Return Alive Review | Webzine Inven – Inven VRESP

On the 3rd, domestic developer KOG officially released ‘Return Alive’, a new game in the extraction shooting genre, through the Epic Games Store. After the first CBT, which was first conducted in 2022, there was a second CBT and a demo version was distributed through Steam, and the official version was finally released after about two years.

Return Alive is an online-based multiplayer game, and at least one to two updates are expected every month. It seems that parts that need immediate improvement can be fixed over the course of several updates, but as this is a release build, it is no exaggeration to say that the game’s major direction has already been decided. Return Alive, which was released after two years of testing, was a work that improved some of the problems pointed out in the previous test, and we looked at the release build to see what new joys it contained.

Game name: Return Alive
Genre name: Extraction Shooter
release date: 2024.04.03
review version: Release build
developer: ME
service: ME
platform: PC
paly: PC (Epic Games Store)

‘Finding’ new fun with 3-person party battlefield play

Return Alive is an extraction shooter genre game that depicts the process of entering a session, catching other players or NPCs, collecting various goods placed in the field, and escaping safely. There is a background story in the game that says, ‘In the post-apocalyptic era, resources for survival have become scarce, and mercenaries are sent to an abandoned land to secure them.’ However, there is no separate scenario mode in the game, so it is something to pay attention to. is not. This can be seen as whether enough fun is contained in the series of processes of entering a newly created session each time, escaping from it, repeating the play over and over again, and collecting goods.

The biggest improvement since the CBT build is the addition of a new battlefield, which serves as the game’s background, and the addition of a party battlefield where you enter by forming a three-person party. In particular, the party battlefield provides new fun to the extent that it is no exaggeration to say that it has revitalized the work called Return Alive.

Basically, the structure and rules of the existing solo play continue the same, but the aspect of play changes significantly simply by forming a three-person party first when entering the battlefield. When catching elite monsters or giant bosses, you can hunt them more easily by working together with your party members. You can farm more flexibly by sharing the equipment and blueprints each person needs, and even if you fall during battle, you can fight each other more easily. Since it can be revived, the number of meaningless deaths that end in an instant has decreased, and the possibility of escape has greatly increased. It is clearly possible to experience more diverse aspects than before, when the focus was on solo play and had to somehow focus on returning safely.

▲ Access to various elements on the battlefield has increased through basic cooperative play.

Against this background, the number of weapons, which has increased to 42 types, has also become a powerful attractive element that adds to the fun of the game. We have prepared unique weapons that show various performances depending on the type and grade, and the performance of the weapon varies greatly depending on which parts are attached and modified. The 42 types of weapons not only have different values ​​or effects, but each has different basic and special effects, so even the process of finding the right weapon for me is enjoyable. Finding your own way to use weapons that others do not use is also a way to enjoy the game.

Using a high-grade weapon does not necessarily make you stronger, and no matter how good a weapon you use, it is ultimately just a consumable item with durability, so it is not permanent. In general, if a weapon is used repeatedly 6 to 7 times, its durability will be completely reduced. In this case, you will have to use equipment captured from other users on the battlefield, open chests, farm them, obtain blueprints for the equipment, and craft them again in the lobby. Even if you are lucky enough to find good equipment, you cannot continue to use the same equipment.

Thanks to this system, it has become fun to use a wider variety of weapons depending on the situation, regardless of item grade. In fact, top rank users are also using relatively easy-to-make white and blue equipment with their own custom parts.

▲ Even if you acquire ancient or legendary weapons, the ones you actually use are mostly regular weapons.

Depending on the type of weapon and settings, you can create a play style that suits you. You can create a build specialized for hunting field creeps by attaching a lot of parts that increase monster damage. You can also set up a setting that can capture sounds from further away so you can focus on farming without encountering enemies, and you can focus on farming without encountering enemies. It is also possible to form a PvP specialized party by adding CC settings. If you create the play setting you want and have three party members each share their special skills, the number of experiences you can have even on the same battlefield will more than double compared to when you are alone.

The period of playing the released version of the game was not long, about 3 days, but it was easy to feel that the way to enjoy the game had definitely become more diverse than the previous CBT, which focused on survival in solo play. In the process of finding party members, I was able to come up with a strategy by interacting with other users I naturally met, and in this process, the fun of interaction clearly occurred.

After becoming familiar with the structure of the game and battlefield, as soon as I entered the session, I was able to run to the boss location and plot a farming route centered on the boss raid as if I were playing an RPG. At the end, I was able to check the creep placement situation, open boxes, the sounds of footsteps and opening boxes, etc. I was able to experience the fun of PvP group warfare where you capture clues, ambush, and then attack the approaching enemy party. Of course, it may vary depending on player preference, but it seems clear that KOG’s development team has found ‘fun points’ to deliver in Return Alive through testing over the past two years.

