Earth: Year 2066 Early Access Review

Premature apocalypse.

GameSpot's early access reviews evaluate unfinished games that are nonetheless available for purchase by the public. While the games in question are not considered finished by their creators, you may still devote money, time, and bandwidth for the privilege of playing them before they are complete. The review below critiques a work in progress, and represents a snapshot of the game at the time of the review's publication.

Earth: Year 2066 starts out on a road to nowhere. It's a familiar scene that promises adventures amid familiar postapocalyptic cliches, and it's easy to spy echoes of Fallout: New Vegas amid the rusted abandoned cars littering the crumbling asphalt. Alas, no such open-world adventures lie in store ahead. Indeed, it's the road behind you that's most symbolic here, as it ceases to exist just over your back against an invisible wall that forbids exploration of the untextured desert beyond. Like so much of Earth: Year 2066 in its current state, it's a dead end.

The opening shot. That's about as good as it gets.

The problems start as early as the title screen. The title itself crashes down against a bland pixelated field, looking for all the world like it first saw life in 3D text renders in an early version of Microsoft Word. Then it does nothing. No music plays and no prompts to press a key pop up, and thus I spent my first 30 or so seconds with Earth: Year 2066 wondering if it was still loading or had simply locked up. But no, pressing the spacebar was my open sesame, and it dumped me into a screen that promised day and night solo play as well as a multiplayer component.

That all works in theory, but most any given game offers a significantly better experience compared to what you get for your 20 bucks here. The world itself resembles a game designer's midterm exam, with oddly detailed rusted water towers and a vaguely Mad Maxian village with chain-link perimeters sharing a landscape with grass that looks like magnified stubble on Nathan Drake's chin. It's only by looking down at your shadow that you deduce that you're a robot of some sort, and one that looks vaguely like the sentient machine from the Short Circuit movies in the 1980s. Johnny Five may be alive, but here it's a curse, not a blessing.

In Earth: Year 2066, there are no winners.

Things fall apart all too quickly. You can jump around and knock over cars, but it's initially not even clear if the keybinds you select for the three available weapon slots work at all. Such a pity, especially since robots dressed as clowns waste no time in firing at you, although they pelt you with enough bullets before you die that you might be led to think they're harmless. Floating creatures resembling the sentinels from The Matrix also fly about and dive-bomb you, all the while moaning as though suffering from chronic indigestion. Sometimes they just sit in trees, seemingly oblivious.

On occasion, you get lucky and one of the three guns triggers to fire back, but the enemies have so much health that it's about as fun as flinging rice at a brick wall (and generally looks like it, too). The frame rate always locks up for a second when the robotic enemies start attacking you, and strategy never grows deeper than shooting, strafing, and jumping. Revving sounds grow ever louder as your robot wanders the landscape, but I've never quite worked out if the sounds are coming from me or the surrounding enemies. In truth, I usually had more fun with the (seeming) bugs than the actual gameplay, with enemies sometimes shooting you far into the sky as though a giant just slugged you in Skyrim. Sometimes they even send you careening off the map.

I got one! Well, actually, he kind of got himself.

The unexpected flights off the world were hilarious at first, but then the shock settled in as I realized I could see the full extent of what I paid for. That road, that abandoned village (complete with a fuel tank that I can run straight through), a clump of hills, and a radar tower make up the entirety of Earth: Year 2066 in its current state, and it's all set on a little beige square adrift in a sea of fluffy clouds. Perhaps there's a message in there about the futility of human endeavor or even a cynical view of how the world will fare under the increasing pressures of overpopulation and the threat of wars. More likely, however, it's just that the build released to Steam is a barely functional disaster without any signs of potential. You can experience the entirety of the game in 10 minutes tops.

Earth: Year 2066's severe incompletion points to one of the major flaws of early access play; it's in such a rough state that it makes DayZ look like a refined classic by comparison. This is access so early that it's barely off the drawing board, and it's worth wondering if developer Muxwell wouldn't have been better served by outlining its full scope for the project on Kickstarter and generating more funds that way. Perhaps in time Earth: Year 2066 will morph into something that will surprise us all, and we'll find a quirky indie story sharing the same screen space with those robots and dilapidated buildings. For now, however, it takes you down roads that you're better off not taking.

