The Battle Royale genre is flooded with games hoping to become the next big thing. Chinese giants Tencent Games are the latest developer to throw down the gauntlet with the Western Early Access release of Ring of Elysium. Is this just another flash in the pan or is Ring of Elysium going to compete with the big boys of free-to-play battle royale’s?
Hit It Or Quit It – Ring Of Elysium Early AccessOn its surface, Ring of Elysium may appear to be nothing more than a poor attempt at cashing in on the ever-growing battle royale genre, however, it only takes a couple of rounds to realize ROE is not simply another BR game copying the same formula, it’s a game changer. Several staple features of the battle royale genre have been completely overhauled with a new, exciting and innovative approach that keeps things fresh and interesting.
Immediately players will notice the spawn mechanics are totally different from Fortnite, PUBG and H1Z1. You don’t come in from above, instead you choose the location in which you spawn. This removes the needlessly tedious initial 30 seconds of the round, instead allowing players to get into the meat of the game nearly instantly. I wasn’t convinced at first but the option to select your spawn really grew on me, and is now one of my favorite features about the game. You can also see the location where other players are spawning, giving those seeking a chaotic bloodbath the chance to spawn in the heat of battle while those looking for a more survival-based approach can spawn out in the sticks.
There are two other notable changes to the BR formula that present themselves before the game even starts. Character customization is already implemented and while it doesn’t rival Skyrim, it’s more reminiscent of MMORPG character creation, with greater detail and more variety. Secondly, you get to pick an equipment pack before launching into the game. This allows every player to start with a gun and also a piece of equipment. Either Climbing Tools, a Snowboard or a Glider, and they are all just as cool as they sound.
The Climbing Tools allows you to climb specific routes up mountains, providing access to fast travel over long distances with conveniently placed zipwires. The Glider can be used to jump from high locations and escape danger while the snowboard allows for faster travel wherever there’s a slight slope. There’s few things more satisfying than celebrating a kill with a 360 tail grab snowboard trick. While simplistic in design and implementation, these features really improve the speed of transitions between early and mid game, and promise endless potential for insane gifs and shares.
Other unique elements of Ring of Elysium include first-person and third-person options, with each forcing that particular perspective for the entire lobby of 60 players. An already impressive arsenal of weapons, equipment and attachments, and an interesting end-game mechanic that offers a really interesting insight into the state of the battle royale genre as a whole.
Unlike other games in the genre, Ring of Elysium’s “gas” mechanic is actually that of a dangerously cold weather front moving across the map. As such it does not conform to the restraints of a simple circle, instead offering a far more realistic approach to forcing players into an enclosed space. The victory mechanic is also very interesting as a helicopter appears at the end of the game with enough space to seat 4 people. In the final moments of battle, as players fight tooth and nail to survive, there is the option for 4 players to call a ceasefire and escape together, but seldom is this the case. Each time I have survived to the point of the evac helicopter arriving, the remaining 4 players would rather kill each other and die than all escape together. Showcasing the true brutality of the genre in its purest form.
Ring of Elysium is a well executed, technically sound and innovative approach to a genre already stagnating. For a free-to-play Early Access game, there is zero reason not to make Ring of Elysium your battle royale game of choice.