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It's Left 4 Dead, but you're badass space miner dwarves

I'm only one day into PAX West 2017, but I can already tell that Deep Rock Galactic (opens in new tab) will be one of the best things I see in Seattle. Currently in closed alpha, Ghost Ship Games' FPS takes the 'get to the chopper' setup of Left 4 Dead and imprints it onto colorful, procedurally-generated alien caves.

You're four resourceful dwarves sent by Deep Rock Galactic to mine dangerous worlds for resources. Once you touch down, your team clambers through ragged, polygonal tunnels and rooms in search of a valuable ore called Morkite. Other precious metals populate the caves too, which can be pickaxed to purchase deployable turrets or call in supply drops, the only way I saw to replenish ammo. Accompanying you is a robotic storage unit that you empty the ore into.

What I like most about Deep Rock is how evenly it balances exploration and combat. I wasn't fighting constantly. The alien spiders came in waves, often with a warning given before their arrival, not unlike L4D's crescendo events. Between combats, we had to solve some simple physical problems in order to navigate the caves: laying ziplines to get across crevices, using a 'platform gun' to build steps to ore embedded high on a wall, or using one character's giant drills to deform the subterranean terrain. It's always a good sign when a game that relies on procedural generation has a sense of pacing.

Deep Rock Galactic should go into Early Access in the first quarter of 2018, and it'll be interesting to see how Ghost Ship expands on the good foundation it's laid so far. Right now there's only one mission type (get in, get the Morkite, get out), and in the video above game director Mikkel Martin Pedersen sheds some light on other objectives they're considering, like a rescue mission, or an attempt to fight your way through a facility that's overrun with enemies.

Evan's a hardcore FPS enthusiast who joined PC Gamer in 2008. After an era spent publishing reviews, news, and cover features, he now oversees editorial operations for PC Gamer worldwide, including setting policy, training, and editing stories written by the wider team. His most-played FPSes are CS:GO, Team Fortress 2, Team Fortress Classic, Rainbow Six Siege, and Arma 2. His first multiplayer FPS was Quake 2, played on serial LAN in his uncle's basement, the ideal conditions for instilling a lifelong fondness for fragging. Evan also leads production of the PC Gaming Show, the annual E3 showcase event dedicated to PC gaming.