Grounded review – Grounded game review
Tom’s Guide Verdict
Grounded is an unusual take on the survival/crafting genre, with a clever premise and a decent sense of style. Tedious gameplay drags the experience down, though.
- +Clever premise and aesthetic
- +Large variety of items, gear and enemies
- +Satisfying upgrades
- –Punishing gameplay
- –Aimless sense of progression
- –Underdeveloped story
If not anything else, you have to admire Grounded for taking a risk. The sport’s developer, Obsidian Entertainment, has delighted gamers for decades with deep, creative RPGs, consisting of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II and Pillars of Eternity. By assessment, Grounded is a survival/crafting game that’s light on story, heavy on repetition, and pretty an awful lot without position-gambling elements.
One component that Grounded has in common with Obsidian’s different titles, however, is that it’s possible to enter some players simply as strongly because it alienates others. Crafting sports aficionados may additionally adore Grounded for its smart placing, deep gameplay structures, and large style of gear. At the equal time, game enthusiasts who anticipated Obsidian’s signature deep story and strong man or woman customization are out of luck. This is a recreation in which you may gather sources to craft gadgets to accumulate better sources, to craft better items, and so on, but the sport received surely let you know the way to do it or why you’d want to.
It’s hard to determine whether Grounded is a frustrating revel with some top-notch touches or an outstanding experience buried under a number of busywork and boredom. Read on for our complete Grounded overview.
Grounded evaluation: Gameplay
If you’ve performed a survival/crafting recreation before, then you should sense right at domestic in Grounded. You play as one among four interchangeable teenagers, who discover themselves shrunk down to the size of an insect and stranded in a suburban backyard.
To live to tell the tale, you’ll want to acquire substances, create a shelter, build guns and tools, explore a variety of biomes and slay each aggressive insect that crosses your course. When you’re not actively crafting something you want to survive, you’ll be out locating the assets to your next huge assignment, either by using traversing the surroundings or disassembling a deadly enemy.
Roughly talking, the gameplay in Grounded has 3 predominant elements: survival, crafting, and exploration. There’s also combat, but it’s essentially just an outgrowth of the crafting gadget. You can hit enemies with both melees or ranged weapons; that’s approximately it. These 3 activities provide the game a healthful amount of variety, although none of them is pretty robust enough to stand on its very own.
In terms of immediacy, survival is the first aspect you’ll parent out. Once you select which youngster you want to play as their appearance is distinctive, and provides precisely the identical playstyle, you’ll want to collect meals and water, quickly and frequently, or risk premature death.
At first, figuring out what you may eat and drink feels worthwhile. Raw insect meat is a no-pass, as is stagnant water you find lying on the ground. Roasted meat and fresh dewdrops work much better, especially when you find a way to shop for additional resources and bring them with you. But once you get beyond the initial thrill of discovery, collecting meals and water is genuinely a piece of busywork that you need to do each day.
Crafting is the maximum massive part of the sport, but whether you discover the process engrossing or tedious relies upon a lot of your tolerance for the genre. Just approximately the whole lot you locate in Grounded plants, pebbles, and insect elements, normally part of at least one crafting recipe. You can analyze the resources you locate to gain Raw Science essentially experience factors, which teaches you new recipes over the years.
In the idea, crafting is a virtuous cycle. You craft some primary sources, including a pebble ax and a few clover armors, then exit exploring. Slaying more difficult bugs nets you harder hides; going in addition afield can get you more wonderful plants, along with blueberries or dandelions. You come lower back to your base which you can also build up and personalize via crafting, make better objects, and repeat the method. Improving your equipment, safe haven, and survival talents over the years can feel worthwhile, especially due to the fact more modern gadgets often provide a big gain over older ones.
The hassle is that during exercise, crafting is regularly an aimless and haphazard experience. The game doesn’t let you know wherein you may discover any given insect or resource, so you’ll need to explore. Fair sufficient. But you can come upon enemies and terrain which can be way too tough for you proper from the start, so which way to go is never clean. As an end result, you could waste an awful lot of time and assets on a fruitless amassing task, assuming you don’t just die outright. Then you can respawn without your hard-gained loot, or reload frequently. Neither one is a good deal amusing.
Even whilst you understand where you need to go, exploring the map may be a joyless slog. After an unprecedented plot task-directed me towards a hidden lab, I sought out the most effective to locate the entrance changed into on a very extraordinary side of the map, hidden in the back of dozens of impossibly difficult insects, and requiring all sorts of traversal gadgets that I didn’t have begun. I didn’t mind the issue, or having to conquer boundaries; I did mind that the most effective way to examine this was thru a grueling trial-and-blunders method that cost me hours of development.
Grounded evaluation: Story
If you’ve ever seen the 1989 comedy Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, then you definitely quite a whole lot recognize the story in Grounded as nicely. Four teenagers get reduced in size down and thrown into a suburban outside, in which they must fit wits with environmental dangers and belligerent insects so as to continue to exist. The essential difference in Grounded is how did we get here? Thriller performs a huge role within the plot, and also you’ll sing down a series of tiny laboratories to unearth a barely satirical science-long gone-incorrect tale.
From a story perspective, there’s nothing absolutely wrong with the story in Grounded. It’s not quite as deep as what Obsidian normally puts out, however it’s charming enough, particularly the game’s robust experience of aesthetics. Grounded takes location in 1990, and the entirety from the superhero-laden juice containers to the chunky computer consoles to the goofy person’s clothing appears like a love letter to a nostalgic generation. The aesthetics aren’t as cloying as in Stranger Things, either; when you’re out in the discipline, substance trumps style each time.
The hassle is that the gameplay and the narrative by no means intersect in any significant manner. You continue to exist by crafting shelters and tools; you strengthen the tale by way of seeking out laboratories. While you want to do both, the survival part of the game seems largely unconcerned with the story part and vice versa. It’s a largely missed possibility, especially since Grounded no longer do a terrific process of introducing gamers to the general gameplay loop, or the myriad systems therein. It’s clean to assume a barely extra-directed version of Grounded, where the story complements the gameplay instead of just providing a distant carrot and completely an excessive amount of stick.
Grounded evaluation: Visuals and sound
The maximum hanging part of Grounded’s visuals is its use of color. Grounded is a colorful recreation, with verdant green grass, deep brown dirt, and crystal-clear dewdrops, contrasted in opposition to harsh crimson soda cans and irritated crimson ants. While the visuals themselves get repetitive quite fast you’re going to look at a whole lot of dried grass and dust mounds, Grounded makes use of the full spectrum to guide its sideways attitude on everyday objects art style.
The sound design, on the other hand, is unremarkable. While the voice acting from every youngster is satisfactory, the man or woman’s quips get repetitive fast. There’s additionally little song to speak of, and the insectile chittering begins to experience grating in place of immersive after some time.
There’s probable a target audience of inveterate crafting enthusiasts who will love what Grounded has to provide. But except you’re already deeply entrenched inside the genre, Obsidian’s latest sport is a harder sell. Grounded is repetitive, punishing, and aimless, and the vital story and captivating art fashion are not strong sufficient to warrant the slog.
On the alternative hand, there’s a hidden upside to each considered one of the game’s drawbacks. The crafting gadget is deep, conquering the sport’s many demanding situations feels fulfilling, and the story offers just enough of a hook to get out and explore the large, uncommon international.
Grounded isn’t for anyone, and perhaps that’s a part of the sport’s appeal. This small-scale journey has the ability to provide huge amusement or massive frustration.