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Rust Early Access Review

Rust desserts.

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.

Some games succeed by presenting immaculately crafted worlds full of beautiful artistry and refined gameplay systems, while others excel for reasons far more ambiguous. At the latter end of that spectrum lies Rust, a multiplayer survival game from the creator of Garry's Mod. In its current state, Rust is very much an alpha: crude, rough around the edges, and littered with bugs in serious need of fixing. But it also happens to be a wildly entertaining sandbox full of emergent gameplay and unpredictable player interactions. Rust is more framework than finished product right now, but it's absolutely brimming with potential.

The world of Rust is an unforgiving one with no clear goal other than survival. Threats to your existence come in the form of wild animals, zombies, and--scariest of all--other players. But the most immediate danger when you first begin is hunger. Armed with little more than a rock, you'll likely find yourself chasing deer and wild boar across rolling valleys and dense forests in a desperate quest to fill your stomach. But use that rock to smash at trees and large boulders, and you can craft yourself a stone hatchet, making the task of hunting far more manageable (not to mention elegant).

Indeed, crafting is a big focus in Rust, and something that plays a very large role in the game's potential for open-ended entertainment. By collecting wood and smelting ore, you can construct everything from a basic shed to a sprawling compound fortified with spikes and watchtowers. These buildings are highly modular, allowing you to build a window here and a stairway there in order to create something that suits your own personal needs. You can also craft weapons and armor: bows to hunt wild animals, guns to hunt enemy players, or hazmat gear to venture into irradiated towns where you might luck into finding preassembled items.

It's a robust system, but it's also clumsy and in need of refinement. Boulders and woodpiles are the most efficient places to gather resources, but they're snatched up like precious diamonds in any server with a remotely decent player population and take ages to respawn once they've been claimed. You can spend hours wandering through the game's sprawling map and return to your base with hardly anything to show for it. Beyond that, resource gathering is riddled with little oddities (like the way you gather cloth and chicken meat from a dead bear), and the inventory system is clunky at best.

You never know what sort of characters you'll encounter in Rust.

But with any luck, those issues will be ironed out in future patches, because what's in place right now has the potential to be a truly special open-world adventure. At any given moment in Rust, you might wander into a player-run trading outpost, get taken hostage by an outfit of roaming bandits, or happen upon an impromptu dance party with one player blasting techno through in-game voice chat while the others leap frantically about. It's a co-op architecture simulator where you can work with friends to design a mighty base for your clan, or the cruelest of shooters where you can taunt unarmed newcomers by firing potshots in the terrifying pitch black of night. For a game with no narrative, it's capable of generating one wonderful and bizarre story after the next.

Yes, there's still a lot of room left to improve. Guns carry all the impact of a wet towel, and character animations bear a strong resemblance to an infant taking its first steps. But the development team at Facepunch Studios has already implemented substantial improvements since Rust went on sale last month, including the recent addition of door sharing, which makes communal bases even more viable (previously, doors could be opened only by the player who built them), as well as technical improvements, such as improved grass effects and reduced strain on servers full of player-made buildings.

At $20, Rust requires a real willingness to forgive its technical shortcomings in order to experience the emergent gameplay that makes it such a promising entry in the survival genre. But it's a game that continues to improve with each passing update, and the potential that lies beneath those flaws becomes even easier to see. Whether or not you choose to buy it now, Rust is certainly a game to keep an eye on.

What's There?

A sprawling, open-world map with servers topping out at 100 to 200 players. A crafting system offers a wealth of emergent gameplay, while the ability to choose PvP or non-PvP lets you ease your way into the building systems.

What's to Come?

Player model customization, expanded defensive items for player homes, expanded in-game soundtrack, and replacing zombies with more realistic enemy types. (See official blog for more.)

What Does it Cost?

$19.99, available via Steam.

When Will it be Finished?

There is no official release estimate, and the developer's Steam listing states "we are in very early development."

What's the Verdict?

Rust's flaws are abundant, but it's still a vibrant canvas for experiencing memorable stories. Nevertheless, it requires great patience in its current form

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  • 100 Comments  RefreshSorted By 

    my own take on the dayZ phenomenon:

    << LINK REMOVED >>


    I think the price is too steep for an unfinished game with barely any content at all besides the map, same goes to 7 Days To Die; I do think this ealy access stuff is good for the devs, so they can get some breather during development and invest in more ideas before rushing to the release date, but for that the price should be half of that, just look at Starbound for example, that game has an absurd long time of gaming before you actually get to the last part of the game, and you still have a huge ammount of ever growing content, all that while the price is still lower than Rust and half of 7 Days To Die (at least in my country).


