So here we are in 2018, with the battle royale genre reigning, and it really is starting to become a bit of a nuisance. AAA studios and publishers are tackling the genre themselves, coming up with ideas of taking their own IPs and seeing what they could carve and twist out of them to ride on the success of PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds and Fortnite. Those aren’t so bad. What has become a real headache are the poor imitations, the small-studio "developers" who think they'll be the next big hit. I have two words for those studios: "don't bother". Case in point, Outpost Games' SOS: Battle Royale.
Before talking more about this game, let's get something out of the way first. Despite this being a preview, I haven't actually played SOS: Battle Royale. The extent of my gameplay time started with the splash-screens, followed by the forced creation of a Hero TV account, then when I hit Play to initiate the matchmaking, I proceeded to wait well over 30 mins. Which came as no surprise as no bugger is playing. However, in a shocking turn of events, after 30 minutes of matchmaking, I did manage - once - to join a game. Arriving in a lobby with six other players...yeah, six (out of 32 max), the match began with that "iconic" drop-in, but that was my extent of gameplay. The game crashed, with no given reason. No, "oh it's stopped responding" or an Unreal Engine crash error, nope. It simply had given up and closed itself.
Reeling from the deep sigh of “do I have to?”, while actually waiting to join a game again, I explored the menus. You have a few options to start with and yes, I bet these had monetisation in mind. "Character customisation" - well, I say customisation, you can choose from a selection of survivors and change their clothing and hair colour. There is also a variety of emotes you can use to poorly express yourself, but since the survivors are a bunch of generic buffoons that not only look obnoxious but are the video game embodiments of the kind of people who join reality shows for the “fame". Which as it turns out, is the actual premise of the game. That's right, it's a battle royal game set in a reality TV-show where contestants have to kill each other off. Very original. But I digress. What comes next isn't me actually previewing the game, but divulging into the development history. Afterall, while it is an early access game on Steam and released in January 2018, it didn't start off as a battle royale game.
Looking at the store page on Steam, you shouldn't be surprised to see that this game has received an "Overwhelming Negative" response from the community. There was clearly a backlash, but when was this and what happened? Well, besides the developers baiting and switching, they originally had quite an interesting premise. On its initial release in January, according to Steam users, SOS was a social-based game, with social interactions from Twitch and Hero TV. Instead of a large-scale battleground, you were one of 16 placed on the island of La Cuna, with the aim of collecting one of four relics on the island and extracting, but this wasn’t an easy task. The relics were protected by the island's monsters: the Hupia. It was up to you to decide how to get one of the relics, with 15 other players on the island seeking a relic and extraction too, you would need to either fight, form a team and work together or form a team for your own gain and betray. Interestingly enough, had the game stuck to this premise, then I'd been a lot more interested in playing.
Unfortunate to say, this very mode was relegated to becoming SOS: Classic, an optional download included with its now main garbage royale mode, which has since become its namesake. As seen clearly by the negativity the store page is brimming with, I can not recommend this game. In fact, don't even bother playing this, it's dead. And with the price of admission being £11.39, you'd be foolish to waste your money on it.
The TL;DR of SOS: Battle Royale is: It's just not worth your time. If it had been free-to-play, maybe more people would be playing, but even then, why? Especially when there are far superior battle royale games out there. If the developers had stuck with their original core design, it may stand a chance of being an interesting social-game focusing on trust and deceit, but no, they'd rather splatter themselves across the rails of the battle royale-hype train.