Deep Rock Galactic
Deep Rock Galactic is a very challenging, surprising compelling co-op shooter that has exited Early Access with a dedicated community of players. You take on the role of a dwarf that works for Deep Rock Galactic (DRG) a mining company that will pay you well to go on mining missions within the planet Hoxxes IV. DRG is a kind, caring company that will only enable the button to call in the escape pod after you have completed your main mission goal, until then you are considered completely expendable. Each mission provides you with a unique procedurally generated cave to explore with a fully destructible environment chock full of alien monsters that want to eat your face off. There are 4 classes of dwarven miners, each with a unique set of tools and weapons, and the game plays solo just as well as co-op. In order to be successful tackling the various types of missions offered you will need to be both creative in your problem solving and talented in your execution as this game is no push over. The caves are dark and dangerous and failure is always an option.
The gameplay can be rather disorienting at first as it is hard to know how to accomplish your mission objectives until you build up some experience with the various mission types, but eventually you will get your bearings and start to see all the possibilities that you have to solve the problems you face. The gunner is a DPS machine that can shield himself and his team and uses ziplines to traverse around the caverns as needed. The Driller has a flamethrower capable of burning down mass quantities of bugs, and there are indeed mass quantities of enemies in this game, and also has the ability to quickly drill through rock walls to make his own paths to victory. The Engineer has the ability to create platforms that can be used to traverse the vertical walls of the caves as well as build bridges or even funnel bugs where you want them, and finally the Scout, who has the weakest AoE damage output, has the ability to light up the caverns and use a grapple gun to fly around the caves like a dwarven version of spider-man. Each class is unique and fun and they complement each other very well.
Once you have your mission objectives completed you are still not done as you need push the now activated button to call in the escape pod. Pushing the button starts a 5 minute countdown where you must traverse the cave to the escape pod landing zone, and that will likely be somewhere you don't want it to be, all the while hordes of enemies are spawning to stop you. It is a hectic run to the pod and sometimes quite a challenge. You will likely learn the hard way by failing a few missions that you need to manipulate the cavern environment to make your escape more likely before you push that button. Leaving it up to chance is a good way to throw the mission at the very end.
Eventually you will promote a class by reaching level 25 and then the weekly Deep Dive missions become available to you. This also allows you to acquire weapon unlocks that enable further customization of your guns to suit your own individual play style. Each class has 2 primary weapons and two secondary weapons available with a myriad of unlocks, so there are a lot of options once you start collecting the drops. This game is certainly not for everyone and if you are unwilling to put in the time to overcome the initial disorientation then you might never get comfortable enough to see the excitement contained within this challenging shooter. The missions can be stressful but they can also be extremely rewarding when you pull off an escape while facing certain death with only a few seconds remaining on the escape pod clock. If you are up to the challenge then this game will reward you like no other.
Rock and Stone!