A harsh and savage world beckons with an offer to trade humanity for immortality and power. A strange presence informs you of an ancient race and their fantastic machines, the Crucibles, which have lain dormant for a millennium. The Crucibles need a tribe to restore them and protect them from the beasts they war with. If you take up their cause they promise to make you as gods of the world.
Eden Rising is a coop tower defense survival hybrid where you and your friends take on the role of Wardens defending your base and expanding your territory. It mixes classic tower defense and light base building with survival elements. Combat merges real-time tower defense with player driven action-combat in a way that makes each battle feel unique.
The game has two modes – siege and open world. The game is mainly played in the open world. Your character starts out in a Crucible base which offers some sanctuary features like health regeneration, item storage, and some defensive mechanisms. From that point, a seamless tutorial process leads you through game systems while familiarizing yourself with the world.
Siege mode is a focused instanced combat map of your base or various Crucible structures being attacked by beasts. This is a timed tower defense mode.
The game runs on a client-server architecture whether single or multiplayer. That means when you launch the game it starts up a local server that your game client connects to. You can make your server public or private and even password lock it. The server configuration options are limited but you can create as many servers as you want. These work like game saves, so you could have multiple saves for different friends.
Lore and Atmosphere
The planet is bright and otherworldly, the music haunting and atmospheric. The color palette is bright and saturated, radiating a primal and pristine vibe. At a casual glance, the alien landscape of Eden looks a bit like a planet in No Man’s Sky.
The premise for being there and the lore behind the game, so far, seems a bit dubious. With no explanation, you open the game to a dialog between you and the representative of the Crucible. The Crucible are fantastic and powerful machines created by the Ascendents. For an equally inexplicable reason, the Crucible need a “tribe” (that’s you and your friends) to trade your humanity for power and the promise of divinity. For that, you get a new cybernetic body, part human part machine, and become a Warden of the Crucible fighting “the beasts” which attack outposts and have for over a thousand years.
It’s not hard to look past the string of implausible premises and jump right in, but Nvizzio could have done a lot better. They could have appealed to a sense of morality, duty, honor, or personal interest. There could have been a lot of good reasons why we would choose to forego our humanity, become a cyborg, and war against the natural inhabitants of the planet, but they didn’t choose those. Instead, they appealed to our most base lust for power and godhood for personal gain.
Fortunately, this painful plot fiasco is over in the first few minutes and is easily forgotten, overwhelmed by the beautiful atmosphere, open world environment, and interesting gameplay.
Survival in Eden Rising takes on a different form than traditional titles like Conan Exiles and ARK: Survival Evolved. There is no food, water, environmental, sickness, or fatigue management. Harvesting, item production, and gear upgrading feels much akin to performing those tasks in a survival game, but only casually so. While the water is corrosive that isn’t exclusively a survival design.
In practice, the game is a survival title because living is precarious in the open world while trying to harvest materials or kill beasts for their parts. Health only regenerates naturally while at your base. Health globes found in the world can replenish some, but they’re a limited resource and best saved for sieges.
Manufacturing is simple and a function of collecting the right parts and having the appropriate plans. The challenge to crafting is how best to manage limited resources to the best effect. Most items share a base resource and then have a specific rare component requirement. This rare material can be used in a few different items, so you will need to choose which one of those items is most useful until you can harvest more.
This also plays into your siege and open world combat strategy. Some beasts are weaker against certain turrets or mines. If you spend all your resources on personal gear upgrades it might leave your turret and mine reserves too low.
Outside of your base, there is an alien world to explore and conquer. In addition to harvesting resources from plants or mineral nodes, you can battle beasts and collect their body parts to craft advanced items and upgrade gear.
There are also machine structures dotting the landscape. Your task is to find and reactivate these. They provide benefits such as resource production, fast travel waypoints, and home bases.
I’ve enjoyed my first few hours with the game. There is a lot more to explore and uncover and I’ve only scratched the siege system, unlocking machines, and upgrading my equipment. The game can be highly challenging even on the easiest difficulty, but the play time is enjoyable.
Note: Our copy was reviewed on Steam with a code provided by PR.