▲ The tension of competing with other parties for a limited opportunity to escape still remains.

The motivating factor for repeated play is still lacking. Will it be possible to succeed in ‘surviving’?

Although it is clear that various improvements have been made to make the game more enjoyable to enjoy, Return Alive still lacks elements that encourage players to play repeatedly. There are only four daily missions that are updated every day that can be easily accomplished, and after solving them, all that remains is to repeat the same survival mission.

The game mode that can be played is only a party battlefield added to the existing solo play, and in fact, there is no dramatic change in the play method itself. This is an area that requires consideration of additional game modes that can provide a different type of fun than escape play. In fact, the last CBT build provided a mode to enjoy ‘Team Deathmatch’, so it seems that we can look forward to it in the official version.

The uses for ‘gold’, the most intuitive play reward, are also limited. Even if you earn gold by playing the game repeatedly, you can only buy one additional character and a few coloring skins. After purchasing all the extra items in the store, such as emoticons, there is no place to use them. At least, I felt fortunate that the exchange system was operating properly, so I could sometimes obtain the necessary blueprints from other users. In order to make up for this in the future, we need to repeat updates and add more options such as more attractive character skins and new characters.

If you set a personal goal such as ‘I will become the best ranker displayed at the top of the ranking page’ or ‘I will obtain a special weapon modification blueprint and make a more powerful weapon’, you can enjoy it with more immersion. Players still lack things to do. Through future updates, there is a need to provide more basic direction so that players can follow it naturally without having to set personal goals. Wouldn’t one solution be to create a more diverse set of weekly and daily missions that can be naturally accomplished through game play?

▲ After clearing four daily missions with modest rewards, there is virtually no other goal.

▲ It is difficult to find attractive products that make people want to buy them even in stores.

The matching problem that had to be endured during the period of exclusive release through the Epic Games Store also became an immediate obstacle. Due to relatively low preference, you have to wait more than 5 minutes for solo battlefield matching with a small number of users, and for party battlefields, it takes about 3 minutes to recruit party members and 3 minutes to match the party. Since the waiting time to start a game is not short, after completing all daily missions, fatigue becomes severe and motivation to play further is lost.

If you fail to escape even once during a daily mission, your fatigue doubles. After entering the session, I lost not only all the items I had collected by farming for more than 10 minutes, but also the top and pants that I had worked hard to craft in the lobby, and returned to the game with my bare body. The fatigue that comes from this is a level that cannot be ignored. .

Of course, during peak hours after 18:00, you can relieve some of the boredom in the queue by forming a three-person party with friends or like-minded people. However, in order to completely solve the chronic matching problem, we must expect an increase in the influx of new users through the launch of additional platforms, including Steam.

In addition, there are still some UI issues that continue to feel inconvenient and several bugs that make the game look unfinished, but thanks to the quick inspection after release, it has now been greatly improved. Since the developer is communicating with users in real time through the Discord channel, you can expect a quick response to any inconveniences caused by bugs in the future.

▲ Bug fixes and various improvements were applied during the first inspection.

Ahead of the official global launch, KOG’s Return Alive development team expressed its ambition to “provide a new world for shooting game fans and completely change the shooting game experience.” Obviously, the official release version has become a game with a more solid gameplay structure, but it is also true that there are still many empty parts as if you are playing a test build.

Although the game has been officially released, there are still many tasks remaining for the Return Alive development team. We need to provide more entertainment and goals so that players do not immediately quit the game after completing their daily missions, and the standard for rewards provided when they achieve special records in battlefield play must be higher than it is now. It is also necessary to further diversify the store’s sales list to serve as an incentive and goal for repeat play. There is a need to improve the matching system so that users do not get tired and give up during matching, and it is necessary to prepare a certain level of buffer, even just for novice users, so that the penalty for failing to escape does not become more unpleasant than inconvenient. .

Of course, it will not be an easy task as all of this work must be done in parallel with essential live service response such as bug fixing. There is an urgent need for a survival strategy to present the products prepared as soon as possible before the users who came with interest at the time of release leave one by one. I hope that Return Alive, which was finally officially released after a long wait, can survive for a long time with the title of ‘a representative work of domestic extraction shooters’.

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About Michael Steven

I am a news writer, editor and journalist with more than 13 years of experience. I have an MA in Journalism and have published work in various publications around the world. With me, you don't have to worry about copyright and defamation issues or being punished by search engines. You get original work that complies with media laws. Communication: I really prioritize good communication with clients, from their expectations to the initial plan and vision of the project in particular. Tell me what you want - even down to the level of 'how' you want it written. Nonetheless, I must note that self-expression is very important to me and I hope to reach a solution together with the client but not at the expense of the quality of the finished product.

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