First Impressions: Fear the Wolves
- Currently on sale, starting at $9.99 (normally $19.99)
- A unique experience, blending PvE and PvP
- Frame rates are inconsistent
Thanks to developer by Vostok Games and Evolve PR for providing GWW with a review build.
I jumped into my first match of Fear the Wolves (“FtW”) without any understanding of what it is. In fact, I spent 20+ minutes in pre-match state not even realizing my actions didn’t count. That’s a pretty long pre-match, even for FtW. Subsequent matches didn’t see a pre-match last longer than 3 minutes. That’s critical because getting into the action quickly is immensely necessary. Once the match begins it’s a quiet affair until the map begins to shrink. Unlike other battle royale shooters, the map doesn’t shrink in a uniform circle. Instead, various squares covering important loot-laden portions of the map are covered in a cloud that you can’t survive for long. Other areas start with high-radiation clouds that can be survived only if you have anti-rad equipment. I jumped into one of these areas to extract a stash that I learned about through a randomly placed map in a building. I was dead within 5 seconds.
The threats in the game, in addition to the radiation, are humans and wolves. The big challenge with the wolves is they hunt in packs and by using precious ammo on them, you can reveal your position to nearby humans. I played primarily solo, but I did run a few matches with a random human partner in duo mode (default). I couldn’t figure out how to text chat and I’m not really keen on voice chat with folks I don’t know. I would like to see Vostok Games implement a quick ping system so duos can communicate quickly. A few times I saw a wolf pack and I wanted to tell my partner before they gave away our position or drew the wolves in. I found no solution, unfortunately.
During my first match, I was on the wrong end of an otherwise cool gun battle. Again, I didn’t know the game’s mechanics so I was just following the in-game queues and observing my random partner. We raced to the last set of buildings in the map that weren’t covered in the death cloud. We made our way up 4 flights of stairs. Along the way I got my first kill but saw that my partner was down. I climbed the rope up to the escape helicopter and then got into a gun fight with another player. He won; I lost.
One of the concerns gamers should have with online games is whether the developer will support it. I can’t speak for the future but I am pleased to see the devs unleash a large quality of life-type update recently as the game left early access. I’m certainly looking forward to more battles, but I am concerned about server population. During my initial tests, I was logged in at 6pm GMT. I continued to run tests through 9pm GMT and found server population was highest closer to 6pm GMT. This was on a Monday morning PST – so I got what I expected, which was low server population as North American players were likely at work. This will be something to keep an eye on because it’s a challenge to optimize servers.
After a few gaming sessions you’ll earn enough in-game currency to purchase cosmetic packs. There are a wide variety of packs that look pretty cool. But in my experience with the game it’s pretty hard to differentiate between players because of the armor and various weather conditions that spawn on the map.
Overall, I’m very excited for what FtW has to offer. Hopefully players will support the game and the devs will also continue to make quality of life improvements. I’d like to see this go free to play, considering the recent success of other battle royale games like Apex Legends and that Fort-something game…
Below is more information about Fear the Wolves directly from the publisher.
The New Standard: Duos
Playing in teams of two was chosen as the new standard way to play, with daredevils able to choose braving the deadly world alone for increased rewards and deadlier battles. This combined with smaller maps created from the massive overall world makes for an intense, personal experience within the last-man-standing formula.
Two powerful artifacts can be found in the world, the Spore Artifact and the Wolf Matriarch Heart. These hidden treasures can be used to give you an edge in battle! Hunt down the Wolf Matriarch and take her heart to control the wolves yourself or find the Spore Artifact in a lockdown zone to detect nearby enemies through walls.
The Anomalous Lockdown
Players are warned of static, high-radiation areas which are randomized each game. These areas contain high value equipment and the best weapons. Only enter these with heavy radiation protection!
The Hidden Stashes
Previous survivors have left maps behind on the map which give the position of their hidden stashes containing high powered weapons, gear, and medicine. Some of these stashes are in radiated zones, however, so plan your path carefully!
New points of interest including capsized boats, water cooling plants, and an abandoned dam. These new areas can have the extraction chopper land on top of buildings, forcing players to scramble into tight and intense indoor areas before making their escape. Certain areas are also blocked by barricades that can be broken using the fire-axe.
New Movement Options
Explore new sightlines and get the drop on your enemies from unexpected places by using the new vaulting system. Climb up edges or squeeze through smaller windows to get a positional advantage or stage a daring escape.
Upgrades to Wolf Behavior
The wolves are now deadlier than ever. They will hunt in packs, track you over a long distance, and even attempt to break down doors you’re hiding behind.
Dozens of Optimizations and QOL Improvements
Various optimizations have been made across the board for visuals, hit registration, and networking. Alongside these changes come numerous quality-of-life improvements including HUD changes, a new means of deployment, and control mapping options.