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Wednesday, August 11, 2021

[Early Access Impressions] Classic ‘Fallout’ Meets Flesh n’ Puke Gross Out in Indie RPG ‘Death Trash’

When Fallout 3 was announced, I was one of the many people who were hesitant about the change in perspective for the series. There was something about the look and feel of those old isometric games that captured the grimy, icky apocalypse they were going for that wasn’t quite as appealing when rendered in crisper graphics that you could explore in first person. While I have grown to enjoy the later Fallout games, I’m always hoping something out there can recapture the feeling of the originals. Enter Death Trash

Much like Fallout, Death Trash begins with a brief tutorial before exiling you from an underground bunker and letting you loose in a flesh-covered wasteland. Skinless mutants wander alongside your standard complement of raiders and weirdos, and all the “normal” people you find feed on the strange meat that mysteriously grows from the earth. It’s a decidedly gross world, where you’re likely to run into a wayward nudist or a place called “Puke Bar,” but the pixelated art style keeps it from being disgustingly off putting. 

Death Trash ostensibly lets you build your character’s stats to fit your playstyle, allowing you to put points in skills like animalism, cybertech and occultism. These options seem to be padded out by an unnecessary granularity in the combat stats (such as blunt vs bladed melee weapons), and the social stats seem underutilized at the moment. This seems to stem from an unfortunate case of trying to mimic the minutiae of Fallout without consideration if the game needs it or not. Since combat is so skill-based, the effect of the combat stats isn’t quite as immediately evident, aside from preventing you from using certain weapons. It’s not quite as robust as it appears to be at first glance, but the game is in Early Access, so that part of the game could be developed further as the project progresses. 

The real-time combat is fast and desperate, giving you options to fight either with melee or ranged weapons. Timing is everything as you try to dance around your enemy’s reload window and sneak in your strikes before you have to dodge roll away from theirs. Ammo is scarce, especially before you can purchase the crafting recipes for bullets and shells, so you’ll find yourself leaning more on swords and clubs instead of shotguns and rifles. A basic stealth system helps you start off encounters on the right foot, but you’ll still need good reflexes and smart resource management to make it through fights. It’s a fun bit of mental math you have to do when confronted with an encounter; is this group worth using some of my limited bullets on, or should I try to carefully pick them off with my sword? Cyberware can also give you skills to help out in encounters, but those too are limited in their usage.

Dungeons in Death Trash can be pretty challenging, especially in the early stages before you’ve found or purchased better equipment. These dungeons feel a lot like the Fallout formula, running you through mazes that are peppered with lore notes to find between enemy encounters. Liberal use of quicksave keeps it from being too frustrating, but expect to die a lot in the early going when fighting bigger groups of marauders. 

For a game that’s trying to be aggressively unpleasant, the world draws you in with intriguing and bizarre details that give Death Trash its own unique identity, even when compared to its influences. One of the skills you start off with is “puke,” which you can, oddly enough, use to reactivate cyborgs and machines on a couple occasions. The strange flesh throughout the landscape not only gives a good visual flair, but creates an interesting mystery. No one knows where it comes from, but everyone seems super comfortable eating it (it’s even used as your primary method of healing yourself). As you progress, you learn that you have the ability to communicate with the meat and the network of beings connected to it. Proper nouns like “Worm Shaman” and “Flesh Nexus” drew me into its mythology and left me wanting more. 

In addition to investigating that overall mystery, you’re also given extra sidequests that let you learn more about the characters that inhabit the various towns and locations throughout the world. Most of them so far have been pretty easy fetch quests, but they give you good reasons to move around the map and fully investigate the areas. As you are travelling the overworld map, you can run into random encounters, but those are generally just simple combat encounters or quick character interactions. They make the world feel a bit more alive and dynamic, though ultimately don’t add too much. 

While there’s a lot to love about Death Trash right now, it’s definitely a game that’s early in its Early Access run. After only about three or four hours of playing, I already ran into a message saying “WIP Quest – Come Back Later.” The core loop of exploring and combat is satisfying, and the world is already, excuse the pun, fleshed out, but the lack of content may be a reason to hold off on purchasing. For me, I was glad to jump into Early Access to help this small project out, but I might put it down until the full release so I can experience it in its full glory when it’s ready.

Death Trash is out now in Early Access on PC.



source https://bloody-disgusting.com/video-games/3677745/death-trash-early-access-impressions/

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