Category Archives: Early Access Look

This category is for Early Access Look at games. This includes titles released directly for the console, as well as those ported to the PC from other platforms. The reviews are listed in chronological order, and if you’re looking for a particular title please use the search bar at the top of the screen.

If you have any questions, comments or concerns about our reviews, be sure to message us on our contact page or email the author and we’ll be more than happy to discuss our viewpoints.

It should also be pointed out that this area doubles as an archive, so reviews may go back quite a bit.

Haven Editorial: Conan Exiles

Haven Editorial: Adventures is Exile

Conan exiles takes place in the magical world of Conan the barbarian. Which the Norwegian game company Funcom made another game in. Unlike Age of Conan, this is an open sandbox, with crafting, survival elements and full frontal nudity. Both genders can chose to be completely naked within the game settings. The same options can be set by the server host as well.

I started my adventure on a sour note, being accused of crimes I never committed. Some quite unsavory people knocked me out cold and left me dry and hanging. I mean honestly, who the devil crucify someone alive in the middle of a god forsaken wilderness? honorless dogs that is who. After a mighty struggle I managed to pry myself off the cross and found a note next to me, along with a waterskin. Something I consider a quite fitting contribution to my glorious conquest of these savage lands. All around me is a barren wasteland of a desert, sparsely populated with black ruins and a cobble stone road to traverse. Further down the path I ran into a flying fiend of sorts, that snarled at me before it flew into the distance. Eventually I found an oasis, with lush vegetation and a whole lot of water all over the place. As I was admiring the lovely scenery several vicious scaly beast ganged up on me and I died brutally. Eventually I re-spawned at the cross again. Death is apparently a slap on the wrist as long as I can reclaim my corpse and the loot I carry.

Long story short, Conan Exiles is an open sandbox survival game on Steam, that launched as an early access title. Which leaves rooms for a lot of patching. Despite some minor bugs and annoyances, the game is fairly addictive and a decent proof of concept. However there are some very nasty bugs and horrible loading time around the time this article is being written. Make no mistake, Conan Exiles is fun, especially with friends and comes with both PVP and PVE modes. Where people can host their own servers and modify the game mechanics. Such as day and night cycles and the experience gain. It’s also totally possible to play it solo and access the admin panel, which can create any object of desire within the game. AT one point I decided to summon an avatar of Yog. A 50 meter tall tentacled monstrosity, with the ability to penetrate the earth. Unfortunately it only last for a minute.

Crafting is fairly fast and straight forward. Gather the needed resource, go into the menu and click on the desired recipe. Each level unlock several new recipes. However they are best to divide between several players to maximize the effectiveness. One should focus on building fancy things, while the other player should work on making weapons. Eventually I learned how to make a lesser wheel of pain, rope and a blackjack. Three lovely items that allows me to knock someone out, string them up and drag them back to base. Nothing is more satisfying than to employ several highly trained athletic slaves. Knocking someone unconscious can lead to some rather gruesome mutilations. The game is bloody, brutal and uncompromising. Limbs will fly and blood will soak the sand. The sandbox of Conan Exiles is composed of 90% sand, which is quite an oxymoron indeed.

The wilderness is populated by various camps, vicious monsters and swarms of hyenas and toxic spiders. I can’s count the number of times I ran out of stamina, got crippled and was brutally murdered by fanged fiends. All in all a very fun, if a bit flawed game, which can only get better with time. Since long loading and optimization leaves a lot to be desired,

 

 

 

http://store.steampowered.com/app/440900/

Njål Sand

Haven Reviews: Everspace

Haven Reviews: Everspace

    Space the final frontier, a wast black ocean of star and debris. Seemingly infinite and mercilessly cruel to the unprepared traveler. But don’t panic, just bring a towel and a trusty yet sarcastic AI.20161016063416_1

Board the undreamed and poorly out fitted spaceship and head into cosmos. More often than not, space is rather drab with virtually no color aside from stars and explosions. Everspace is luckily not one of those games. Within the game there is a lot of color, from gas clouds, to debris and the huge selection of floating space rock. If only there was a way to diffuse the glow of lasers and such. Graphically the game is quite gorgeous and well designed.20161015164702_1

Combat in Everspace is six degress of freedom with no extra inertia, when I stop hitting forward I stop. SO do not go in and expect much in the way of friction and hardcore space physics. There are other games on the market that does that.

