When Scavengers was teased early last year, I knew it was something to be excited about. The talent behind Scavengers is an all-star team of developers with AAA experience. Co-founder of Midwinter Entertainment Josh Holmes was once the studio head of 343 Industries, and the rest of his team have comparable experience. I was fortunate enough to play a round of Scavengers, and I firmly believe it could become the next multiplayer game everyone can't get enough of.
Scavengers is a multiplayer third-person shooter with survival elements, competitive play, and even a hint of battle royale flair. The objective is to gather crystals found throughout the expansive map of the game and make it to a dropship once you've gained the necessary amount. If your team makes it to the dropship first, you win.
In my demo, I was on a team with two Scavengers developers. To start with, the demo allowed us to choose between four different characters. Each one comes with a unique ability and also character-specific weapons you can craft later on. The final release will have eight separate classes and more post-launch.
When the demo begins, the ruins of civilization lie before us, so we break for the nearby buildings and begin to scavenge. In Scavengers, you will constantly be on the hunt for loot and materials. You begin without any weapons or consumable items, so it's up to you to find them by searching around. Soon, one of my teammates found a gun and transferred it over to me with some ammo. The gameplay encourages teamwork and providing each other with supplies the other teammates possibly lack. I was constantly given excess loot so I could keep up.
Scavengers also features a crafting system. As you pick up loot you are able to scrap any objects you find, such as unneeded weapons and ammo. You use the scrap to craft consumables, class-specific weapons, and sidearms. Because of this, characters feel unique and provide the team with a different and useful skillset.
But, it's a dangerous world in Scavengers and you'll need other tools to survive. My teammates constantly reminded me to eat to keep my hunger gauge full. Various wildlife like deer and bears are found roaming the map and provide ample sustenance, provided you cook their meat at a fire. Fires provide heat too - when our characters became too cold we huddled by a fire and went on our way. Some of the most heart-pounding moments are when blizzards come roaring through. Getting caught in the open with no shelter is fatal, but luckily we were able to find cover and wait out the storm.
When you're not battling the elements you'll face against both AI and human players. We fought various enemies like groups of bandits straight out of a Mad Max as well as terrifying, mutated-looking zombie enemies. The bandits were in makeshift outposts with valuable supplies and loot. When we engaged, the third-person shooter mechanics feel really tight and there was considerable player feedback. If the battle became overwhelming, I dropped my area-of-effect healing ability and another teammate dropped his shield.
We eventually encountered two other player groups. One enemy team attempted to take us out while we were in a bandit faction's fort. One of my teammates took the higher ground and picked the opposing team off from afar while the rest of us fought on the ground and finished them off. When players die, they crawl around with the ability to be revived by teammates. After diminishing their health bar once more, they explode with loot like Fortnite or Apex Legends.
By this point we had a vehicle to zoom around the map. We eventually gathered enough crystals to call in a drop ship, and we raced to the DMZ. The last remaining enemy team attempted to ambush us there. After a frantic firefight, only one of us survived but he did make it to the drop ship, securing our victory. When all is said and done, the entire match lasted roughly 30 minutes, which seems to be the perfect length for this type of game. These matches aren't likely to drag on for very long and there was no down time. You'll either be scavenging, fighting, crafting, or huddling for warmth.
There are a lot of mechanics at play in Scavengers, but it was very easy to pick up and play. Combat is simple and satisfying and the map seemed vast enough that gameplay is bound to stay fresh. Midwinter seems to have consolidated a lot of popular multiplayer mechanics from other titles into one very cohesive and refreshing multiplayer experience. When Scavengers drops some time next year, I fully expect to see it to take the video game world by storm.
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