Xbox One Preview: Darwin Project – Early Access

The Hunger Games – Darwinian Edition.

Note: Being in Xbox Early Access, this is just a quick look at the experience I’ve had so far with Darwin Project.

Darwin Project takes place in a post-apocalyptic landscape in the Northern Canadian Rockies. As civilization prepares for an impending ice age, a twisted new project emerges, half science experiment and half live-entertainment. It’s called the Darwin Project and it challenges participants to survive the cold and fight to the death in a treacherous, snow-covered arena. Darwin Project offers a competitive multiplayer third-person experience with an emphasis on survival. Players must withstand extreme environmental conditions, track opponents, craft tools, set traps, and even negotiate temporary alliances to be the last one standing at sunrise.

Having played a good number of matches with Darwin Project, it’s time to take a look at what makes this survival game tick. We’ve had a resurgence of games like this lately with PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) and Fortnite’s Battle Royale mode, so it was interesting to see what makes Darwin Project stand out from its rivals…

First of all, you don’t get guns…you get bows and arrows and melee weapons, along with being able to set traps for your opponents. The main map is set into different sections that host resources to craft traps, camp fires so you don’t freeze and so on. There will also be a race to certain resources on the map that could end up with a big stand off against multiple players and once you’re dead, you’re dead.

Over time, the sections will get closed and you’ll have a limited time to vacate or die, meaning that the arena gets smaller and smaller, making showdowns with opponents more likely. The map itself is huge and getting around is no small task, as I said you’ll need to maintain your body temperature with fires or risk freezing to death. You will also be able to upgrade specific abilities if you grab the right tech, so you can go temporarily invisible or teleport short distances.

Visually, the game is looking good so far. There’s room for improvement and the lack of female characters is baffling, even for Early Access. Still, it handles well overall with the odd hiccup in framerate and naturally buggy moment here and there, but considering it’s still in Early Access, I was quite surprised overall.

The Verdict

I won’t render a score for Darwin Project, simply because it’s not the final product. What we currently have here however, is an addictive survival experience that is very much Hunger Games inspired and well worth a look.