When I had the chance to play Scavengers at E3 2019, I left the demo impressed and optimistic. The shooting felt tight, the gameplay loop—while familiar—felt like a fresh take on a battle-royale lite, and the developer pedigree at Midwinter Entertainment added some confidence in what they were hoping to achieve. Fast forward to over a year and I’m happy to report that Scavengers is in fact keeping its promise of not only delivering a fresh take on the multiplayer shooters, but also potentially something that may take the competitive landscape by storm (all puns intended).
At first glance Scavengers looks like any other sandbox online shooter we’ve seen a million times already. But unlike every other free-to-play game in its genre, Scavengers brings the best of many worlds into its gameplay loop. It’s a survival shooter with deadly weather effects, a co-op PVE class-based shooter, and also a competitive PVP team based battle royale with crafting. While this may seem like a lot to try at once, surprisingly it just works, and within minutes of my first match I found myself completely engaged and, surprisingly, having a blast.
How Does Scavengers Play?
Scavengers at its core is a survival third-person shooter. You start by picking a classed-based character and deciding on their loadout. Similar to most character-based shooters, this loadout and character can be customized and leveled up over time with better skills, items, and perks. Unlike most shooters, your loadout does not come with you to the battlefield. Instead you will need to scavenge parts and resources from the games PVE areas and enemies in order to craft your pre selected loadout, armor, and resources. Thats not to say that you cant find useful weapons and explosives throughout the map.
During my three gameplay sessions, I was able to use a plethora of diverse weaponry, from rifles and SMGs to bows and heavy melee weapons. Everything felt balanced, and I never felt like I was outclassed when fighting against Scavengers' PVE enemies or the occasional rival team. There is definitely a massive jump in weapon quality when I was able to craft my character's unique weapons, but the trade off was that the resource requirement meant that it was near the end of the match before I could do so. In short, the weapons and skills are well balanced, and it's clear Midwinter Entertainment is paying close attention to keeping everything fair.
Character abilities are also an important factor in Scavengers' gameplay. In my demo I was able to try out three different characters who had vastly different gameplay styles and unique abilities. Unlike most similar shooters, I never felt like I was missing out on a long learning curve to be able to play well with any of the characters I demoed, and everything was easy to pick up and play. This is one of Scavengers' strongest traits: Everything just feels right, from the invisibility ability I was able to use to revive fallen allies to the speed buff provided by one of my teammates to help us get from one camp to another. The game's learning curve really helped keep the gameplay loop fresh and fun throughout, even when everything on screen was trying to kill me.
If The Bullets Don’t Get You, The Weather Will
The snowy landscape serves a bigger purpose to Scavengers than just an aesthetic. Throughout my demo I had to make sure my character stayed warm in order to not freeze to death by either staying indoors during a heavy storm or occasionally thawing out next to a fire. While I personally hate survival gameplay systems like this in most games, Scavengers made the act of staying warm and surviving passing storms more fun than annoying. The passing of a heavy storm and my lowered health from the cold kept me from playing as recklessly as I normally do in these sorts of games and gave Scavengers a level of depth I hadn’t expected. The strategic nature of random deadly weather patterns and the need to secure a brightly lit fire beacon away from cover helped keep me and my team on our toes through the match and, in one instance, possibly helped me take down an enemy team due to the chaos of a storm and lack of cover.
Vehicles and PVP enemies play a big role in Scavengers. When my team managed to secure a vehicle (by stealing it from another team) we were able to traverse the map quickly and collect enough resources to shoot to the top of the leaderboard as well as avoid any storms. While this did give us a competitive edge, the big lumbering vehicle (that eventually exploded) made us an easy target for enemy teams.
When fighting enemy teams I never felt particularly outclassed, even when I was facing a team 3-1. There's a good balance in Scavengers, and when talking to the developers during the preview, its clear that they’re taking an immense amount of time and valuing player feedback to keep the game balanced and fun.
The risk-reward gameplay loop with Scavengers' AI enemies added another layer of depth to what may be one of the most feature-full, intuitive titles coming out. Enemies range from simple one-shot-kill zombies, to armored-up bullet-sponge cannibals, and even bigger enemies that require multiple teams to work together to take down. The idea of having to briefly work with another team to kill a bigger enemy for the best rewards is intriguing and opens the possibility for strategic play unlike anything else we’ve seen in a modern shooter.
How Does Scavengers Run?
Believe it or not, I played Scavengers on an iMac Pro booted in Windows at medium-to-high settings with very few frame drops while also screen capturing and running a few other apps in the background in 1440p. Simply put, Scavengers is very well optimized considering it's still in a pre-beta state. I can't imagine this game being too inaccessible to anyone playing on the PC, considering I was able to run it on the most anti-gaming platform available.
Scavengers Preview | Final Thoughts
Its intuitive, easy to pick up, but surprisingly deep gameplay loop makes Scavengers an interesting experience, from its fun customizable character classes to its generally interesting world building. Scavengers is shaping itself up to be the next big online shooter. If you’re a fan of third-person shooters, survival games, or just looking for something new to play with friends and strangers online, Scavengers is definitely worth checking out. Simply put, it's fun, and that's what gaming is all about, isn’t it?
Techraptor previewed Scavengers at a closed-door preview event alongside members of its development team, press, and gaming influencers. Scavengers is set to release as a free-to-play title on PC sometime in 2021 and consoles at a not determined date.