Osiris: New Dawn
Unless you’ve been languishing under a rock for the past few years as a gamer, survival games are pretty much all the rage right now. And I get it—there’s something special that happens when game developers get the survival equation just right. Banding together with fellow survivors in a game’s digital world, gathering resources, building bases, fighting off human and AI opponents. There isn’t really anything else that can draw you in, than that primal urge to survive and the need for community in order to do so.
Going solo in survival games usually ends up with you being quickly toe-tagged. Therefore, teaming up with other human players (especially friends) is not only fun, but essential to long-term survivability. But so far, at least until very recently, survival games were mainly either of the survival horror or post-apocalyptic sorts. For the time being, at least, Facepunch Studio’s Rust has risen from the multitudinous ocean of the latter genre, and its gritty, band-together-or-die gameplay either attracts players to its rather unforgiving nature, or makes them rage-quit after being killed by other players, repeatedly.
But what about space? I’ve always wondered how developers would tackle the immensity of the vacuum. How could computers be able to map and model such vast areas? Well, we’re finally seeing just what computers are capable of. I’m sure that we all know that although No Man’s Sky was a commercial disaster, but at least it showed us how gigantic areas could be articulated within the digital realm. The equally recent space romp, Empyrion – Galactic Survival, smartly downscaled its environs to servers filled with no more than fifteen to twenty or so planetary bodies, max. Personally, some friends and I binged on Empyrion for several months straight since it was such an engaging experience. I intend to return to it once its developers add in more content.
Fellow indie gaming developer, Fenix Fire, has thrown its hat into the space opera ring. Their new game, titled Osiris: New Dawn, is certainly garnering lots of attention. I recently sat down to play Osiris, and was blown away, not only by its game play and design, but also its strong cinematic vibe. Therefore, it came as no surprise when I later learned that one of Fenix Fire’s primary inspirations was Ridley Scott’s The Martian. Your character can even find potatoes, and has to patch his suit during the beginning stages of each game.
Osiris is a game set in the near future of 2046, and humans have just discovered interstellar travel. Eager to explore the galaxy, the United Nations of Earth sent out an expeditionary team to find habitable planets. Of course, something goes terribly wrong, and instead, you crash-land on one of the moon’s orbiting an immense ringworld. In another nod to The Martian, the moon that you land on, Proteus II, looks eerily similar to the Red Planet.
From there, players must erect an inflatable dwelling, and begin harvesting resources in order to eventually build a fully-fledged habitat. You can also build vehicles and space ships once you have accrued enough of the components requires needed for them. You must also choose one of two factions to play as, the more officious United Nations of Earth, or the Outlanders, which are more space pirate-y. Throughout the game, whatever skills that you use you gain experience in. These can range from military, engineering, chemistry, zoology, botany, and many other fields.
One of the things that first struck me while playing Osiris, was its sense of atmosphere. Looking up into the sky, I could see the vast, ringed planet. More immediately, I noticed how dust and dirt blew around so realistically, from some of the storms that frequently break out on Proteus II. The alien critters that infest the moon are also beautifully rendered and scamper around utilizing totally different modes of locomotion. Sometimes, I caught myself looking at the indigenous lifeforms so much, that I didn’t notice until the last minute that they were attacking me.
Indeed, Proteus II is a gorgeous, but highly dangerous place to be, at least for humans. Not only do you have to watch out for other humans and alien creatures, but there are also environmental hazards, such as extreme variances in temperature, and even potentially calamitous meteor showers. As of this writing, Fenix Fire just recently dropped a massive update on us giddy gamers. The update contains a bunch of new content for Osiris, and even a brand new moon that players can explore, called Aziel.
Osiris’s graphics are very well done. The level of detail in the environments, lifeforms, character animations and models—they’re all simply stunning. Especially considering that they were created by a very small indie developer. The game also features some great sound effects, and some rousing musical scores, adding to its already strong cinematic sensibilities.
Osiris: New Dawn is off to a magnificent start—its maiden voyage is indeed intriguing. Six planets and sixteen moons are mapped out in the game’s future, and the developer is constantly toiling away at improving Osiris through a steady stream of updates and patches. I’d say that by next year, Osiris could very well be a viable contender for survival game of the year, if it continues along on its current upwards trajectory.
Osiris: New Dawn offers highly detailed visuals that suit its science fiction theme. However, you have to have an equally fast gaming PC in order to play it at a decent framerate. So, you may just want to invest in a decent gaming rig:
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