Thursday, 12 April 2018 18:29

REVIEW: Impact Winter (Xbox One)

Written by StacefaceMayhem

With global warming on the rise, and the Ice Age movies for a short time being such a lucrative franchise, I, myself has even pondered the thought “What would I do, where would I go, who would I need to survive another big freeze if it were to.... or eventually occur?’

Impact Winter by Mojo Bones and Bandai Namco Entertainment was originally released to Steam in 2017, and now in 2018 is available on PlayStation and Xbox. Impact Winters in real life are a theorised extensive winter caused by a deep impact from space, the debris then in turn blocking the sun, and sending us into a deep freeze. This game follows this hypothetical science, thrusting you, Jacob into this post-apocalyptic frozen wasteland. Waking up in an old church with a few other lone survivors, you must take control with your robot guide ‘Ako-Light’ to utilise people’s skill sets, scavenge for resources and survive for 30 long, and challenging days before rescue can reach you. What will you find in the barren snowy tundras, and will you have enough supplies to keep your crew kicking at the end of it all?

Impact Winter is very survival orientated. There is no real enemy, except time itself. Nearly everything in the game needs to be managed by your hand. Out in the so aptly called “The Void” you must forage abandon snow filled cities and caverns for anything to keep you and your team alive. Believe me keeping them alive is priority. You must micro manage everything about them, including their health, energy, water and food rations, warmth and even morale. Stoking the bonfire in an old church or taking down a rabbit for its meat has never been more important. Each person has their own certain skill sets; whether it be Maggie and her mechanical genius or Wendy and her uncanny Bear Grylls ability to knock a meal together, without them and their quests for upgrades, your chances look as bleak as my future.

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Eventually you do need to venture out, as supplies dwindle very quickly, and your team needs certain items. Jacob is equipped with a backpack so picking up items is very slot-allocated, adding another thing to your micro managing list. Out in The Void you will accumulate more quests as you run into drifters and scenarios and the good thing about this game is the fact you really must prioritise which ones are more important to you and your needs. Venture too far and you won’t make it back before dark, potentially risking the other survivors, use your robot Ako too much and his battery might die and you can’t navigate, have too many items in your inventory after one quest then you must go back to base before doing anything else wasting a whole day, time management can at times be panic inducing.

Despite, being quite an immersive experience at time, I will put it crudely, I soon became quite bored with some of the premise. It became very monotonous going back and forth into the void collecting items, fixing people’s health, going back into The Void, collecting something for someone, giving it to them, fixing everyone’s stats, then.. going back into The Void. And while we are on this point, despite time being the true antagonist, the lack of any real threat other than very rarely ran into wolves, makes scavenging tedious even more quickly.

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While nowhere near as buggy as it’s notorious PC predecessor, the load times were still noteworthy, and at times the frames seemed to drop especially while running through the snowy Void. I also wasn’t a huge fan of the copious amounts of menus, which were bland and at times, overwhelming to navigate through.

Visually, Impact Winter is tragically gorgeous. The neon glow from Ako or the flicker of the orange flames of a makeshift fire are a stark contrast of the dire situation against the vast white, bleak environments. They often use minute flashes of colour through out the game to effectively give you that reminder of the weight of the burden you must carry, bring up that overwhelming desperation feeling. The atmospheric audio also adds to the feeling and compliments it well.

Overall, Impact Winter is a very good survival game, but it just lacks those minor elements that add character to the dull, baron harsh environments of The Void. While the anxiety of micro managing your way through the game can be quite fun at the beginning, towards the end it gets tedious quickly. After the ice began to melt, I found myself moving onto greener pastures fairly quickly.

Additional Info

  • Review Score: 3.0 / 5.0
  • Release Date: Out Now
  • Platform: PC, PS4, XBOX ONE
  • Developer: Mojo Bones
  • Publisher: Bandai Namco Entertainment
  • Genre: Indie, Action, Simulation