive, is in many ways a DayZ look-alike, but features a heavier undertone and runs on the CryEngine 3. Bearing in mind that this is only an early alpha, allow us to give you some of our first impressions of the title.
We mentioned earlier that our happy word of the day is atmosphere. Miscreated is absolutely leaking it in every single one of its orifices. From that haunting tune at the end to the open-area playing field, the environment it creates is vast and quite impressive for an early alpha, though there were the to-be-expected ticks and glitches here and there. Obviously, this is a game still in progress but the amount of work that has already gone into it now earned a very impressed, albeit scared, nod from us.
It’s also refreshing to see that the game’s controls already feel pretty tight and fluid. Now, again, the title is not wholly finished and, in places, it shows. Key bindings are still a bit finicky (or outright broken, depending on what you aim to do), but we’re going to take this with a grain of salt – because we’re all lovely, well-mannered people.
At least until we start punching Mr. Clean clones in the face. Nothing quite like that. Thanks, Miscreated!
Another aspect of the game that it excels in is its sandbox: you can collect an assortment of items and weapons to build a personalized base, combine them into stronger weapons or just to make more useful tools. The downside to this is the same you’ll find in DayZ: you’re going to have both mutants and other plays ready to curb-stomp your bald, sparkling clean head in almost any attempt to adventure and collect.
The mutants are unnerving. Their designs are not exactly unique nor is the story involved with the game itself, but it’s forgivable. A good post-apocalyptic scenario is still a good scenario as long as it’s scary and engaging, after all – and it is definitely both here. We like the word “unnerving” in particular for this game because it really does fit. It is excessively unsettling; making it easy to work yourself into a nervous lather just by tip-toeing out in the open or venturing into an abandoned town.
Despite a release date not being confirmed for the time being, the developers are already listing some pretty enticing features that Miscreated, in its final form, will be unleashing on players. Taking a look at the official site, these include: realistic bullet physics, dynamic encounters, huge, open world exploration, an in-depth crafting system, a unique construction system, underground exploration and much more.
With such ambitions in mind, Entrada are certainly promising a heavy reward for player and fan patience. From what we’ve seen thus far, it’s easy to see the seeds of something that could very well end up being incredible starting to grow. The atmosphere, the sound design, the loneliness and just the general open exploration gives Miscreated a sense of true horror – making its players feel truly helpless and afraid. No one is on their side, everything is out to kill them and they only have themselves to rely on for survival.
Now, as much as we like being positive and trying to find the gem in the proverbial horse stable, we do have to point out some bad. As we’ve stated, the game is in an unfinished state and we think it holds a lot of promise – but it would be remiss not to point out the good few flaws we experienced in our first go-around.
As we previously touched on, the key bindings were, at the time of playing, not working at all. Night was falling, we managed to stumble our way into figuring out we had a flashlight and then could not actually use it. Already a bundle of nerves, we decided to proceed ahead and hope for the best. This proved to be a fatal mistake.
A nice gentleman proceeded to run up behind us, and beat our face in with a shovel. Oh god, the sound of footsteps that are not your own are a thing of true nightmares in this game. Regardless, we took a few swings at him but found ourselves thoroughly outmatched and consistently knocked back in a ferocious manner. He had a shovel; we had our tiny, clean fists, and naturally his range soon caved our skull in. After we stopped whimpering, it was more amusing than anything, but it illustrates the point that the physics do need a bit more tweaking as well as the key bindings.
The game is also exceptionally quiet except when it comes to footsteps. We don’t expect to be dancing our way through sweet rave beats while we punch mutants, but the lack of any sort of environmental feedback beyond footsteps added a lot to the uncanny level of fear. Whether this is good or bad, we can’t say. We enjoyed the experience but we can see how it might grate on some players to not get a lot more than the tread of a shoe or an occasional whisper of the wind telling you that you’re doomed.
All things considered, our first impressions of Miscreated are positive. We’re cautiously optimistic about all the wonderful features its developers promise, and can also now officially say that we enjoyed getting our face caved in by Mr. Clean and his shovel.