“You are an exile, crucified and abandoned for crimes you may or may not have committed.”
The above is pretty much all of the story you are given as you start Conan Exiles, and for a survival game this is roughly the expected. Throughout your playthrough, you can find various lore objects which will expand upon the lore of the Hyborian Age and tales of Conan the Barbarian.
Conan Exiles is very much a team orientated game regardless if you’re playing on a Player Vs Player (PvP) or Player Vs Environment (PvE) server. Both servers enable you to play the base game which includes hunting, gathering, building, delving into dungeons and slaying the boss monsters scattered throughout the land. The only difference between the two is in a PvP server you’re able to attack other players and take their equipment and resources.
Once you have joined a suitable server to meet your playstyle, you immediately take into a character creation screen. A generic character is nailed to a cross and you’re able to edit them to your hearts desire. There isn’t a great deal of presets to choose from but you can tweak them to meet your needs. What really stands about about the Conan Exiles is you have the option to enable full nudity and then play with their, measurements.
Once satisfied with your look, you are rewarded with a short cutscene which sets the scene for the overall game. That’s it, your goal now is to survive.
The Exiles Journey is crucial for new players who don’t want to resort to using Google. This is essentially a journal which can help guide new players to the basics of the game; providing direction. This is separated into chapters and begins with simple tasks such as, “Drink Something”, “Clothe Yourself”, “Craft a Tool”. Progressing further in your journey you start to have task like “Obtain the head of a Boss Creature”.
Gathering / Crafting
One of the main focuses of Conan Exiles and the Survival Genre in general is gathering resources and using these to build tools and shelter. The easiest comparison that we can make is Minecraft, because everyone has heard it’s name and pretty much knows what it’s about. Conan Exiles is a mature evolution of Minecraft.
When you first start out, there is a limited amount of resources which you can gather. The tools that you make in the beginning are made from stone and aren’t sharp enough to effectively mine Iron Ore; you can still do it but there’s going to be a lot of rock mixed in with it. Overtime as you begin to create new tools which are made of more durable material, you’ll become more efficient when harvesting. This is a vicious circle.
What really stands out with this game is the sheer amount of time that it takes to gather all the raw materials you require which then needs to be processed so you’ve got the final material you need to create your item; example Iron Ore is used to create Iron Ingots. Combining Iron Ore and Leather Hide, you can create an Iron Sword.
Playing Conan Exiles will at times feel overly grindy and soul crushingly difficult but is so rewarding. The effort which you put into the game will pay off in various ways. The tools you craft will help yield more resources, you can build a settlement and fill it with slaves (we’ll come back to this), or empower you to become the biggest dick on your server.
The above pretty much discusses how gathering resources from the land. There are a lot of creatures, including humans which are wondering the lands. If you can kill it, you can harvest something from it and this includes other players.
The combat available in Conan Exiles is surprisingly visceral and satisfying. There is a combo system in place consisting of light and heavy attacks, using this in a specific order will result in a combo dealing additional damage and in some cases status effects on your enemies.
I hate throwing this comparison out there but I’m lacking any other way to describe it, in essence the combat feels almost Souls like. The weapons and armor you’re wearing dictates the amount of movement you have when in combat. If you’re wearing light armor you can perform dodge rolls and dance around your enemies. When wearing heavier, more defensive armor you’re built like a tank and so you move like one; your dodge rolls turn into weighted side-steps.
There are 12 different weapon types present in the game ranging from one handed swords to polearms and explosives, most of which are craftable.
If you’re on the fence with Conan Exiles, take some time and check out our playthrough available on our YouTube Channel:
Our Final Thoughts
This is a rarity over at Respawning, three of us have jumped into Conan Exiles; naked, deserted and hungry. Our final thoughts and opinions are below with an overall score; our playtime is over 30 hours each.
I originally purchased Conan Exiles when it was released back on Steam back at the beginning of 2017 and I’ll be honest, I didn’t actually enjoy it. There was something about the game which felt slightly uninspired and lacked the depth that the game has now – there is a metric fuck ton of content available here now.