    Why review a game that is in alpha? better question would be to the people paying money to alpha test a game for the dev.Why? there are just so many good (full/finished) games out there this money could buy instead. I just don't get this sort of thing at all.


    @Death_Masta187 "Why review a game that is in alpha?"

    Gamespot gotta keep those lights on. To hell with standards!!!



    The Forest looks a million times better. PASS!

    << LINK REMOVED >>


    << LINK REMOVED >> it's not a multiplayer game so no


    I feel like doing reviews is a bit pointless when you'll have to do another once it fully releases.


    You need to find a decent server with active admins.. but you also need to remember this is in the alpha stage of testing there will be ltos of bugs and hacks.. but better the devs see thr hacks now than after release.


    I got Rust because I'm very interested in this open world survival design. I got a game called Starforge awhile back that made all the same promises as Rust, it was a rip. Awful. Never got updated, eventually they just went dead with it. Rust however is excellent, when you play with a good group. My recommendation if you want to play Rust as a survival game and not as a cannibalistic everyones an insane murderer with no purpose game, choose a server that is No PvP and No Sleep(er) server. With those two aspects removed the game is tremendously fun. People work together or leave you alone. It is a little empty right now, the game needs more wildlife to present a danger and rocks are way too rare for metal but otherwise it really is a fun game. Sounds ridiculous but one of the best experiences I had was at a camp fire trying to survive with a total stranger through a night with nothing but two rocks and a handful of arrows on a road in the middle of no where surrounded by zombies. Night in the game is pretty long and light is very important in the dark.


    << LINK REMOVED >> That experience sounds pretty cool. There seems to be many of this type of game in the works lately and my biggest problem with them has been the apparent lack of incentive to not kill other players as soon as you see them. Deathmatch game modes never appealed to me.


    << LINK REMOVED >> off topic, sry - but are you guys going to do more daily spelunky?


    << LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> We would like to! I was out of the office for a few days last week and that kinda threw off our schedule.


    << LINK REMOVED >>Looking forward to it!


    You should see it with the nudity console command enabled...


    who needs next gen console when you have steam. consoles are producing less and less interesting games as for pc gaming, it's back madafaka!


    << LINK REMOVED >> Indies, crowdfunding, and early access are really bringing new things to gaming and the vast majority of that is on PC. It is a cool time for the PC.

    However, I'm always cautious about getting too hopeful in the long term. We could see a "bubble" for all this stuff that bursts. I think that for the crowdfunding at least, that's definitely going to happen, and that could kill off early access along with it.


    << LINK REMOVED >>Seriously. I got a Ps4, got a bunch of launch titles. Other than Hulu and Netflix it just sits there. I'm playing Steam almost exclusively. After M$ told consumers backwards compatibility is backwards I accepted not only do they not give a sh!t about what people want but they went further than not respecting their consumers they disrespect them. So forget that noise. I ended up replacing my entire 360 library that was available on Steam for a fraction of the price. Now all those games are backwards compatible. Sony isn't any better, I can't play DvDs or CDs on the stupid thing and the release desert Sony promised they were going to avoid is here and now and doesn't look like it will be getting any better any time soon. Without even intentionally doing it, I've almost converted over entirely to Steam and I couldn't be happier. I'm saving a lot of money and getting some of the most interesting and inventive game I've played in a long time.


    << LINK REMOVED >> Some might argue PC gaming never went anywhere!


    << LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> I would make that argument, we have never left.


    I have a ton of friends that play this, its not as awful as you say.


    Also a valid opinion! Isn't the Internet great? We all get to state our personal opinions without other people claiming they're incorrect!

    Oh, wait.


    << LINK REMOVED >>Someone needs to get rid of those awful facebook comments.


    << LINK REMOVED >>Well played sir, well played...


    Why are we reviewing alphas?


    << LINK REMOVED >>

    Because the word 'review' is a great search term.


    << LINK REMOVED >> vg websites need to stay relevant somehow.


    << LINK REMOVED >> Becuase that's the point of doing "early access" (besides the money). The community reviews the game in its current state and the developer improves the game based on that feedback. Reviews are necessary for early access games.


    << LINK REMOVED >> Because our reviews are buyers guides and you can buy these alphas with your real, actual money?


