Deep Rock Galactic Season 3 is just around the corner, scheduled to kick off this November. The new season adds biome-altering special effects to Hoxxes IV, as well as brand-new grenades and a new activity waiting to be discovered down within the monster-filled mines. Ahead of the start of Season 3, I played through an instance of the new activity, which incorporates two stages.
The first stage sees you clearing Rockpox nests, while the second has you mining the Rockpox-infested asteroids that are bringing the contagion to the planet. Between the two, I most enjoyed the former, where you need to work with your team to track down and then clear out nests of Glyphid Grunts and Glyphid Praetorian that have been infected with the Rockpox contagion. The disease creates bulbous growths on the creatures--these are the only weak points on their otherwise impenetrable outer shells.
Deep Rock Galactic has always been a swarm-based cooperative shooter, akin to something like Left 4 Dead or Back 4 Blood, but with more defined classes and roles per player within the team. Compared to past seasons, the new enemy types don't really add anything substantially different to the gameplay experience. You're still shooting a bunch of enemies, only now you have to be careful to only shoot certain spots on the enemy instead of wilfully spraying everywhere. I did enjoy the creepy new designs for the infected, though.
I most enjoyed the accompanying nest mechanic that comes with these new enemy hordes. The nests that spawn Rockpox-infected enemies must be cleansed in order to be destroyed. Approaching the nests will slowly infect you too, meaning you'll have to keep an eye on your Rockpox infection levels while diving down into the mines. Decontaminating them is a cooperative process, requiring part of your party to coat the glowing red nests with gel-like goo, while the rest vacuum the now weakened tendrils of the nests away. While this is going on, enemies will continue to spawn and fight back, so it's good to have someone on Glyphid-cleaning duty as well.
I really like the cooperative nature of the activity, which has always been Deep Rock Galactic's strength over similar experiences. The abilities tied to each of the individual classes--Engineer, Gunner, Driller, and Scout--already encourage players to take on specific roles during each excursion, which helps ensure everyone feels somewhat useful. Unfortunately, a lot of the new activities added in recent seasons have gotten away from that a bit, largely focusing on shooting and subsequently favoring the Gunner. It was nice for the more supportive roles to feel more useful during the new nest-clearing activity, where it was helpful to have teammates geared towards exploration and movement to find and fully eradicate the furthest corners of any given nest.
That praise can not be as easily applied to the other half of the new activity, which sees your team of dwarves needing to mine into a giant crystalized asteroid in order to get at the valuable plague heart resources hidden within. This activity does seem to favor the Gunner, given that you need to hold off waves of enemies while you protect and maintain the drills that are mining into the asteroid.
Of course, these new activities aren't the only missions you can tackle whenever you partake in an expedition. They are assigned to your mission objectives alongside several others, which typically detail a specific mineral you have to also collect. It's in these other objectives that the Engineer, Driller, and Scout still shine the most. And that's great, don't get me wrong, but I just wish the objectives for these new seasonal activities would have more opportunities for the more supportive classes to shine. In the end, the seasonal activities seem to keep coming back to shooting stuff, which is the Gunner class' whole deal. I want more activities geared towards exploration and scouting so the other classes can shine a bit more.
At the very least, every class becomes a bit deadlier in Season 3, thanks to the new grenades coming to the game. The Engineer gets my favorite, the Shredder Swarm, which disperses a horde of enemy-seeking blades upon exploding that will zip through the air in search of prey. The Scout's Voltaic Stun Sweeper is pretty fun too, boomeranging through the air to hit enemies multiple times. Alongside those two, the Gunner gets the Tactical Leadbuster, which fires bullets in every which way upon detonation, and the Driller acquires the Spingloaded Ripper, which fires out three rows of razor blades in an explosive shotgun-like blast.
Deep Rock Galactic continues to be pretty fun, and the new offering of content in Season 3 should hold over fans for another season as they work through a brand-new battle pass and collection of cosmetics to unlock. Or, if you're like me, the new content provides a nice excuse to jump back into the game for a few rounds with friends, even without having to buy into the battle pass. Much like GameSpot guides editor Mark Delaney, I feel like I've already reached peak battle pass between all the live-service games I already regularly play. I don't think I can reasonably invest in another one right at this time. But having a reason to jump back into Deep Rock Galactic is always good in my book.
Deep Rock Galactic is available for Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PS5, PS4, and PC. Season 3 will launch on PC first, releasing for Steam on November 3. It will then launch on Xbox and PlayStation consoles on November 17.
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