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Rust Early Access Review

Rust desserts.

by

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

Discussion

101 comments
Reuwsaat
Reuwsaat

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).

Death_Masta187
Death_Masta187

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.


matthewkenealy
matthewkenealy

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

Vividnightmare
Vividnightmare

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.

jesper6666
jesper6666

@shaunmc off topic, sry -  but are you guys going to do more daily spelunky?

xolivierx
xolivierx

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!

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith

Should read - "Rust is an unforgiving piece of garbage that is plagued by hackers, save yourself the money and headache and don't buy it"

Vee Ay
Vee Ay

Early access review. ...sure, gamespot.

Grenadeh
Grenadeh

Why are we reviewing alphas?

001011000101101
001011000101101

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

Danny Rowan
Danny Rowan

Would be fun if there weren't constant hackers headshotting you as soon as you spawn in the world.

DigitalDame
DigitalDame moderator moderatorstaff

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. 


-Unreal-
-Unreal-

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?

Hurvl
Hurvl

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

themc_7
themc_7

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

Sanligo
Sanligo

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

themc_7
themc_7

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? 

shingui5
shingui5

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

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

*eyeroll*

VR_Verdugo
VR_Verdugo

@Vividnightmare 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.

shaunmc
shaunmc moderator

@jesper6666 @shaunmc We would like to! I was out of the office for a few days last week and that kinda threw off our schedule. 

hystavito
hystavito

@xolivierx 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.

Vividnightmare
Vividnightmare

@xolivierxSeriously. 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.

shaunmc
shaunmc moderator

@xolivierx Some might argue PC gaming never went anywhere! 

Caldrin
Caldrin

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.

kargion
kargion

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

shaunmc
shaunmc moderator

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. 

shaunmc
shaunmc moderator

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

crix01
crix01

@Grenadeh 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.

shaunmc
shaunmc moderator

@Grenadeh Because our reviews are buyers guides and you can buy these alphas with your real, actual money?

shaunmc
shaunmc moderator

@-Unreal- 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. 

huskerman1995
huskerman1995

@themc_7It 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. 


xolivierx
xolivierx

@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

Kayweg
Kayweg

@themc_7 Few more years and ppl will pay for early access concept art if this keeps up, it's getting quite ridiculous.

Stepn2myworld
Stepn2myworld

@themc_7 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.

hystavito
hystavito

@shaunmc @-Unreal- 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.

iloveyourface
iloveyourface

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

themc_7
themc_7

@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

balintcsikos
balintcsikos

@Kayweg@themc_7 It's called Kickstarter where you can spend money on "ideas" and no one knows what will be the finished product.