Ylands (PC) Preview

By TJ 20.12.2017

Review for Ylands on PC

Ylands is a sandbox adventure game that boasts expansive multiplayer modes including naval battles, castle sieges, and races. The options are nearly limitless, with an in-game level editor and game workshop to browse. In addition to this, a single-player exploration mode is likewise offered, allowing players to create and maintain an offline world. Despite its many offerings, due to being a recently added Early Access title, Ylands has some bothersome bugs, as well as many design decisions, that leave an unrefined impression.

Typically, a game that focuses on multiplayer will have a separate mode to teach its audience the controls and how to succeed. It could be a tutorial or a single-player mode. Ylands doesn't have a proper introduction, causing players to feel overwhelmed and clueless.

Exploration, the default single-player experience, plops the player's newly-made character on an island. No tutorials, messages, or direction is given, so the only choice is to wander around and figure out the world. The lack of information is quite jarring, but luckily there is a codex.

Screenshot for Ylands on PC

The codex provides a large amount of knowledge, and is quite crucial to the experience on a whole. A mechanic such as using a knife to retrieve resin from trees, necessary to crafting torches, would be unknown to a new player. There is information on what the different basic tools are used for, how to change the terrain, how the crafting system works, and other important basics.

The problem here is that nothing indicates any gameplay information exists at all. The codex is located on the "pause menu" when in-game, but really deserves to be part of some tutorial, or at least on the main menu where one might find a "How to Play" option listed. Regarding the pause menu, it doesn't pause the game at all. This trickles down from a bigger problem present in Ylands: it is an online-only experience. While single-player is an option, that option only comes if connected to the internet.

Due to how varied the PC platform is on a whole, it is incredibly difficult to tune a game to work on every computer. Some people will have issues running a title, and others will not. Unfortunately, there are many instances of stuttering and performance drops when walking around the island. These cases are frequent, and it is hard to pinpoint what exactly triggers them.

Screenshot for Ylands on PC

In terms of controls, attacking while moving actually causes the character to freeze up in the direction they were initially facing. The only way to adjust aim while swinging a weapon at the same time is to stand still. This might be a bug, but it makes combat feel unresponsive. One strange interaction is that climbing anything feels far too easy and, consequently, trivializes a lot of the verticality found in the world.

Survival is a major aspect of this title, and to achieve that, one must be prepared and have the information needed to make rash decisions. The weapons and armour have no stats or text that indicates their worth. A set of iron armour can be expected to protect more than bark, but to what degree is not made clear. This is the same with weapons, and a particularly frustrating point.

When starting out, an encounter with a leopard, wolf, or other predator almost always results in death. Fighting them with barely any armour and primitive stone "weapons" feels unfair. Attempts to outrun these animals is impossible, as they are much faster than the character. Failure is a frustrating facet of survival, but dropping all items on death and being forced to remake another character makes it feel too punishing.

Screenshot for Ylands on PC

General interface clunkiness is something that should be addressed. It works, but having no way to quickly manage an inventory really slows down the pacing. Adding a quick drop button would help immensely, as well as adding a way to hotkey items in a more efficient way than dragging and dropping.

The one thing that can spell doom for an Early Access game, especially one that is not even free to play, is an in-game store. Players can spend real-life money to get different quantity bundles of "coyns," which then allow the purchase of weapon skins, emotes, and eventually pets and decorations. In a title that derives a majority of its content from community contributions, this seems like a less than stellar practice.

In a game such as Terraria, decorating a house with ornate objects is typically a reward for exploring and ransacking exotic locations. In the same breath, limiting the interaction of players via emotes seems to be counterproductive to a game that has so much focus on community and the social aspects surrounding it. Decisions such as this have the potential to branch out to other aspects of the game, and that's a little unsettling.

Screenshot for Ylands on PC

Final Thoughts

Ylands strives to be a lot, and while many people would think an Early Access title is exempt from criticism, it is actually the perfect time to be critical. There are a lot of issues that bog down the whole experience. Performance drops, such as stuttering and lag, are major offenders. The lack of information on equipment turns upgrading into a guessing game, at least in terms of figuring out the degree of improvement. New players might find the accessibility limited, due to a lack of tutorial or direction. For those who would enjoy being part of a sandbox adventure community, keep an eye on this for future consideration, but be aware the current state is quite unpolished and unfinished.

Developer

Bohemia Interactive

Publisher

Bohemia Interactive

Genre

Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  n/a

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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