What's There?

A road, a junkyard village, some hills, a radar tower, some robots--and that's about it.

What's to Come?

If updates on Steam are any indication, bug fixes.

What Does it Cost?

$19.99, or too much.

When Will it Be Finished?

No telling.

What's the Verdict?

Earth: Year 2066 is early access at its most literal, but there's no concrete evidence that anything more exciting than this is in the works. Stay away for now. Far away.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

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Esotericus

Leif Johnson

Leif Johnson (pronounced "Layf") is a freelance writer whose works have appeared on GameSpot, IGN, PC Gamer, Official Xb
Earth: Year 2066

Earth: Year 2066

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70 comments
nurnberg
nurnberg

IMO you should stop reviewing those garbage early access games.  It's a terrible trend that needs to die.

zura_janai
zura_janai

2066: Earth is broken and barebones

three years leater somethig nasty happened...

MAGIC-KINECT
MAGIC-KINECT

Looks like a winner for the "master race"!!!  They can play this while waiting for GTA V etc etc.....

attirex
attirex

No different from Star Citizen except that the dev actually delivered something. 



OH SNAP. INTERNET BURRRRRNNNN.

observer98
observer98

LOL for anyone that actually bought this game 'cept reviewers. Also, what the f**k is in that gif?

hitomo
hitomo

in the real world, you never give People Money before they have delivered the product ... else you die, in the real world, cause of natural selection ... thank god its only the Internet in this case ...

BravoOneActual
BravoOneActual

Well, if one were to have just woken up from a seventeen year coma to see this, I think it would look pretty earth shattering.

mattcake
mattcake

Amazing we get so much moaning about DLC - paying for extra content for complete working games - and still people happily pay for unfinished broken messes of games that will likely just be abandoned anyway. It's VERY fun and easy to start a game off even to 60-70% but the final design, finishing touches, tweaks and polish take longer than everything else combined and it's tedious, hard work.

faizanhd
faizanhd

Muxwell is a scam artist , and not a very good one at that.

genjuroT
genjuroT

To be honest I feel scammed with even the most credible developers. Take Starbound for example, I bought a four pack and I'm STILL waiting for the game to be complete. I was promised vehicles, water planets, an extra race, the works! It's been about 2 years since then and they still don't have that stuff.


The only game I'm sorta interested in, as far as early access, is Dayz. Even then, I'm afraid to spend money on something that's not complete and might take years and years to finish. I think i'd rather wait for full release and get the full blissful perfection of the game instead of trying it now and wishing I waited. 


Don't eat food until it's fully cooked. you'll get a bitter taste otherwise.

BabeNewelll
BabeNewelll

Avoid this like the plague, just watch Jimquisition's thing about it while pointing and laughing at that loser dev called muxwell trying to screw over the consumer and deleteing all the negitive threads on steam.

DrKill09
DrKill09

This is why I hate Early Access.  Letting people play a VERY early version of a game could turn people off of the final product.


Also, you wouldn't buy a car while it's still on the assembly line, so why buy an unfinished game?


The ONLY early access game I want is Road Redemption.

mellow09
mellow09

1. Set up your transitions.

2. Lay off the bloody metaphors.

demondogx
demondogx

As a kid i always wanted to be a game developer but i lacked the talent
Since Early Acces came around im thinking SHIT i coulda been one after all

EcksTheory
EcksTheory

really, early access should come with a guaranteed release date or your money back policy. It would keep the scammers away while making sure that there was still an avenue for games makers to get some help from the public in bug squashing. have the early access game at half the price of the finshed retail product and that provides the incentive to invest early and help get the game as close to perfect as possible, while the guarantee gives consumers piece of mind that they arent pissing money away.

kozzy1234
kozzy1234

Just do some research, you are not being forced to buy crap like this game.

