Those who know me will know that I’m not much of a battle royale aficionado. I’ve had a go at PUBG, and found it kind of enjoyable, but after a couple of stints I’ve not felt the urge to go back for more. I haven’t tried Fortnite because the style just does not really interest me. If I want to waste half an hour, give me Rocket League any day of the week.
In July, I reported on Yager’s next battle royale inspired FPS game, The Cycle, and put my name into the hat for the alpha test that ran through a few days in August. Fortunately, I was selected, and although my time with the game was brief, I did enjoy what was available. Unfortunately though, screenshots and videos were forbidden, so you’ll have to make do with the limited promotional images and my words to paint a vivid picture in your mind. Sort of.
Yager has taken the typical formula for battle royale and given it a few adjustments. Rather than only contending with other players, you have the environment to be wary of too. There are a few variations of monsters roaming the forests and other biomes. You are given missions to complete on your time on the planet Fortuna III, which are essentially variations of the same thing. Extract some gas; extract some ore; extract some rare animal DNA.
Sure, this might sound repetitive, but really these objectives are just a welcome distraction from the main focus of the game: Survival. You are only given 20 minutes in each match before a storm occurs, trapping you on this planet forever. So you need to complete as many of these objectives as you can, and call in your extraction before it’s too late.
What you are able to do though when you come across another player is request that they join you as a teammate. You can only have one at a time, so usually it’ll be the first person you come across (assuming they don’t try to blow you away immediately). When you begin, you’re only equipped with a standard pistol that is very difficult to kill opposing players with. As you complete more objectives, you get more money, which you can spend on upgraded weapons. There were only two others available in the alpha: A bolt action rifle and an assault rifle. The assault rifle was my choice, simply because the bolt action was a lot more expensive…
If you do form an alliance with another player, it makes the game much easier. Most of the other players you will come across as you get closer to the timeout will be in pairs, and it is practically impossible to defeat two people on your own. Players take quite a lot of bullets to kill, with armour needing to be taken down before you even start on their overall health. This means communication is vital, which is where The Cycle falls down a bit. There are some quick chat options, and text chat was available, but it felt quite cumbersome and the other player would usually ignore what you were saying to them. There’s currently no voice chat either, which makes it even more difficult – for example in one game, the guy I was paired with went running off in a completely different direction, leaving me on my own where I got taken down by another pair of contractors.
Yager have opted to use Unreal Engine 4, and as such it runs pretty well and I didn’t experience any real glitches or bugs, which is relatively surprising for an alpha version. The environments are vibrant and colourful, although it might be nice to see a couple more enemy creature variations.
There’s also crafting and an in-game store planned, but these weren’t available in the alpha. Just the single map, and a few days to experience it. Yager is planning another alpha test soon, and I am honestly looking forward to it. I’m excited to get into the game and try it out again, and maybe this time I can get to an extraction with all objectives completed…
The Cycle is due for release sometime before the end of the year, exclusively on PC.