Extraction-based PvPvE games tend to be slow, suspenseful affairs. Something about the nature of heading into a deadly zone filled with AI enemies while rival players gun for the same objectives has compelled developers to go for a brooding realistic tone, as seen in gritty games like Hunt: Showdown and Escape from Tarkov.
But newcomer in the field Scavengers breaks that trend, upping the style to bring colourful characters, breakneck sliding mechanics, and dance moves to the typically stern genre. It’s still a tough online shooter that will push your shooting and survival skills to the limit, but boy does it have fun doing it!
In Scavengers, Earth’s moon has been shattered by an asteroid. Broken moons are never a good thing (probably), and in this case it’s caused the world to freeze over, aggressive weather patterns to form and - for good measure - much of the planet’s fauna to mutate into something nasty.
You control one of several ‘Explorers’- remnants of humanity who descend into wastelands populated by swarming monsters, wildlife, and well-equipped Outlanders looking to test their gear on players. Guided by a powerful AI called ‘Mother’, players must go in, extract data and resources from enemy outposts, then extract on the Mothership before being swept away by the ever-impending snowstorms.
So go in, shoot some baddies, maybe a few other players, and get out? Sounds simple enough, but the sheer amount of stuff you’ll have to contend with in between those steps is what makes Scavengers stand out.
First, there’s the fact that you and two teammates will not only be contending against 57 other players with the same goals as you (PvP, remember?). With its heavy focus on action, Scavengers may throw dozens of AI enemies your way in intense skirmishes - whether that’s relentless swarms of mutants, smart human AI holding onto outposts, and even bosses that may or may not appear as emergent world events.
Then there’s the survival aspect. Earth as depicted in Scavengers is a cold and inhospitable place, so players will need to be thinking about food and warmth to survive. Hunt animals in the wild (hint: stick to the deer rather than the ravenous mutant bears), and light fires in the sparse bits of shelter you find, before readying up and heading into the fray to retrieve that data for Mother.
Successfully extract with data, and you can buy talents, weaponry and supplies for your next expedition. Each Explorer has unique abilities that encourage teamplay, such as Cruz’s Tailwind, which speeds up all squaddies around you, or Valoria’s Aegis Shield which plops down a protective dome around your team.
Your goals will evolve throughout a match as you pursue side-missions, seek salvage to craft unique weapons for your explorer, and contend with dynamic events and weather systems that can throw the tightest squads into disarray. In other words, there’s barely a moment in Scavengers where you’re not in the thick of some kind of action.
Once the time comes to extract, multiple teams can technically leave the ship together, but don’t count on an extracting team to reach out their hands and help you onboard, as killing you yields more lucrative rewards from Mother. Right up to the dying seconds, you need to stay sharp to survive.
Scavengers has hit the ground running since landing in May. Developers Improbable and Midwinter Entertainment are doing a great job of building a community around the game too, as seen in the 4000-strong turnout for the launch of ScavLab - a large-scale testing ground for new features that can involve a lot of players.
It’s all happening in the world of Scavengers right now. Head over to the official site to keep up with the latest events and updates, or if you and a couple of friends want to jump right in, you can grab the game on Steam or Epic Games Store. It’s free to play, so all you have to lose is dozens of hours of your time as you get sucked into this liveliest of takes on the apocalypse.