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This weekend saw the first Closed Alpha for Darwin Project, an upcoming battle royale-style game from Scavenger Studios. Having had access to the game for most of the weekend we thought we’d make some noise about the game because, y’know what? It actually has potential.

So it’s safe to say that we’re entering a time where battle royale games are the new zombies. We’ve got an abundance of games which challenge players to becoming the last alive, it’s a concept that’s almost becoming a little too overused. But with the popularity of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, we’re likely going to see many games crop up over the next couple of years.

So you’d probably wonder why Darwin Project even exists? In short, it’s another battle royale game, but with a few differences from the competition. I went into a bit of detail on Twitter, so if you’d rather have a TL;DR, head here.

Darwin Project is a battle royale game which blends survival elements. Players are thrown into an arena with nothing more than an axe, a bow, and a few arrows. They’re given the simple task of being the last alive. And I know what you’re thinking… what’s new? Well aside from surviving the onslaught of other players, the game has some heavy survival elements where players have to stay warm so as not to freeze to death.

Darwin Project First Impressions

The game also differs itself by having only ten players face-off against each other, which might seem odd considering many other titles are throwing 100 players at each other, but Darwin Project offers something very unique which makes the game much more intense: the ability to track and stalk your enemy.

In Darwin Project every move you make, every resource you collect, every box you open, every step you make, leaves a trace. This allows other players who end up in a similar location, to track your every move by examining empty boxes or expended resources. This adds an element of risk to your gameplay. Do you stay in one location and gather all of the resources you can, or do you spend time travelling across the map sparingly gathering resources?

If you decide the former, someone is surely going to be able to track you and find you quicker than you can get away. If you decide the latter, you’ll likely freeze to death before you can upgrade your gear. In order to not freeze, you can use some wood to craft a fire, but crafting a fire lights up the area and sends up a plume of smoke alerting nearby players of your location. Darwin Project brings in a level of risk and reward I’m yet to really see in other battle royale games and it’s really refreshing.

Speaking of gear, players can customise their crafting wheel before each game and while in game can choose how they upgrade. Upgrading is done by collecting resources, and with only two resources in the game (Wood and Leather) upgrading gear is incredibly simple. Compared to other games, there’s no random loot, you go in-game knowing what you’ll end up using provided you can collect resources and upgrade your gear.

Darwin Project First Impressions

Throughout the entire game, from start to finish, every player has the same weapons, their axe and their bow / arrows. The only difference is how they’ve upgraded. Have they focused on crafting a huge supply of arrows, or have they focused on making their axe the most lethal thing? Have they upgraded their cloak so that they don’t freeze as quickly, or have they spent more time upgrading their boots so you can’t track them?

It’s this level of customisation which makes Darwin Project, at least for me, stand tall above the rest. You don’t feel out-lucked by someone who managed to get an incredibly powerful weapon at the start of the game, you make your own luck by gathering and upgrading gear.

While the game will suffer from glaring comparisons to PUBG and Fortnite, there are a number of elements to Darwin Project that’ll help it be heard among the noise.

Darwin Project is expected to launch on PC and Xbox One sometime in 2018. Keep an eye out over on Scavenger Games’ Twitter account for details on other closed alpha / beta weekends.