Early Access and Kickstarter have ALOT of good games, sure there is some bad apples but alot are done very well.


Don't Starve, Wasteland2, Divinity Original Sin, Grim Dawn, Project Zomboid, Starbound, Kerbal Space Program, DayZ, Prison Architect, 7 days to die, FTL, Chivalry.. all good games that I have really enjoyed so far, either are in early access/kickstarter or where at a previous time. I have been extremely glad to be able to play these games and more early on.


It is so easy these days to just pull up a youtube video and see what the game is like. I have 21 games I have supported on kickstarter or Early Access and only 1 I wish I didn't support, the rest I have enjoyed alot and glad I did. Just do a little research before buying stuff and you will be fine. I think people should have the option to buy what ever they want, what one person likes another person might not.


Garrys Incident Day One, WarZ and Earth Year 2066 are all complete crap games but it was easy as hell to see that they would suck by looking at some gameplay footage.

Vodoo
Vodoo

It seems like Early Access has become a haven for scammers to just slap something together with duct tape and glue and start charging money for it without ever intending to add anything else to the game. Case-in-point... this hopeless piece of trash. 


Valve REALLY needs to have some form of quality control on THEIR marketplace. They opened the flood gates with early access, but never implemented any checks and balances. 


Is it possible to get any sort of refund for early access stuff? I've never used it so I don't know.

Dannystaples14
Dannystaples14

This is why Early Access is such a bad idea in general. Sooner or later someone is going to put their game up for the sole purpose of scoring some early sales and revenue. Even though if it was any other way the same game wouldn't even make it to the end of production.

I think that is survival of the fittest. It means we would only get the best and most worthy games. Just look at Indie titles, they are so easy to make and so cheap and so easy to publish the entire Steam library is plagued by shit titles and don't even get me started on mobile.

They need to start putting harsher restrictions on these games before they swamp the entire system. I already often opt to buy games on console because it is so hard to find a game you want on Steam now.

gamerno66666
gamerno66666

HAHA. Thanks for reviewing this shit game. This actually shows one of the problems with early access.

Pierce_Sparrow
Pierce_Sparrow

I rarely buy early access, and this is why. I don't mind for a game I really want, like Dead State, which has actual content and is fun to play even in it's early stage. But garbage like this needs to be evaluated first. Thank god for reviews too. I generally read those if I am unsure of purchasing a game in general, as reviewers tend to let me know everything I need to know about a game before purchasing, but some quality control really needs to be put in place before a game is allowed to get release in even the early access stage.

CruiserCaptain
CruiserCaptain

These types of reviews need to be videos.  Love watchin the bad ones.


drysprocket
drysprocket

To those in other threads that wonder what the problem is with early access...here ya go.

I hope this game dies, along with all early access game in the future. It's a plague to the industry.

Dawnshadow
Dawnshadow

I like the idea of early access. Preorder a game you're interested in and you get a discount and can play the development version while it's in development, and even give the devs feedback that will improve the final product. It's a great idea. When used well, it makes games better. They're clearly labeled; the consumer knows they're getting an incomplete, possibly buggy game that will be polished over time. If you don't like them, you don't have to buy them.


However, there needs to be some sort of standards to keep completely unplayable dreck like this from ruining the reputation of early access. Say, the game has to be reasonably playable (even if not feature complete,) you have seven days to refund the game and get your money back (and can't rebuy it until it's out of early access to avoid abuse), and maybe asking for an estimated release window, with refunds possible if the game goes too far past the release window without appreciable progress toward the official release, unless there is a good reason for the delay (to allow for cases where the game just takes longer than expected or the devs' office burns down or other things that can happen.). This takes care of the "but what if it's another Duke Nukem Forever and they never finish the game and keep the cash?" scenario.