The launch trailer for the game does a fantastic job at giving you insight into what is actually on offer here however if you have just picked up the game with the PlayStation 4 release then you really can’t understand how far the game has actually come.
Since release on PlayStation 4 I have sunk at the very least, 60 hours into Conan Exiles. This is a survival game through and through, where you’re presented with various options for surviving. When I first started up the game I was taking notes detailing my playthrough and I found a gem which reads:
“You’re able to harvest leather and meat from killed Players/NPCs. I’ve died from food poisoning due to not cooking the human flesh. Remember to cook meat…”
That little snippet is an amazing insight into this game, also a fantastic conversational piece with friends and family – just saying.
To streamline the experience for our review, we purchased a private server using the official server hosts of Conan Exiles, GPORTAL. This meant that we would be able to progress in-game and didn’t require all of us to be online at the same time. Now, the service that we have purchased has been satisfactory, there have been some hiccups on the server end and it appears they were unprepared for the amount people requesting servers. At the time of writing this review, there are no servers available to rent due to capacity.
We’ve also purchased the server due to the fact that Luke and Myself can be monsters when it comes to other players and if they get in our way, we will destroy them over and over – we don’t have many flaws but we’re evil. 😛
Conan Exiles has provided an experience that I didn’t know I needed and has opened my eyes to the survival genre with satisfying combat, which through my experiences is rare. The game however isn’t without it’s flaws on PlayStation 4. I have been experiencing frame-rate issues throughout my playthrough which has been occurring regularly. This issue appears to be occuring during the transition between zones, going from the desert to the swamp land for example.
There is also a strange audio desync occurring randomly, you can be fighting an enemy and there is no sounds apart from the ambient noise. Suddenly, there is a rush of all of the effects which should have played after around 10 seconds, which can be jarring.
Problems aside, Funcom appear to be aware of issues with the release of Conan Exiles, so it seems many of my complaints will be remedied in due time…
This game has surprised me in how much i haven’t stopped thinking about it “god i really need to login and sort out that that thatched roof”. I really think if it wasn’t for Kratos’ massive axe i’d be playing this non stop. I have really not stopped thinking about what i want to login and modify in our little homestead, and what sexy armour i want to craft.
For sure it has it’s problems and sometimes you could liken it to a well developed runescape but once you get over the bugs and glitches there’s SO much fun to be had with this game. It is a mature minecraft with blood, monsters and a good combat system. On that note the combat system is something that’s really grown on me and i’ve realised that it’s actually pretty deep and does require some studying to improve upon.
This game is immensely fun with friends, there’s a lot more online coop fun to be had (more than monster hunter). The scope of this game is massive and I really can’t see the fun stopping any time soon. You’ll constantly be progressing and levelling up not only in terms of your skills and combat but also in terms of what you can build and craft. It’s something i’d definitely recommend to play, especially if you have friends you can get on once a week with.
I’ve written my own sort of ‘gamers diary’ that you can check out here.
Conan Exiles wasn’t really a game on my radar a few weeks ago, upon looking into it a bit more when we were provided with some codes I didn’t really think it was going to be my thing, survival games such as Ark never really struck a chord with me and I never really found any enjoyment in them.
But alas, Colin and Javier were online on a Friday evening so I thought I would give it a go and try the game out. A few hours later we had built our first homestead and crafted the tools we needed to survive the night, so I went to bed. As I did so I thought, I think I know all I need to know about this game to craft a decent part of this review and I had resigned myself to being all but done with the game…
Until I woke up early Saturday morning and thought: I will just plunge another hour into it and see what else the game has to offer… 17 hours later I logged out of the game having spent my entire Saturday doing very little else and crafting and exploring and surviving. I don’t know what it is that makes Conan Exiles such an incredibly fun game but ever since this day I have found myself unable to think of any other game. Conan Exiles has taken over my life, and I fucking love it.
Want to get your hands on Conan Exiles and maybe even join in on Colin, Javier and Luke’s primitive little world? Why not purchase the game through one Amazon Affiliates Links?