Shadows of Kurgansk Review
Article By guest writer Bill Cooney.
Zombie terror meets survival in the first Steam release from Yadon Studio.
There are so many zombie games out now, they all kind of start to blend together, but Shadows of Kurgansk manages to stand out, somewhat. Survival is the name of the game in this first person Indie game released on Steam December 15. Your character awakes from a helicopter crash in a strange land inhabited by various monsters, and it’s up to you to survive.
Visually, the game is appealing. The graphics are cartoony, in the same vein as games like Borderlands. Textures are lacking though, and at some points it feels like the game is from the mid-2000s and not 2015. The character animations are strong, and the desolates (the game’s name for its zombie-like enemies) can even be a little freaky at times. The lighting is also good, during the day at least. Come nightfall it can be difficult to see features in the terrain or attackers if you aren’t able to craft a torch or other light source.
One of the main tenants of any survival games is crafting, and this game is full of it. There’s a wide variety of craftable tools and items, anything from flint axes early on, to metal tools and torches later on. Collecting resources is simple enough, just use the Minecraft technique of hitting things until materials fall out of them. Materials also fall out of enemies and can be found in stashes around the map.
Combat in the game is surprisingly fluid, despite awkward, anatomically questionable movements from the main character. Ranged combat is functional, though it may not be the prettiest. Like most open-world survival games there is a skill system with three different attributes you can feed into as you progress through the game: combat, stamina, and survival. Weapons have a wear meter, and once it fills up, that weapon is gone. No repairs or weapon storage areas, so if ya got it, ya better use it.
There is also a morale mechanism, which seems like a well-intentioned attempt to add some depth, but ends up just being a way to die faster. Morale is lost whenever your character takes damage, and losing morale makes you easier to kill. Which makes fighting large groups of enemies, or fighting for an extended period of time, almost impossible.
Exploration is one of the best parts about this game. The majority of buildings are able to be broken into and useful loot can often be found inside. After several hours of play through though, there are no npcs, besides disembodied voices that assign quests throughout the zone.
Story is where Shadow of Kurgansk starts to fall short. Yes, there are quests that attempt to explain what is going on in the world, why there are desolates and demons running around, but after a while it boils down to being told what to do by a text box. There is potential for a great story here, but it’s hard to really care about when it’s only conveyed through text boxes that pop up on screen.
Overall Shadow of Kurgansk is a good, fun, indie game. The world is beautiful and huge, with lots of places to explore and stuff to make. The combat is good, but could be better. Gameplay is clear and easy to understand, unless it’s nighttime, when it can be difficult to see and to know where you’re at. Shadow of Kurgansk gets a four out of five stars because while individual aspects of this game don’t really stand out, they all work together to make for an enjoyable first person survival game.