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Abiotic Factor Review (PC)



Abiotic Factor Promotional Art

Given the state of things in Close to the Sun, I can’t say that I have all that much faith in the so-called geniuses of today — especially those who believe that a single stand of scientific research is powerful enough to reverse the side effects of some catastrophic event. The only thing that could be any worse than that, of course, would be several self-inflated “prodigies” in the field, each individually wrapped and hurled into the same bunker, inconveniently arguing over whether or not a single strand of scientific data could reverse the tide and ultimately banish a global pandemic. Needless to say that, from a spectator’s perspective, this sounds all rather comedic and tongue-in-cheek, but in Abiotic Factor, on the other hand, it’s a virtual nightmare waiting to happen.

If I had to reference any particular scenario, I’d say that Cabin in the Woods, weirdly enough, is the closest thing to being on par with the events that take shape in Abiotic Factor. In case you’ve yet to watch that, though, then just know this: due to a breach in the security system that once imprisoned zombies, vampires, and skeletal ne’er-do-wells, the keepers—scientists and government officials—found themselves trapped in an underground facility, at which point they had to fight for survival in a bid to be the last-remaining colony on the monopoly. That, in short, is what Abiotic Factor is: the vessel in which scientists are forced to withstand the aftermath of a catastrophic breakout, despite having little to no experience in combat operations.

So, is Abiotic Factor actually worth taking the time and effort to peruse? Well, if you have been itching to get ahold of a brand-new single and multiplayer survival-crafting game, then be sure to read on for a few pre-purchase pointers.

PhD in Survival

Underground facility atrium (Abiotic Factor)

Abiotic Factor, for those who’ve yet to carry out their own research, is a first-person survival-crafting game, one in which players take to the sunken facilities of a haven for scientists of all PhDs and skill sets. But, there’s a problem with the underground network: the portals that house the paranormal, as well as the aliens, robotic armies, and just about every other thing that you could deem even remotely threatening, for that matter, have all broken free from their shackles, and have managed to bypass the containment security barriers standing between the facility and the outside world. As a result of this rather unfortunate incident, you, along with every other modern-day guru in the GATE program, must survive the fallout. As a scientist, and not, for example, a battle-hardened solider, your odds of survival are lower than the average colleague. But hey, it’s all fun and games, right?

The rules of Abiotic Factor are “relatively” simple: you create a scientist, equip them with a specialized PhD and matching skill set, and then hurl them into the depths of an underground laboratory—a location in which deadly anomalies roam free, and the exits are well out of reach. But, there’s a little more to it than that; unfortunately, there are also numerous multidimensional portals inhabiting the facility, too, all of which spew out other natural disasters and enemies for you to deal with. So, what’s the goal here? Well, aside from learning how to survive and proper in a toxic workplace, there is also the case of having to ransack offices for supplies, forage for weapons and tools out of hand-me-down blueprints, and create pop-up bases that allow you to travel freely between each quarter of the network. Quite a lot, then, all things considered.

Science Is My Weapon

Character customization and item screen (Abiotic Factor)

It doesn’t come as much of a surprise, but the fact is, combat isn’t your forte; in fact, as you’re only a mere academic, the only real weapons that you can rely upon are those that tie themselves to scientific experiments. Naturally, this is where you spend a lot of your time in Abiotic Factor: fashioning traps and other useful tools to outsmart and whittle down the foes that occupy the vast open areas of the facility. That isn’t to say that you can’t clobber an anomaly with a clipboard or anything, mind you, but given the fact that your greatest strengths lie within your scientific prowess, it isn’t the most viable solution for defeating the problem. And honestly, I was completely fine with that; it meant that I didn’t have to resort to mindlessly whacking buttons, but genuinely conceiving new ways to clean house and flex my academic credentials.

When I wasn’t out laying traps to eliminate the beasties of Abiotic Factor, I was out cleaning the desk drawers and filing cabinets of the GATE facility—a quest that often led me down some pretty intense corridors and into some rather bizarre situations. Granted, none of these moments were overly strange, but under the right circumstances, they were oddly comedic, more so when I found myself paired up with five other fledgling PhD candidates sporting the same lab coats and matching clipboards. In our heads, none of us were going to survive through the night, but with the help of several unorthodox contraptions merging into an absolute abomination of a creation, we had the means to progress through to the twilight hours and into the next shift.

Six Coats Are Better Than One

Assault weapon in a dusty dune (Abiotic Factor)

While Abiotic Factor can be oddly entertaining to experience as a lone student, it goes without saying that, completing even the simplest tasks is far better with friends. It helps, too, that you can enlist your closest allies who, depending on the PhD that they favor, can assist you during your research, whether it’s by contributing to the structural integrity of your base, or adding to the blueprint of some barbaric laser contraption. Don’t get me wrong, you can complete a lot of the objectives on your own, but it isn’t quite nearly as compelling as it is in a squadron of four, and maybe even five additional troops. There’s also a sense of camaraderie that you can’t quite replicate in the solo mode, and therefore, if you are looking to tackle the GATE, then you might want to consider rounding up a few extra pairs of hands.

Visually, Abiotic Factor is, well — it isn’t anything majorly exciting, or even appealing enough to have something to write home about, to say the least. It isn’t quite a virtual disaster, but it isn’t exactly the marvel of the century, either. With that said, where it lacks in graphical complexity, it weirdly makes up for in its vibrancy and thematic simplicity; it has enough to keep you on the lookout for new features, but nothing particularly extraordinary. But that isn’t a major issue, as the gameplay elements, in general, possess more than enough content to warrant a few hours of play—days, even, provided that you have a few like-minded friends who’d soon rather join you in your scientific endeavors than succumb to another, slightly more generic survival IP.


Cooking steak in kitchen (Abiotic Factor)

Abiotic Factor clearly has a lot of good bones in its core, and thrice as many reasons for avid co-op gamers to take it into consideration the next time they’re on the market for a bit of harmless fun. Again, it isn’t the most graphically impressive game on the planet, so it’s probably best to take a lot of its finer details with a pinch of salt. Having said that, it does, at least to some extent, seem to sport all of the same characteristics as a fully functioning, mechanically sound survival-crafting game — and it certainly isn’t lauded by a plethora of game-breaking bugs, either. It flows, is what I’m trying to say, which is a lot more than what a lot of indie games can boast in this day and age, for sure.

Rounding back to that initial question of whether or not Abiotic Factor is actually worth donning the lab coat for — yes, it is worth playing, perhaps even more if you enjoy playful set pieces and quirky concepts that don’t require a mastermind to comprehend. Is it a game that you can play for weeks, or perhaps even months? Eh, maybe. Of course, as it’s still early days yet, we’ll have to stand idly by for the next wave of post-launch add-ons and DLC to be integrated into the framework. For what it’s worth, though, you could certainly do a lot worse than this one.

Abiotic Factor Review (PC)

Jack of All Trades, Master of None

If, by some random coincidence, you had told me that both Half-Life and 7 Days to Die had come together to conceive Abiotic Factor and foster its DNA, then I honestly wouldn’t even question it. Aside from it being the brainchild of the two cult classics, however, it does, thankfully, come with its own brand of identity, and it certainty isn’t one that I’ll ever forget, either.

Jord is acting Team Leader at If he isn't blabbering on in his daily listicles, then he's probably out writing fantasy novels or scraping Game Pass of all its slept on indies.