Expedition Zero | PC Review
Straight off the bat, my experience with Expedition Zero was not a good one. Every time I would try to start the game, I received a fatal error message, and it would crash resulting in the game being closed. This would happen at least 4 or 5 times before the game would start and allow me to play. After searching the official Discord, I could see no other cases of this error being reported so I believe this was an issue with my installation on Steam. A reinstall of the game software seems to have fixed the issue for me. I felt this was worth mentioning but because it seems to be an isolated case in this instance, I have not taken this into consideration when giving my rating for the game.
Now, with that out of the way, let's get on to the game itself. You take control of the last surviving member of a research team, trapped inside a walled quarantine zone in the freezing Siberian wilderness. Your aim is to survive as you search for clues as to what has happened here and what caused your team to turn into zombies. The main survival element here is staying warm. Unlike a lot of other survival games, you don’t need to worry about finding food or water but only finding resources and equipment to keep your body temperature up. Resources can be found in old machinery, abandoned lockers and cabinets, and scattered around inside various containers throughout the map. You will find 3D printers dotted around the map which give you the option to craft suit and equipment upgrades to help you in your bid to survive the harsh Siberian wilds. Players will have to keep a close eye on their health bar, temperature bar and the battery level of their suit. You will find additional battery packs and battery charging stations at various locations around the map. The more gadgets and equipment you use, the faster the battery will drain. I found it a real challenge to conserve my battery and spent most of my time headed for charging stations rather than trying to complete my objectives which really dragged the pace of the game down to a crawl at times.
As if this wasn’t tough enough, you also find yourself being constantly stalked through the forest by some sort of monster as it swings around the trees and attacks you from all different angles. This really adds to the horror aspect and honestly was pretty frightening to hear the screeches of this thing as I was traversing through the darkness. You will also come across members of your old team who have turned into zombies, and they will attack you. These, however, are much less scary as their movement is very boxy and unnatural, which really breaks immersion from the otherwise spooky atmosphere. When you kill them, the bodies just vanish. It reminded me of Streets of Rage on the Sega Megadrive when you beat an enemy, their bodies start to flash, then they disappear. Don’t get me wrong, this was fine for an arcade game that was released in 1991 but it doesn’t really fly in an attempt at an immersive survival horror game released in 2021. Overall, though, Expedition Zero does a wonderful job of setting a spooky and tense atmosphere and for the most part, is a very immersive experience.
Character movement feels a bit sluggish however I think that is to be expected as you are wearing a hazmat suit with various gadget attachments, so I feel that it is a pretty accurate representation. I had quite a few issues with key presses and mouse clicks not registering along with some stuttering graphics which did get frustrating after a while. There was nothing I did that fixed the issues, they would just magically rectify themselves, but it detracted from my enjoyment of the game.
Overall, then, Expedition Zero is a decent attempt at survival horror but it certainly won’t set your world on fire. I enjoyed my time with the game and in all honesty will probably go back in for another round. I still feel like there is some life left in this game yet and with the continual updates being released, I’m hopeful that some of the bugs I encountered will be ironed out. If you are into survival horror games at all then I would absolutely recommend giving Expedition Zero a try.
PaultheBrave09’s Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
For more information on Expedition Zero please use the following links...
Enigmatic Machines - Developer | Website
Many thanks to tinyBuild for the Review Key.