    Yay for paying for unfinished products. No wonder the industry is going down the shitter.



    Then i disagree with the use of the word review. I agree you should be giving consumer advice about these early access game, but these games, being in a completely unfinished state, are unreviewable. Everything right in this article, could be utterly worthless in two months when the game could be altered in a way to completely change the course of the game.




    nice handwaving.


    << LINK REMOVED >> Forgive me if I don't want to go into a semantics debate with you :)


    Hi there everyone, just letting you all know that Shaun McInnis will be in the comments section today at 2:00pm PST to take your questions about his Early Access Review. If you cant be by then, feel free to drop your question in now.

    Just make sure that you "@Shaun" so that he can see your post.


    << LINK REMOVED >> More specifically, make sure that you << LINK REMOVED >>


    The thing I dislike is the guns. You go from building primitive structures and bows to making military grade weaponry with fucking ACOG sights.

    Couldn't they have offered some more creativity and did something similar to say, Metro's guns where they actually look like something someone has engineered themselves?


    << LINK REMOVED >> A lot of the stuff in this game is placeholder. In fact, the devs are planning to remove zombies entirely and replace them with enemies that are more in line with the naturalistic setting. I wouldn't be surprised to see them ditch guns down the line and replace them with more high-powered wooden weapons.


    << LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> I don't think they will ditch guns but I hope they make them more improvised style. It's probably true that the current guns are just placeholders using existing models they didn't have to create from scratch.


    but were bratty kids and we want it now *throws parents money at rust*


    As long as the devs continue to show the game some love it'll be good, because old love never Rusts.


    This game does look interesting. I'm curious to see how you evolve from a rock toting, caveman to an automatic weapon toting, soldier/survivor. I'd play this non PvP, but it sounds like PvP is really annoying and insanely difficult. I have a rock, you have an assault rifle with a scope....welcome to Rust noob....BANG. You have died. Do you want to start again? Y/N


    << LINK REMOVED >>It is brutal but once you find a good group you have people that will back you in a fight. I was once killed by a random player. Long story short, my friends lured him into their compound and locked him in, forcing him to have to leave all his gear behind in their base. I got my stuff back and my clan got a few good weapons and a full rad suit.


    When do actual next gen games start getting released? PS4 and XB1 were released months ago and GS still has too much free time.


    The world of video games is changing. Rust, Day Z, etc are essentially, paid betas. A couple years ago, who would pay $20 for an incomplete, broken game?


    @themc_7 a couple years ago, we would pay 59$ + tax for broken/incomplete games....

    but wait, we still pay that price for crappy games so nothing has changed! 20$ is a deal


    @xolivierx maybe. This though is really incomplete. The dev said rust currently features 10% of what the main game will have. And it's still quite buggy. Personally I haven't been disappointed with a $60 game purchase in a very long time. Hint: Buy the games that aren't broken and shitty :S


    << LINK REMOVED >> Few more years and ppl will pay for early access concept art if this keeps up, it's getting quite ridiculous.


    << LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> It's called Kickstarter where you can spend money on "ideas" and no one knows what will be the finished product.


    << LINK REMOVED >> Perhaps, it is in the presentation. With the word beta, we know what it is; however, change that to "early access' and suddenly it seems like we are being given something instead of doing paid betas.


    A quiet month and two "reviews" of early release, aka unfinished, games. Shouldn't these be "previews"?


    << LINK REMOVED >>Thanks for saving me the post dude.


    << LINK REMOVED >> Well I think they are right to call it a review since the game is seen by its creators as in a state to be sold for money finished or not. If its something that can be bought then it is at that point open to evaluation of some kind. Alpha review seems like the most logical way of classifying it to me.


    is it just me or anybody else really wants this game to become a prehistoric game with players as Neanderthals ? with stone swords and spears ? huh ? just me ?


    << LINK REMOVED >> just you, sorry. I'd rather it turn into some kind of Conan game rather than neanderthals and ostralopitheques


    << LINK REMOVED >> lol


    A review for a game that's not finished?

    Really gamespot?



    @shingui5 I agree with you, completely. I was going to ask if the Early Access concept makes anyone else nervous. From the business's side, it's just hiring a wayl-larger-than-necessary QA team that will pay you instead of the other way around (so, all of the "help the development process" BS is just empty marketing). From the gamer's side, we pay them for a game, while we have no idea what it will be like when it's finished. Or even if it will be finished. And on the reviewer's side, they give an opinion and purchase recommendations despite the fact that the review will be meaningless as soon as the next patch releases.

