Green Hell is a game that’s deeply rooted in the art of survival. In the Pre-release demo, you play as an anthropologist, who has travelled, with his wife Mia, to a mysterious tropical island on the outskirts of South America to contact the island’s tribesmen. One day, however, Mia fails to return to the camp in which they are staying, and it’s up to the players controlling Mia’s husband to travel along across the island to rescue her.
Green Hell is played from a first-person perspective and takes place entirely on the tropical island. As previously mentioned, survival plays the central role of Green Hell’s gameplay mechanics. Everything ranging from combat, resource gathering, exploration, and resting depends entirely on the player’s actions and the game encourages them to balance the tasks at hand to remain alive.
In the Pre-release version and most likely in the full game on its release, crafting plays a crucial role in helping the players survive the many dangers of life in the rainforest. All items used for combat, food, and shelter, are made by gathering objects scattered throughout the land. To craft a campfire for example, players must gather a set number of twigs and sticks create the bonfire and must then craft the additional items needed to start the fire. Other items include medical instruments like bandages, and traps used to capture and kill prey and other enemies. The crafting system is the demo’s greatest and most satisfying component as the act of crafting complex tools in a harsh environment do fill players with a strong sense of accomplishment. Despite this, crafting does sometimes suffer from what the player must do in order to craft the items they need. The concept of searching the environment for resources can become a chore for some, and the simple task of hacking down trees multiple times simply to get wood can quickly become a tedious affair. The User Interface can also become rather confusing to use as well. Players can select between their notebook, crafting bench, and map through the use of a wheel. The notebook is brought up with a hilarious grunt from the player and explains the different items needed to craft tools and equipment, while the workbench allows players to take the items they’ve found to finally craft those tools. Players can eventually get used to the User Interface and its layout, but since the demo sometimes uses both the notebook and the workbench to allow them to craft items, it could leave some people a bit confused.
Crafting is also used for medical treatment, as players must scavenge for fresh materials and ingredients to treat illness and physical damage. As players traverse the landscape, they must always look out for poison and must always watch their footing in case they fall. Falling or getting seriously injured in a fight could result in scars or even a broken limb. To treat this player could inspect each of their limbs for injuries and could them gather leaves to craft bandages to cover the wounds. Players could also keep track of their condition with their watch, which gives stats based on their hunger, health and thirst. It’s an immediately useful item, which gives players the immediate attention they need when it reveals that the character is beginning to suffer. The medical system in the game works entirely similar to the rest of the game since it relies entirely on crafting, so even though finding the items can become a chore, it’s still a serviceable mechanic that gives players a strong sense of relief once they have finally managed to path themselves up after a fight or healing themselves from a beehive or poisonous plant.
Combat is mainly centred around melee weapons, and players will need them to find the necessary items needed to craft vital materials and to defend themselves from dangerous enemies. Like most items in the game, weapons also must be crafted entirely from raw materials, which mainly revolve around wood and bindings. Once the weapons are created, they can be used to chop down other trees to collect more wood and to fight off dangerous animals and natives who seek to kill you. While the overall combat system can feel relatively floaty, visual feedback is solid as enemies stumble from perfectly timed blows, and this helps to improve a genuinely efficient style of action. Stealth also makes an entrance as players can sneak up on enemies and attack them from behind if their health is too low or the enemy is particularly powerful. The bow is also extremely useful for picking off enemies from a distance.
Alongside the demo’s brief survival mode, the game also comes with a small selection of challenges, which test the player’s understandings of the game’s complex mechanics, and the lessons taught in survival. The first challenge tasks players with gathering objects and building a bonfire before the timer runs out. The second challenge requires players to build a raft, while the final and most challenging task is to build a camp. All three of these challenges do a good of testing what players have learned from the brief survival mode, and they put them to the test in both crafting and defending themselves from all kinds of enemies. They also give more insight into the game’s open-world style, as players are allowed to explore the area freely without restrictions to search for resources.
Green Hell goes for a visual style that follows closely in the tracks of realism instead of a joy ace, cartoonish style. In some regards, this style works well as the game world is serviceably detailed and everything contained within it are convincing enough to immerse players in the world. They don’t live up to larger budget titles as they lose much of their detail once players observe them more closely, but the graphics are nevertheless good enough to portray a convincing world. These positives however, are held back by many technical issues. The framerate is distractingly choppy throughout the demo and it heavily disrupts the presentation of the game. Alongside the framerate, the motion blur could also hinder the overall look of the game for some players, who aren’t interested in a cinema style of visuals.
Throughout the game, the visuals are held back by several smaller inconsistencies. tools, being carried by the player, clip through solid objects frequently, some surfaces flicker uncontrollably, and the characters very often make noises at the same time as when they are talking, which always sounds highly unnatural. It should also be noticed that these issues occur mainly on higher resolutions. Even on medium settings, these issues still make an appearance on many occasions, and the framerate and motion blur always remain.
After playing the demo Green Hell definitely shows promise as a solid survival game. While the crafting system can become repetitive and tedious for some players due to its extensive reliance on gathering resources, it nevertheless provides enough depth and variety to give all players a strong sense of accomplishment when they create something especially useful. The game’s technical performance could definitely use some work but its overall graphical presentation runs well, thanks to decent graphics. Green Hell so far feels like it’s stepping in the right directions to become a popular survival game. If it mends some of its technical issues and adds more variety to its missions and objectives, it will most likely be a resounding success.
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