Feature Art

Preview – Die After Sunset [Early Access] PC

Last July when I first got my hands on the Die After Sunset Beta and did an initial preview I mentioned what I’d like to see next from this Risk of Rain 2-inspired 3D action roguelite. Namely, more characters with unique gameplay styles, more mission types, a steeper difficulty curve (at least run-over-run), and co-op. Well, after playing the latest Early Access build, I can safely say we’re on the right track although there’s still a long road ahead. There is another character available now but the way they play isn’t distinct enough to really stand out on their own, feeling more like a slightly tweaked weapon loadout and a simple cosmetic change rather than a whole new playstyle. There are also more mission types but only a couple, making sure that players will keep repeating the same handful run after run, level after level. The difficulty curve unfortunately barely budges even going into the newly released third stage and respective boss. And co-op, although now definitely confirmed to be in the works, is still not available.

It’s certainly nice to see progress being made but it really isn’t that far off from what I got my hands on eight whole months ago. I said back then that I think Early Access is going to do wonders for this title and I still believe that. Working with a community of interested players is really going to help direct a roadmap to success. I’m hopeful that the team is currently still laying the foundation and are going to be pumping out all of the replayability-driven content once they have it in a solid position. Stuff like more random missions to keep players on their toes, a whole world of new items to play with and build around in order to make each run special and interesting, and different ‘paths’ that the player can spin off to instead of grinding through the same three levels over and over. I’m also bursting to see what they do with hard mode because although I originally praised the laid-back difficulty when compared with the brutal storm of Risk of Rain 2, it did quickly become apparent this time around that currently it’s almost impossible to lose a game of Die After Sunset unless you get bombarded by massive simultaneous damage, resulting in a disappointing and confusing instant-kill.

I really enjoyed the secret mission required to unlock the second character, after discovering and chatting to them in one of the stages. The mission (presumably) to get the third character was even more interesting, although I did irritatingly waste hours of my time trying to trigger the unlock event which the dev team eventually told me wasn’t in the game yet. The quests are interesting, too. Having to do things like beat the first stage without having received a single upgrade, or getting three stars on so many missions, in order to unlock alternate character load-outs is cool and gives players a reason to try weird things and overcome novel gameplay challenges. However, once again, there are so few available right now and they are so easy to beat, that the replayability rapidly dries up, resulting in overly-similar runs if you want to keep playing. All this game needs is time to mature. Here’s hoping that the community continues to grow and be excited for each subsequent release, but, right now at least, I’m not sure there’s enough to keep anybody around for too long.