We Preview The Culling

Fans of the “Hunger Games” books and films had at times wondered if the series would be a good basis for a videogame as it is one of the highest grossing film series ever not have some type of videogame tie-in. The tricky combination of a storyline involving gladiatorial style combat of young children is likely a contributing factor to this as I am sure publishers are extremely squeamish about this portrayal especially when they would be concerned about people possibly acting out the game scenarios in real life. Enter a new game called The Culling which is currently in an Closed Alpha phase which looks to combine aspects of The Hunger Games with characters that are clearly adults.

Players can customize the look of the characters as they enter into a game show competition known as “The Culling”, where players will be deposited on an island and forced to battle other players or teams in order to survive. Along the way they will craft weaponry using Nanite technology known as “F.U.N.C.” which can allow something as simple as a spear to be crafted from a couple of rocks and stick. Players will also be able to salvage weapons from supply crates that are dropped randomly throughout the map and it certain base points, can salvage items from a locker and recycle them at various vending machines to receive more resources down the way.

Players have three resource slots available to them and will be able to unlock more as the game progresses. After completing two phases of tutorials that taught me everything from crafting weapons, traps, explosives, firearms, and more, I was ready to venture into the jungle arena. My first match found me pretty much hiding out although I was able to be updated as to the progress of my teammates based on an announcer voice which along with their quips and puns reminded me a lot of the classic Smash TV arcade game announcer.

In time I was able to find a sizable bladed weapon which I then used to sneak up on an unsuspecting enemy. Despite landing three solid blows across the enemy’s head with the weapon, they were able to produce a baseball bat and eliminate my player and one attack. This is a bit of the frustration I had with the game as once you are killed you have no other option other than to spectate or start a new match. Time and again I would get the drop on an enemy and unleash a fury of attacks upon them with everything from spears, knives, arrows, and more, and would be dispatched by far less contact. I remember one enemy that I unleash over 12 solid connections upon to the point where blood was all over the map yet they were able to dispatch me with two quick folks with spear even though I had impaled them with spear, stabbed them repeatedly, and smash them with a rock in the head multiple times.
The game does not reward aggressive play very well and as such I opted to play a more conservative approach which actually paid off well when I was able to dispatch players with a few traps such as setting off some poison gas traps throughout the map.

The best way to gain experience is to combat other players but in doing so this can drastically shorten your time in the game as you really do not know which combat tactics and weapons work best until you employ them against other opponents. The longer I was able to stay alive through hit-and-run tactic eventually resulted in the playing area being reduced as the game wants players to be in combat with one another but it is very easy to go several minutes without even coming close to another player.

Players will receive items such as clothing and other accessories that they can customize the look of their player with after matches and they do have the option to either battle as a team or solo throughout the campaign.

While I was frustrated with some of the combat elements of the game, I certainly found the premise of it interesting enough and it does give you a bit of suspense as you do have an element of constantly looking over your shoulder for the next attack when you are scrounging and crafting your weapons.

The game is set to be released is a value priced title which I think bodes well for it as I could see the appeal of being able to go into the game with a group of your buddies and form a hunting party who mutually protects one another.

The game has decent if not spectacular graphics and gameplay which hopefully will be enhanced as the game moves closer to final release. As it stands now, The Culling shows a lot of promise and hopefully the final release will add more locales, combat balance, and polish to what looks to be a very interesting and enjoyable game.