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I’m still a bit annoyed that I died right after the tutorial by boosting into an asteroid though.  Space in Everspace is randomly generated and the same goes for loot, enemies and various objectives. The goal is to jump from one system, to the next, until I reach the end. However that end will come at the cost of dying a lot. Using my hard earned cash to upgrade the flying bolt bucket and watch it get blown up by angry lizard people. Then proceed do it all over again. Since you will die a lot within the universe Everspace, the game spits out a new clone of your current ship. Which means that slowly but surely you’ll reach the end. However there is a sliver lining, every so often enemies and crates drops blueprints, and those are permanent. Which is quite fantastic, since they allow me to make supplies and upgrades on the fly with the loot I have in the inventory. Resources are also used to repair the hull and damaged ship systems. That being said, the pseudo number generator can be a bastard and drop you in the middle of a murder of various enemies.

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https://everspace-game.com/

The only real issue I had was that I had to prevent the game from accessing core three, otherwise it would randomly stop for several seconds.

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https://everspace-game.com/

Music is surprisingly nice and very catchy, with a decent section and variety. It’s also very dynamic and usually change according to the action going on. The in-game voices are surprisingly nice, I really love the snark mostly helpful AI indeed. The pesky bugger and the pilot has a nice comedic duo going on. Giving the game life and slowly dropping exposition. As the story is told in short snippets and the journey progresses. Due to the random nature and the time the game will eat away, it is not recommended for everyone. However I’m personally quite hooked on Everspace indeed.

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Keep in mind, this is still in early access, thing can only go uphill from here.

Disclaimer: We received this game for review purposes only. As such, all views in this article are our own. No money has been exchanged for this.

Njål H Sand

Early Access: Avalon Lords: Dawn Rises

20160530112031_1 Avalon Lords: Dawn Rises is a multiplayer-only, real time strategy (RTS) game in Early Access. When I say multiplayer, only I mean that there is no single player story mode. There are only single player practice rounds. At the start of the game you choose one of five factions to join, each of which gives you a slight bonus to things like starting gold and reduced resource requirements for certain units. From here you can play three separate types of games:

1. Empire: This is the largest. It pits you against other players or AI for control of the world. You battle over different regions in the name of your faction. There are a lot of teams on the board and this game can take a while to play through.
2. Conquest: This is the standard match. You start with a castle and a few peasants who can build or harvest for you. You slowly build an army and take on other players or AI in practice.
3. Battle: You create an army list by choosing from several units, then you just send your army after your opponents.

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Playing against the AI is a huge pain in the ass, especially for someone who has rarely played RTS games. The AI builds much faster and more efficiently than you do. It can create huge armies very quickly and wipe you out by the time you create your first few units. I’m sure someone with much more experience in this genre could deal with the enemy a lot easier. However, since there is no way to change the AI difficulty, new players are for the most part shut out pretty early on. Playing the practice modes was about as much as I was able to do. Every time I tried to get into a human match the game reminded me that there were only 4 people playing. I waited in a queue for a while but was eventually unable to find a game.

In terms of game play, there really isn’t anything new or interesting here. Everything Avalon Lords does has been done already (and much, much better). The tech progression is fairly bog standard. You build buildings to get different units. You upgrade those buildings to get better units. You can build places that will research buffs for your units, or what have you. You have a central focus on gaining resources like iron, gold or wood with peasants in order to build. There’s really nothing in this game that you wouldn’t find in any other RTS. On top of that, the generic medieval theme has been done to death.20160531112829_1

The controls are finicky and unpleasant when you try to drag over a bunch of units to select them, or try to move the map to get to where you want. You sometimes end up on the complete opposite side of the map from where you intended. The developers have recently announced that they are making the game free-to-play. So in the future be wary of this game not only being out-shined by other RTS games (including many free ones), but also being filled with micro-transactions. This is speculation, so we’ll just have to see.

The most fun I had with Avalon Lords are the short battle games. Here you just choose units for your roster and send them out against your opponent. I found it was best to send them all in one large clump, since that’s mostly what your opponent will being doing. Here you just watch them all fight and die. Then the game ends, nice and simple. No resource management or building nonsense; just a quick fight. You can choose the configuration of your list so that you can have all archers or crossbowmen, or all weak sword guys, or heavy shielded guys…or any combination thereof. It’s over in under five minutes, and then you can do something else with your time.

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-Jordan Kamm-