Conan is a fictional fantasy character most famously known for the ’80s film when Arnold Schwarzenegger played the character. Well Conan Exiles is far different to any other iteration of the character because it takes place in the prehistoric era and Conan himself is rarely seen. Conan Exiles is instead an open world survival video game where you have to create your own character. Is this a game that Conan fans will like? Find out in our full review of Conan Exiles.
Despite this game being called Conan Exiles, you don’t even get to play as Conan. The only time you see the character is at the beginning when he frees your character from dying. After that, you are left on your own to try and survive the dangerous area simply called ‘The Exile Lands’.
In some video games, character creation options can be mundane and boring due to the lack of things to make your character look cool. Thankfully, Conan Exiles is unlike any other video game out there because you can alter things that really aren’t featured in most other video games. This game got a lot of media attention recently because you are able to change the breast size for females and even the size of the penile area for males!
Aside from the NSFW areas, you can also customize a lot of other features for your character. As expected, female characters look big and curvy while the men are more masculine like Arnold Schwarzenegger himself. That said, the customization is mostly cosmetic because you cannot alter a class or the way your character fights like in other video games.
After you create your own character, you are pretty much left on your own to survive and figure out what to do. There’s no real tutorial to tell you the controls or what to do. The whole open world environment is available to you from the very start and it’s up to you to make up your own journey. There are certain goals you can complete in the main menu under the “Journey” tab. These goals are categorized into ten different chapters and it’s up to you to try and complete them all.
The earlier goals are pretty much easy to attain because they might involve your character doing things like eating or drinking water. The more you play the game though, the more skills you will need to complete them. This can include doing activities like building your own shelter or cooking your meat on a fire instead of just eating it raw like an animal.
I like the fact that Conan Exiles somewhat gives you some type direction or goal to complete unlike other survival games where you are left on your own. I remember playing Sea of Thieves not too long ago and I hated that game for its lack of direction. Sea of Thieves did not tell me what to do or even show me the controls either. Here in Conan Exiles, you are at least guided to an extent to become a better hunter and gatherer.
That said, Conan Exiles is not a truly solo experience either because you are able to find friends online to make your journey in ‘The Exile Lands’ easier than being alone. Sadly, co-op gameplay is strictly online as there’s no split-screen option so you will need PlayStation Plus or Xbox Live Gold to get multiplayer help. Multiplayer is pretty essential because fighting off other humans and animals become really difficult if you have to face everyone by yourself.
Even though the ecosystem in this game is brutal, the AI given to the animals is pretty cool. Animals can target any humans they see so sometimes they can help you fight off savages and cannibals that might be attacking you with hordes of arrows. Speaking of arrows, you will want to avoid them at all cost because they slow down your movement.
Combat as a whole is stiff and brutal much like people would have done when they were cavemen/cavewomen. It’s an acquired taste and hard to master in my opinion because it’s not graceful or very fun. Things get worse if you are playing solo because everyone just surrounds you and destroys you easily. Surprisingly, this game has gory violence because enemies die in a pool of blood depending on which weapons you use on them!
Graphically, Conan Exiles looks pretty nice although there are some performance issues that ruin the experience. When there were lots of characters on the screen, the frame rate would dip a lot and lag was also present when I was playing the game online. The technical issues do not make the game unplayable, but I was expecting the game to perform much better since I was playing on a PS4 Pro instead of just a normal PS4 console.
Conan Exiles is not a bad game, although it’s not a great game either. It’s far more enjoyable than Sea of Thieves thanks to giving players more direction, although gamers that don’t play survival genre video games aren’t going to enjoy this game a lot. Only gamers that have many online friends and love survival games are going to get the most enjoyment out of Conan Exiles.
[Editor’s Note: Conan Exiles was reviewed on the PS4 Pro platform. The game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]