Green Hell Review

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Whenever I picture jungles, I see beauty, diversity, and life. 6000 acres of rainforest disappear every hour. It does not surprise me that the people who live and rely on the land fear outsiders. There are tales of the indigenous tribes chasing people away, and worse. Green Hell is a survival title. Developed and published by CREEPY JAR S.A and Forever Entertainment S.A. You control Dr. Jake Higgins. He is an anthropologist who returns to the Amazonian rainforest with his partner Mia. She works as his interpreter, and will help him get close to the Yabahuaca tribe.

Green Hell uses 3 different game modes to allow the player to experience the game. Story, Survival, and Multiplayer are all available to try. If you are new to the title, you have an option to complete a tutorial. I’d suggest skipping this if you are tackling the Story, as it forms the opening 10 minutes. There is no way to skip the action, and like me, you will have to play through it again. I don’t want to ruin the plot, so I won’t go into any depth. Let’s say that revisiting an angry tribe in the middle of a rainforest is not a good idea. Your expedition is going well, and then out of the blue all hell breaks loose. You must solve several mysteries, and survive the harsh environment. You are free to explore the beautiful area that you now call home. 90% of the environment can create shelters, weapons, beds, and traps. Other than the short tutorial, you are on your own. You must learn how to move forward. A tough learning curve awaits, and though it was a hard, it’s enjoyable. Bear Grylls would be proud of how you progress, but not so happy when you meet your demise. The Survival mode allows you a Sandbox experience. Wander around, build the jungle camp of your dreams and stay alive. The multiplayer was brilliant; you play with another to complete the story mode. Or with 3 others in the online version of the Survival mode. It has a communal feel to it; you share all buildings and items. Certain objects are player specific, dropping them allows for use amongst the group. All gathered materials, food, water and medical supplies are available to the tribe. For all you hoarders, remember there is no I in team.

Being a survival title, you’d expect the usual; hunger, health and stamina. Green Hell pushes this to the next level. Dr. Jake is given a solar watch for his birthday and thank goodness he did. The watch allows you to observe 4 key stats; Proteins, Carbs, Fats, and Hydration. I liked the detail that the developers went into with this element. You had to consider what foods to eat, and couldn’t chomp your way through everything in sight. It was a little frustrating when you couldn’t find the correct food group. I wouldn’t expect a restaurant in the rainforest, so sometimes food will be scarce. Being in a dangerous environment, injuries are expected. Cuts, bruises, rashes and animal bites are commonplace. They can be overcome with makeshift bandages and knowledge of the surrounding plants. You can inspect your 4 extremities, and patch up and repair any issues. You will use this an awful lot while playing, as leaches are a constant thorn in your side. Move 1 foot, a leach is sucking on your blood. Remove it and move on. Stop everything! More leaches! This is something that you will have to get used to if you play. I would like to see the developers address this issue. I know that leaches are commonplace in the jungle, but removing them was tiresome.

If you have been lucky enough to play the odd, yet stylised Don’t Starve. You will be familiar with the sanity mechanic. Green Hell has been influenced in both style and effect. Every time a negative action occurs, your sanity level takes a hit. If it drops too low, you will have difficulty identifying reality and madness. Haunting noises will play out, and you will wander around in a bewildering haze. Positive actions fill your sanity bar. Make sure you have plenty of; food, drinks, and medical supplies. This ensured that you planned for any expedition. After all, you didn’t want to be in the middle of nowhere, dying from the poison of a snake, while hallucinating. Add to the mix a constant feeling of fear, and doubt, and it was quite the nerve-wracking experience. I loved it!

As the story unfolded, and the game premise became clear, it reminded me of several other titles. The Forest and Stranded Deep. The plot was different, but the game mechanics felt familiar. Base building, a lack of guidance, and learning through trial-and-error. This places Green Hell on a par with some tougher games of the genre. On first impressions, this looks to be a tough and unforgiving tale. Its aim? To end your life. As you get to grips with the different mechanics, it’s surprising how simple everything is. If you tackle the Story mode, you will note how well the quests flow. Each follows another, unravelling the plot. The finale is fantastic, and worth buying this title for alone. The Survival mode lacked a focus for me. It was fun, and contained all the risks and fears you’d expect, but without an end goal. This was until I invited some friends to play. Arguments, group expeditions, and belly laughs. Apex predators usually chased me. It was very amusing to see them chase someone else instead of you!

