The campaign in The Harvest takes about three hours to complete, and that's way too much time to spend with this action-heavy role-playing game.
The Harvest takes the usual Diablo-esque hack-and-slash tropes and moves them to a sci-fi world of blasters and robots. Granted, this is a premise with promise. Developer Luma Arcade gets a couple of brownie points for doing something outside of the Tolkien-derived comfort zone of action role-players. I was excited in the beginning about the five futuristic character classes, including space marine wannabes, dual-blade assassins with cloaking devices, and robots that are followed around by heavily armed battle drones.
The minor thrill wears off fast once the game gets under way, however. First, the story is nigh on incomprehensible, and the quality of the graphic-novel-style cutscenes introducing everything is abysmal. Future Earth seems to be under siege by enemy aliens, or robots, or some weird cross between the two, and they're looking to harvest souls, grain, or maybe the endless supply of Cheetos. You're called upon by a quasi-military body of men and women in big hats to save the day by killing these bad guys, which take the form of just a handful of creatures, most notably small robot spiders, midsize robot spiders, giant robot spiders, and guys with guns or blades.
The action is tedium itself. Combat consists of the usual clicking, with little variation beyond one or two canned attacks. You use either your main gun or blade, or one of each character's three special abilities. With the scarab space marine, for example, I did nothing but mindlessly chip away at enemies with a blaster or cause greater damage by leaping into the air and shaking things up with explosive landings. The game isn't challenging on the default difficulty setting, as long as you keep an eye on your health and energy levels, which keep you upright and dealing out special attacks, respectively.
The only strategic consideration is not being able to boost your HP at will through the game's med-pack take on health potions. Whenever you hit the med-pack button on the main screen, it starts a recharge timer that must tick down before you can go for another round. Since this takes a little while, you generally can't buff your HP more than once during a battle. This does add a slight tactical dimension to combat, especially with bosses and large numbers of foes.
Levels are huge, sprawling affairs that take ages to trudge through.
Loot drops are always disappointing. Slain enemies sometimes spit up goodies like helmets, armor, and weapons, but loot doesn't appear as often as you'd hope, and does little to buff your abilities. Armor items come in various flavors of metal, while the weapons have exotic-car monikers (I think I test-drove a VX-7 Tarantula once). You level up frequently, which lets you boost the three core scores--strength, endurance, and agility--but that's it. This is remedial role playing in a Technicolor world.
There isn't even much to buy. You earn potion bottles that come with various point values and can be used to purchase gear, as well as to buy instant respawns at the point of death so that you don't just beam back to the most recent checkpoint. Yet actual choice is limited; items change up seemingly at random, and what is available is typically so expensive that you can't afford it until well into the game. The in-game marketplace has also been so fully automated that you can magically buy and sell from the character menu screen at any time.
Levels are huge, sprawling affairs that take ages to trudge through. Some are outside in desert terrain, and others are in indoor sci-fi lab facilities, but all are bland and nearly featureless. You notice the odd bit of kit like monitor screens and chests you can blow apart for the gifts inside, but there just isn't anything that interesting, and one real letdown is how character appearance changes so little with the addition of new gear. There isn't much of anything worth taking the time to look at. Or do. Outside of killing enemies, tasks never amount to more than annoying busywork where you run down one corridor or another to activate or destroy some sort of device. All of these jobs drag out the campaign unnecessarily.
Multiplayer only proves that misery doesn't always love company. It lets you experience the same brief, irritating campaign with others, but trying to join public games almost always results in a "No suitable public game rooms could be found" message, making it impossible to tell whether online play is broken or no one is actually playing.
Somebody will no doubt someday make a good sci-fi Diablo. But The Harvest is definitely not that game. Use three hours of your life on something else.