Review – Fear the Wolves

It’s always bad when you start playing a game and you realize how much potential it has, how well-crafted it is, and yet have no choice but to dismiss it as a disappointment. I present you Fear the Wolves, a shining example of such a game.

Fear the Wolves is a brand new Battle Royale game trying to compete against the likes of Fortnite, PUBG, Apex Legends, and even Tetris 99. It’s a game with some interesting additions to the genre, pretty good graphics, nice gameplay, no microtransactions, a neat setting, and a well-crafted map. Yet, it is a disappointment.

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Finding another player in this wasteland is as difficult as finding a unicorn in real life.

The game’s visuals are great. The Chernobyl-esque scenery is brimming with detail, ruins, derelict tents, craters, and much more. It doesn’t feel like someone just threw a ton of random assets onto a big map, like in PUBG‘s case. Not only are the visuals very good, but the game also felt surprisingly well-optimized, as it not only managed to run well on recommended hardware, but also managed to run at a respectable framerate and resolution on a laptop with much lower specs than even the minimum specifications stated on the game’s Steam page. And still, it is disappointing.

The gameplay, albeit your based on your typical first-person shooter control schemes, also features some nice additions, most notably the fact that players aren’t the only characters that can kill you in this hostile map. Mutated wildlife, also known as the titular “wolves”, can hunt you down, making the game even more tense when you spawn far away from a weapon. Killing them with a loud bang can also result in basically telling the whole world where you’re hiding. There are other features in the map, such as smaller areas full of radiation that can slowly drain your health. Despite these features, it is a disappointment.

Even though I’ve been praising Fear the Wolves so far, it is very hard to actually have fun with it, and it’s not even due to any main glitch or flaw in it. It is hard to have fun with Fear the Wolves because it’s almost impossible to actually play it. The game doesn’t boast enough players for even a single match to begin, as you need forty of them for such. Fear the Wolves had a slight increase in its player count when it left Early Access a few days ago and that’s when I managed to play some matches and have a lot of fun with the game. However, nowadays it’s pretty hard to actually leave the waiting lobby. Thankfully enough, the game actually allows to explore the map while you’re waiting for a match to begin, leaving you to mess around in a map as empty and desolate as Chernobyl itself.

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Here doggie doggie.

Now, did the developers do anything wrong with Fear the Wolves? Absolutely not. I rarely saw bugs, network issues, or major criticisms regarding the visuals or gameplay. The main problem with Fear the Wolves is its competition. With the exception of the recent Apex Legends and Tetris 99, it’s hard to convince people to quit the already traditional PUBG or the free Fortnite in favor of something else. The fact that Fear the Wolves‘ main competitor is a free game with a somewhat acceptable microtransaction economy doesn’t help either.

Fear the Wolves is a bummer. There is a great foundation for a unique Battle Royale in here, with a nice map, acceptable optimization, and decent gameplay ideas, but the game is so empty at the moment that I can’t see it reaching its full potential at this current state. The massive multiplayer market is one cruel mistress with a mammoth-sized barrier of entry and it would be a shame if Fear the Wolves ended up receiving the same treatment as games like Battleborn or LawBreakers received before it. If the developers and publisher manage to repopulate this warzone, then this will actually be something worth getting lost into.

 

Graphics: 8.0

Decent visuals and a stable framerate, with an impressive optimization even on much inferior hardware.

Gameplay: 8.0

It doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but it’s responsive enough. The map is somewhat well-designed and the few control additions, such as holding your breath with any gun, are welcome.

Sound: 4.5

There’s not a lot of sound in the game, as it was probably meant to be filled with voice chat from your comrades. Given how empty the game is, you won’t hear that very often.

Fun Factor: 4.0

If you manage to get into a match, you’ll be treated to a very cool take on the Battle Royale genre, with a neat map and some interesting mechanics. Sadly, getting into a full match is easier said than done.

Final Verdict: 6.0

Fear the Wolves is available now on PC.

Reviewed on PC.

A copy of Fear the Wolves was provided by the publisher.

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