Genre: Survival / Pirates / Open World
Developer: Grapeshot Games Instinct Games
Gamemode: Singleplayer / Multiplay / Coop
This really epic game opens up a new travel system on an enormous large map. You can change from region to region without long loading screen. Every sector has a few islands and there are different biomes. The developer aims to add lots more biomes, than there are till now and we can be excited to see what is going to be updated. As you explore the map you'll find different animals, plants and a few buildings, but the variety is still not big enough. It is up to you if you want to use one of the public PVP servers or go playing PVE. If you play on any public map be please aware, that you will loose your claimed land and all your tamed animals if you can not log in for one or two weeks. You should at least be aware, that you need to pay gold for the upkeep of your land.
The developers work their way out of the negative reviews they had in the beginning after release, because the game had too many bugs and the graphics did not live up to the expectations after they showed some much better graphic in their preview videos on steam. One of the mayor problems was the far too high price at release and the missing optimization. Also it asks obviously a lot of attention to protect your base at PVP, because you can be attacked every day for 9 hours. If you can not be there it is going to be hard to keep any island. I would not take the reviews on steam serious, that were written after 1-5 hours, they are missing any experience with this game, because there is such a huge amount of content that you are never able to know all after that short time. And I can't really believe people with more than 200 or 300 hours in game either, that try to tell you they would have crashed every 20 minutes. Yes you might crash once every few days maybe, like in any other game, you might also find some bugs, but they aren't that game breaking, that you could not play at all.
You will have to collect water and 4 different types of food to survive. There are animals to hunt and tame, fishes to catch and you can grow veggies. As you build your ship in the beginner area you will level up already and they allow you now on the non-dedicated servers to even get more than 20 levels there. In the inofficial rented servers you are restricted to level 8 at the Freeport zones, they are peaceful spots, you should probably still watch it not to skill a lot of different stuff that you won't really need for the start. Some stuff you can craft in your inventory from the start, some you'll craft later in crafting tables after you learned the skills. The skilling system is immense. You can also hire crew for your ship at the freeports or buy reskill potions but you need gold for this and you won't have any in the beginning. I would not recommend swimming in the ocean for treasures without ship and diving equipment, because there are sharks and mantas and other predators.
The coop mode in the non-dedicated server doesn't allow the players to go far away from each others, except you change this setting on your server and to be honest it really sucks if you can not move far from each others to collect resources. The private servers will not load the whole map of Atlas, but only a smaller version till you move to the other parts of the map. On the non-dedicated server you'll have to stay in one square of the map with your friends even if you change the settings of the tether distance. On an inofficial rented server you will have only one square of the map on your server, which makes playing totally useless. Overheating might be an issue for you on all tropical and desert map squares, but you can change the temperature in the game settings at player stats, or raise the fortitude in the settings or level some protection under cooking and armor and by leveling fortitude ingame a lot. Leveling depends not only on your collecting and crafting, but also on discovery points that you'll earn by coming to new islands. Around the islands you'll find especially during the night some bottles with treasure maps. You'll need to identify which island gets shown and find them. Then you might need to kill some enemies at the spot to get the loot. And be warned the enemies can be quite tough. Out in the ocean you'll find sunken ship wrecks and floating boxes with some loot. To have to get 4 different kinds of food for surviving and to die fast by a heatstroke might scare away a lot of players, but the most problematic thing seems to me the decay. You just don't want to find your buildings half destroyed when you come back from the sea after a week of exploring.
The graphic is plain beautiful and there is also some nice music. The game gets regularly updated and improved. I personally think that the building system is the smartest one I ever saw, you can change the shape of a wall or foundation by pressing T and the placement angle by pressing Q. Resources can be easily collected with tools, but not all of them are everywhere available, so you might need to change islands to find some like crystal or gems. Between the islands and close to the boarder to new sectors you'll run often into ghost ships that you should avoid, because they can sink your ship. This is one of the survival games that offers you to choose also a female avatar. The character build menu does not yet offer enough variety. Your character can also be leveled and improved in some abilities. It never gets boring to go exploring all the biomes and locations on the map and it is definitely more fun and less boring to play this game with friends. They do really need to create far more interesting locations and animals for this game though. The decay of structures is a problem and the heat shouldn't kill you that fast, but I guess you can change most of that in the settings if you run your own server. There are also high level areas that will kill you by some really weird not explainable influence, so prepare for probably being unable to survive there. Is it the adventure of a lifetime? Not yet, but it could get it with more content. And don't listen to the bad reviews, it got improved and is quite enjoyable. Of course not all announced and planned content is in yet and you will have to handle the game as an early access.
We recommend: If you are willing to do that and like pirate games, buy it!