Jarten
Jarten

Ever since games like Minecraft, and Kerbal Space Program (for some examples) did well for early release, other Indi companies have been going crazy jumping on the bandwagon and pitting out just about anything that they think will make some money. The reason that I even think that Minecraft, and Kerbal Space Program worked well was because even though those games were (and still are) incomplete, they were at least to a degree fully functional games that actually resembled and behaved like what they were advertising before being given and sold to the public. Some of these newer, recent games on early release time don't even seem to be really playable from the looks of it. I think that there needs to be some kind of limited regulations or rules on what can be sold as early access for games because now it seems like some people are just trying to profit from early release without any consequences or care about the ones who are buying.

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

You're way too late to the party Gamespot.  Jim Sterling blew this game wide open over a week ago.

n0xinab0x
n0xinab0x

::looks for the Any button::

  ::can't seem to find it::

        ::presses alt, control, delete::

Caanimal
Caanimal

This who "early access" BS needs to end, and THIS is a PRIME example as to why...  Far too many "early access" games are absolutely horrible, and I don't want to be a "proof of concept quality tester" and PAY THEM to do so...  I like progression as much as the next person, but this, THIS is NOT progression in video gaming...

jobo030
jobo030

@nurnberg So only review good games? That does not make much sense.  These reviews are needed to warn people not to buy this garbage. Not the horror stories that are already happening with this game.

Alexk91
Alexk91

@MAGIC-KINECT What part of you was convinced this argument makes sense? There's an awful game on Steam early access (truth be told there are a lot of them), but who says anybody has to play it?


As for GTA V on PC, if it does end up coming out, it needs to strip out all of GTA:O's features, and leave multiplayer in the hands of a modding community more interested in fun than in milking gamers for micropayments. Then maybe GTA:V will be worth playing again on PC.

normanislost
normanislost

@MAGIC-KINECT see that argument worked before GTA5 was released but now it's out and been played the hype has died out it was good game but not the greatest game ever made

would be nice to play it at a smooth framerate with mods (oh the crazy ass mods that could be created) but im over the game now theres other stuff on the way

normanislost
normanislost

@attirex except he has delivered something and the dog fighter beta is out this month I believe

WingChopMasta
WingChopMasta

@genjuroT  Of course you are waiting for it to be complete. That is what you bought into. I am sick of you fucking idiots complaining about games still in development. Welcome to the world of watching a game start as an early concept and blossom over the years. The game will be done like next year they said. It takes time to make a real game. Fucking people can't grasp that common knowledge?


Starbound is the best example of early access. It has TONS of content for what it is and the devs have rolled out tons of updates and listen to the community. The updates slowed down now because they are making BIG changes requiring more time.


Wait for games to be complete before you buy them if you can't handle reality.

bloody-hell
bloody-hell

@demondogx Download Unity3D, create some "ambitious" crapgame, set up some pretty screenshots and a promising description of features to come, run a KickStarter and accept PayPal donations, then take the money and run.

Good luck, there seem to be many successful people following just that very same strategy.

If you can get away with this, I congratulate you for finding enough stupid people that fell for it.

bloody-hell
bloody-hell

@kozzy1234 But that requires people to think and spend at least 1 minute of their time doing some research about the product they're going to spend their money on.


We seem to be in the same boat, I've bought the 'good' Early Access games you mentioned as well (except DayZ and Chivalry) and I'm perfectly happy with that decision.

I did my research, I considered them good games, then I bought them - common sense even.

If there is an audience for a screamingly obvious cashgrab like this Earth : Year 2066, so be it, I'm however absolutely not part of it. (however, it's somewhat amusing and entertaining to follow such mess from far, far away)

jemoedr
jemoedr

@Vodoo  Yes a real haven, there's like 1 scamgame! Screw early acces!!!


/sarcasm off

kozzy1234
kozzy1234

@Vodoo Do research before buying, there is huge warnings on early access games letting you know that the game is not done and a work in progress. There rae some fantastic ones out there and a few horrible ones yes, but so far atleast it has been very easy to tell what will be good or bad (or what you might enjoy or hate).

Dawnshadow
Dawnshadow

@Dannystaples14  Then don't buy early access games unless you trust the devs to follow through and finish the game. (And I'm sure that if an early access game NEVER CAME OUT people could get refunds.) 

