The Culling Early Access Review

F.U.N.C. Your Way to the Top

Loadout set and ready to kill, figured green would help blend in

Are you are a bloodthirsty warrior seeking worldwide fame or perhaps a deadly assassin looking to practice the art of killing from the shadows? Maybe your a maniacal engineer eager to test your arsenal of killing machines, or a seasoned hunter looking to hunt this planets ultimate prey? Whichever you are, Xaviant Games has provided the arena scene just for you with The Culling. I was lucky enough to be given a chance to try The Culling early access. I initially became intrigued with The Culling’s promise open battle crafting allure, but soon fell victim to glitches and connection issues that left me vulnerable for ambushes.

Gameplay/Design:

The Culling’s approach to arena mayhem is slightly different from what I’m used to, and I appreciate that. Some games like the Call of Duty franchise provide players with kill streak rewards, while others leave you to find weapons on the map or else be stuck with what you started with. In The Culling, all players are participating in the world’s most famous game show that goes by the same name. At the start of a match, players are released from boxes spawned in a random spots on what seems to be a tropical island. Contestants are armed only with their bare fists and 12 F.U.N.C. credits. F.U.N.C ( Flexible Universal Nano Compound) is used to craft items, heal yourself at heal stations, open random containers, and order various deployment drops.

Time to bloody these knuckles

Once released, the player can attempt numerous strategies in order to eliminate their opponents till left the last one standing. Randomly placed throughout the map are weapons, armor, containers of F.U.N.C., human remains with F.U.N.C. and other devices of destruction. Instead of searching around, I found myself immediately striking trees and stone in order receive the branches and rock need to craft a rudimentary weapon such as a knife, spear, or hatchet.

Rubbing two rocks + 2 F.U.N.C. = knife? SCIENCE MAGIC!

There are so many different crafting combinations, the only catch: it costs F.U.N.C.. Simple weapons may not cost much, but fall short in damage output. It became apparent that running around with just a spear would leave me vulnerable to all ranged attacks, so instead I attempted setting traps. Using all my F.U.N.C., I secured myself in a random building setting caltrops and snares at each door. I sat there studying various crafting combinations, like the ones pictured below, for minutes with no action.

Crafting becomes easy after a few rounds.

Growing bored I stepped out to explore, only to find that as I sat waiting all my opponents were getting stronger. One opponent had located a Man Tracker, which when used shows the direction of nearby enemies, obtained armor, and crafted a blow gun. It seemed I went from trapper to trapped in a heart beat. He/she waited for me to step outside then methodically shot me in the back with a poison dart, stunned me with a taser, and then hacked me to death with a blade while my character stood stunned in a throwing up animation. Situations like this sounds fun and exciting, but an attempt to do the same to someone else next round ultimately failed for me due to connection issues. It seemed almost every time I tried to throwing a ranged weapon at an opponent that it wouldn’t hit. In fact, just walking around the map resulted in multiple instances where my character couldn’t move or the screen would temporarily freeze. This led me to rely on melee attacks and explosives only.

Experimenting in tutorial is highly recommended.

I highly recommend completing the tutorials; without them I would have been a fish out of water. Another useful tool is to play in Team Mode. This places contestants in two man/woman teams, relying on teamwork to survive. After death your teammate can watch your back in Spectate mode, giving them some after death use, but I found most people simply exited the match after being killed. Even though we did not spawn together, once we met up my partner showed me various things I had yet to discover. Learning how to recycle unwanted items for F.U.N.C. and how to heal myself, I slowly got the hang of things.

Presentation:

The Culling’s graphics are a tad rough around the edges. Plants and map textures sometimes appear harsh and jagged, when they should be lush and smooth. You can tell a great deal of effort was placed in making the arena setting fun and colorful though. Looking up into the sky, players can view the status of every other contestant.

This is useful in keeping track of whose left, and makes me feel as if I’m in the Hunger Games. Just in case you don’t feel like looking up to the sky all the time, an announcer provides contestants with updates. For example, you may hear something like, “A contestant has bashed another contestant‘s head in” or an announcement about random map opportunities like supply drops. For me, the announcer seemed to be the only tool used to set the game-show tone of the game.

Conclusion:

The biggest problems with The Culling are it’s early access issues. I have a feeling that once fully launched, bugs like the one where my character randomly stops walking or where the game crashes entirely will be ironed out. That being said, my biggest disappointment was the lack of suspense. Players sit at the main menu and wait while placed in a multiplayer queue. It usual takes less than two minutes to connect to a match and start, but when it does, matches lack game show flare. There are no shouts of “Come on down!’, or contestant introductions at all. More game show elements are what I believe The Culling needs to lock in a fan base for generations to come. I look forward to playing The Culling once completed; maybe then I wont be left seeing this all the time:

Thank you for reading. Nolan — Totaltoad

The Culling gets a 5/10 (Flawed)

Thank you to Zack Hage and Xaviant Games for supplying me with the code and giving me this chance to share my opinion with everyone.

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