Rainforests are vivid environments, teeming with life and colour. The world around you should feel alive! Luckily, the developers have done a fantastic job. They have replicated one of the most outstanding areas on the globe. They spared no details. The plants look great; and the animals look like their counterparts. Your injuries you endure look painful and realistic. It’s a treat for the eyes, it contains a vibrant and rich colour palette that transports you to the middle of the Amazon. On the PC it requires a powerful rig to ensure the best performance. I use a mid to high range gaming laptop. Within seconds it was hotter than the centre of the sun. I’d recommend that you check the spec sheet to ensure that you will run this.

Green Hell looks great and has all the essential elements for a fun and in-depth survival game. What it does well is set the scene with its audio. You’re surrounded by the ambient sounds. The rustle of the leaves as you brush past them. The howling wind, and crunch of broken twigs underfoot. A snake warning you of its presence, and the familiar growl of a big cat waiting to attack. You can’t help but admire the work of the developers. If only the quality transferred to the voice-over and narrative. It was over the top and created a sense of ham acting. If it wasn’t at such odds with the rest of the audio, I would have laughed. As it is, it made me cringe, and it left me feeling disappointed. There are no audio comms, you must use the keyboard to communicate with other players. This works well, as you are not distracted by random chatter. I’m interested to see how communication will work when it ports to console. Too much noise will ruin the atmosphere of the game.

I’ve grown up a PC player, so you’d think I’d be a master of Keyboard and Mouse. It’s not the case. The first opportunity I have to use a controller, and I’m all over it. When I loaded up the game I instinctively plugged in my pad. It surprised me that the controls changed automatically. The pleasantries were short lived! The controller was not compatible with this build. Luckily, everything is rather simple to achieve. The button layout is straightforward, and several radial menus reduce clutter. Most items have a list of commands, select these by hovering the mouse over the required action. What isn’t so user friendly is the crafting system. You create some items from the craft area, and some need you to find a blueprint in your notebook. It took some getting used to, and even now I make error after error. Each time tutting and shaking my head with frustration. There is no need to have two crafting menus, and I hope that the developers adjust this before full release.

I have ploughed hours of my time into several survival games. I return day after day, building up my supplies, and exploring the world around me. Did I get the desire to replay this title? Yes, and no. Once I had finished the story, there was little more for me to do. The survival mode as already mentioned didn’t interest me. What I enjoyed was the multiplayer aspects. This is where the game needs to evolve and expand. If you have a good group of friends, you can have endless amounts of fun. The base building opportunities need to increase, the current options are too restrictive. There is no achievement list yet, but I imagine it will be a mixed bag. The hallowed 100% will not be an easy goal. Survival games are hard to quantify with a time figure. I have given 15 hours of my life to the Amazonian rainforest, I expect to lose an awful lot more along the way.

Survival games were the go to genre for the last couple of years. Yet I can’t remember one that ticks most of the boxes like this one. A fine story, atmospheric audio, beautiful graphics, and easy to control. I could, and will, lose myself in this virtual world for hours. If the developers can adjust a few of the minor issues, then they will have an outstanding game on their hands. I recommend you buy this title, and can’t wait for it to port to console to experience all over again. Pack your bag and stay alert. One false move in the Amazon could be your last.

REVIEW CODE: A complimentary PC code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to editor@bonusstage.co.uk.

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Green Hell Review
  • Gameplay - 8/10
    8/10
  • Graphics - 9/10
    9/10
  • Sound - 7/10
    7/10
  • Replay Value - 7/10
    7/10
Overall
8/10

Summary

Visiting an angry indigenous tribe is not a wise thing to do. Sparking off a chain of events that lead you to fight for your life in the Amazonian Rainforest.

Pros

  • Stunning graphics.
  • Ambient sounds are amazing.
  • Tough learning curve with little hand-holding.
  • The multiplayer mode is fun and adds replay value.

Cons

  • Building mechanics need refining.
  • Survival mode lacks focus.
  • More building options required.
  • The amount of leaches needs to be adjusted.

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