And some of the "bad" games do appeal to a niche audience-- for example, my niece loves that Magic Crystal pony game that pops up on every single Steam sale. Should she be deprived of the chance to play a game she really enjoys because you think it's not worthy of existing alongside Grand Theft Auto, Skyrim, and Call of Duty?

Dawnshadow
Dawnshadow

@drysprocket  How is "a developer released a really bad 'game'" a problem with early access, and not this particular developer and/or a lack of quality control? It's not as if the early access games aren't labeled, and the vast majority of them are just what you'd expect-- unfinished, unpolished, but playable games in the making.

Dawnshadow
Dawnshadow

@Caanimal  The concept is fine-- "preorder our game, and you get a discount and the development version to play around with. Give us feedback, tell us what works and what needs work, and everyone gets a better game in the end." And I appreciate that it can provide indie devs with some much-needed funding while they're finishing up the game.


The thing is, there needs to be SOME quality control. Things being buggy and incomplete is fine-- it's what people sign up for, early access games are clearly marked, and no one is holding a gun to anyone's head and forcing them to buy in. The game being pretty much absent is NOT-- the developers need to have at least a playable game before they put it up for sale.

soccerpzn
soccerpzn

@Caanimal no what needs to end is the stupidity of gamers that can't seem to think before they buy what ever crap people throw at them. Don't blame the tools blame the dumbasses that cant use it right.

genjuroT
genjuroT

@WingChopMasta @genjuroT  


Yes I know it's being developed, but did you know some early access games just stop being developed? Hell, take this game for example! Would you buy this game because you have a firm grip on reality? Your reasoning is stupid and you should feel stupid. I didn't want to throw names, but you started it.


I'm not buying anymore unfinished games because I do have a firm grip on reality and experienced the trickery first hand. In fact, as a smart consumer, you shouldn't buy anything that isn't finished.


Starbound isn't the best example of early access, it's just the best example of great developers doing their job. Early access doesn't mean you have to keep updating every month or anything. It is what it is, a brief concept of what the game has at it's current state. Any early access game is the best example of early access. I'd say this game here is the best example. By the way remember the 2013 roadmap of starbound? Most of that shit was at 90% when we were allowed to play it!


nurnberg
nurnberg

@bloody-hell @demondogx  Don't forget to use a lot of buzzwords and hire hipster-looking people to pose as your developers in pictures and you are set.

drysprocket
drysprocket

@Dawnshadow @Caanimal  And what is their incentive to give quality control after people gives them gobs of money for basically nothing?

I see where you're coming from, but early access is a great concept in the same way that communism is. This trend will end the same way.

bloody-hell
bloody-hell

@demondogx With that you just restored a tiny bit of faith I have in humanity, thanks.

Dawnshadow
Dawnshadow

@drysprocket  Because if they DON'T give quality control, who will buy their next game? And what's stopping people from demanding refunds from Steam if the game's a real clunker? We've seen bad full access games (eg. Warz/Infestation: Survivor Stories) get refunded for not being as advertised. We've also seen tiny indie games and even bigger publishers become hugely popular through word of mouth alone (Minecraft is the big one, but not the only one.) A good reputation is useful when it comes to selling games.


Admittedly, early access is a bit of a gamble-- it's possible that you won't be happy with the finished product. But failing to deliver on an early access game is a terrible idea in the long-term sense-- you're ruining your company's reputation over a bit of quick profit. And really, indie games and indie developers become big through word of mouth-- if word gets around that your game's buggy and you're doing nothing to fix it, your sales are going to plummet and people won't buy your next game, or even your current game once it leaves early access.


So-- in other words-- "what if they take the money and run" is a bit of a straw man argument, because any serious developer isn't going to do that. And if you don't trust the developer of whatever early access game you're looking at to deliver a good product in the end, use some common sense and don't buy the early access game unless you don't care about the money-- wait for the full release and some reviews. Taking the choice away from those who do want to buy in because you think it's communism is similarly short-sighted.