    Once we're bought in, when does development stop? Surely, Facepunch and Chucklefish and on and on will have made their mad profit before they need to sell the finished game at full price. When do they decide the game is good enough to call "finished?" When do we decide that we're okay with that decision? A game can always be better, so there's always a chance that developers call it quits early, and that we feel ripped off because they didn't add some arbitrary little bit more.

    Early Access is a weak concept, you guys. Closed, free beta is the good version. Closed/open beta for a free to play game is even more righteous.



    I agree it seems whenever I go on steam I see an endless list of incomplete games with hands extended asking for your money with weak promises the game will be a complete product sooner or later. Some of those games have been in development for five to ten years but only recently came available on steam. Personally I hear time again from pc users how steam is great and the only platform bringing anything to the good to the game industry table but my experiences with steam is the opposite I see it has a toy land of misfit toys where you might find something good here once in awhile but most are just broken incomplete toys.


    @BlackBaldwin What's really startling is that I bought Amnesia: The Dark Descent a few weeks ago for $2 because it was on Steam promotion (Dark Descent and Machine for Pigs are both $20 without promotion). It's a complete game with an amazing reputation among its players. Contrast that with Starbound, Rust and DayZ. $15, $20 and $30? Seriously? They aren't finished, nobody knows anything material about them, and they want us to give them $15-30 to help them test it? Hire a QA team of 10 people (because thousands of early access gamers are way more than one needs to thoroughly test a game), work out the bugs, and then sell us the finished product.

    Come to think of it, you probably don't even need to hire the QA testers. Just give 10 people (hell, you could even go 100 people without losing any market) free early access, after having people compete for the privilege. You get all sorts of publicity points while the masses fight for free access and the right to talk about playing a game before it's even out (see: Hearthstone). You know you have a contestant pool at least as large as the number of writers in video game journalism, anyway. And, you save money on a QA team. All you need is a communication team to let everyone know how privileged they would be if they were selected to play your game before you even release it.

    Although I guess it's great for Chucklefish that Starbround brought them over 1 million dollars before it even left beta stage 1 of 3.


    << LINK REMOVED >>It wouldn't be necessary if games actually released around the same time they went on sale. Hell, Minecraft "officially" released a full 2 years after it first went on sale.

    Reviews are made to inform readers about whether or not the game is worth investing their time and money in. If any given game is going to go on sale potentially years before its "true" release, then any given site should be able to give a limited review of the game before its "true" review.


    << LINK REMOVED >>

    Really, you need to keep up with the times - that kind of response would be more fitting if the game concerned doesn't already have a price tag.



    That's meaningless when the game blatantly tells you it's unfinished.


    << LINK REMOVED >> Well in all fairness it is available to purchase. Makes sense they would review it so people have a vague impression of what it's like.


    << LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> The key word you used was vague. Even if you were considering taking the plunge, why would you based on vague impressions?



    I'm not objecting to Gamespot doing coverage of these games. For better or for worse (probably for the worse) these early access games are becoming very prominent. But gamespot flimsily using the term 'review' is what i'm annoyed about, as i don't think you can actually review a game that isn't bloody done. And even if you argue you can, then that 'review' is meaningless.



    Right, but if I can buy it RIGHT NOW why wouldn't I want all the feedback possible so I can gauge the purchase?



    Because I'd rather have a vague impression than none at all.



    Vague impressions that, in possibly two months, could mena absolutely nothing to the current state of the game.



    This is the thing though, the game isn't done, it's no where near done. A review now is utterly worthless, as everything that has bene commented on, could ultimately change drastically, for better or worse.

    A first impressions, fine, that makes sense, or a look at what the game is, and how it could evolve, thats even helpful. But dressing this up as a review provides nothing of benefit.


    << LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >>But that's why they're not giving out a score or making it as long as other reviews. For people wondering whether they should buy into this game, it's a great way to tell them what's already there. I'd suggest that everyone who is ever about to buy something should do some research first, like read previews, look what others say etc., but most people don't want to so a review like this saves them time and effort.


    << LINK REMOVED >> I like this review, even though the game is not finished yet, Rust is the best selling game on steam at the moment. It would just be ignorant from GS if they wouldn't pay attention to this game that so many PC gamers play right now. They would simply be late to the party if they waited with a review untill actual release. When I look at steam, or even my own (small) pcgame library, I see many alpha and beta games. It just seems like there is a change going on in pc gaming and development. GS is just keeping up with these developments.


    << LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> I liked your comment because it presents a different point of view that I find reasonable even though I completely disagree with it. It should be Gamespot policy that incomplete games (alpha/beta) are not reviewed per se. These should only be previews of early access games. Calling it a review suggests a thorough examination of a game. How can one thoroughly examine a game in alpha/beta status for sell or otherwise?


    << LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> Agreed. I would say they could just produce a "What is Rust?" video, if what they want to do is preview the game, but doesn't Gamespot already have a host of videos about Rust, already? This review seems premature and unnecessary at the same time.


    @Abruzzii @shingui5

    I'm fine with Gamespot commenting and looking at an Early access game, and giving a snapshot of what it's currently like, but a review is a comprehensive look and criticism of a games features. That is simply impossible to do with an early access game, as many features aren't finished, many aren't yet implemented, and all are subject to drastic change at the whims of the developer.

    I'm simply asking for some standards here from Gamespot, but they clearly are more interested in getting views rather than proper consumer advice.


    << LINK REMOVED >>

    A review implies a comprehensive look at a game. How is that possible with a game that is advertised as unfinished?


    @shingui5 If the developers are charging money for the game, then gamespot has the right to review it. It's that simple.


    Hm, I thought it sounded a bit like Salem when the early-access thing was announced... but now I'm sure of it. Assuming Rust turns out at least decent then we'll have a full set! Minecraft (my toothbrush can run it!) -- Dont Starve/Salem -- Rust. Minecraft being the simplest in terms of graphics and could probably run on anything, then Dont Starve and Salem are in the middle with their top-down take on survival and we finish up with Rust, the survival game that isn't several gens old. (maybe just one or two)

    I won't lie though... I want to check Rust out, sounds like it could be a lot of fun... especially if there's some sort of a system to either find your buddies or at least specify which server to play on. Of course it could also be a spawning grounds for asshattery of all sorts, and it likely is to an extent, so they really need to give serious thought to self-police measures (ignore at the very least) I wonder what they policy will ultimately end up... will they give players a vote-kick thing or will all qq be ignored (better yet; laughed at :P )


    Dayz and Rust created a new genre, online asshole simulator. But they're great game nonetheless, people are allowed to act like selfish pricks in the post apocalypse anyway.


    << LINK REMOVED >>once i helped a dayz player with food and medicine , he said thank u and came at me with a Fire axe . i really hated myself


    << LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> That's a shame, but it's not surprising. DayZ and Rust are comment sections with arsenals.


    @rykeut@HesamB@MAD_AI Someone should do a sociology study on this type of games, there's lots of interesting behavioral mechanisms here. Although, I'm glad no one has done one so far (if there's no news about it, it doesn't exist :P), because it would just take us back to that whole "games ruining young people" debate and accuse video games of creating psychopaths. In reality, this is just the "because you can"-mentality taken to the extreme and since there are no IRL consequences, other than pissing off other people and perhaps getting banned, it's no big deal.


    << LINK REMOVED >> People/players can finally act out how they truly want to be. They shoot you in the back if it furthers their own cause, sometimes don't even need to be a cause.




    << LINK REMOVED >> /watch?v=s97_TFLYVYU Here's hilarious video of Rust


    Somehow I think even when the game is finished it will mainly be remembered for rock-carrying naked men running about with their junk swinging in the breeze.


    << LINK REMOVED >> What more could we ask for? Sounds like it is finished to me.


    Definitely buying when its finished.


    No deer.... only chicken!


    Finally!! Minecraft in HD!! xD


    Heh, "desperate quest to fill your stomach" - sounds like a certain other game that did not rely on Steam Early Access.


    I think that I have to correct my remark here. Don't Starve was one of the earliest titles to get on the pilot-run version of the present-day Steam Early Access program, in the past, near the end of 2012.


    << LINK REMOVED >> Yep, Don't Starve. Good game too.


    << LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> Don't Starve was a kickstarter game which is pretty much early access before that really got going.


    << LINK REMOVED >>

    Are you sure you are not confusing that claim with the latest Don't Starve Kickstarter, concerning a Chester plushie?

    Just so you know, I had thought of whether Don't Starve was Kickstarted too, and I had done my at-a-glance research - I only got results pointing to a plushie.


    << LINK REMOVED >>

    Only if one keeps the Wiki for the game close by - that game has the new player learning things the hard painful way if he/she doesn't.