We've spent some time with Marauders and here are our first impressions of Small Impact Games Early Access Extract Shooter.
PC Early Access Code Provided by Team17
Let's get the elephant out of the way first, if you've seen Marauders and are a fan of its genre it'll remind you of Escape from Tarkov. This is not a meme, but since Escape from Tarkov is the more popular genesis of this new genre, they'll obviously be compared to each other.
But to put it very simply, Marauders in its current state is the purest version of the game Escape from Tarkov is at the moment. In this conversation, I believe people like to forget that Escape from Tarkov in its current state is nothing like what the game will eventually look like.
Marauders on the other hand takes what people love about Battlestate Game's title and distills it into a high-octane arcade version. Gear up, Infiltrate, Loot, and get the f**k out in a retro sci-fi setting. And that's the fundamental distinction you'll have to make here.
Escape from Tarkov tries to simulate what surviving and operating in a military black zone might look like, while Marauders lets you live out the space pirate fantasy. Once you understand that, you'll imminently know which one you'll enjoy more.
But to the uninitiated, what is Marauders?
Space Pirate Simulator (In Space)
Have you ever imagined what it would be like to be a pirate in a small dingy? Fleecing massive trading ships in the dead of night for as much as you can carry and getting away with that?
Now imagine that in space, only that you're not the only one with that idea and you've all been invited to a non-consensual round of Unreal Tournament.
I might be overpromising here. Marauders is the latest entry in the lootin' and shootin' genre that Escape from Tarkov popularized. You know, you take the looting and pissing people off aspect from DayZ and Rust and center your game around that.
And while Escape from Tarkov is a doomsday prepper's wet dream, set in definitely not set in a suddenly problematic setting. Marauders asks the question: What if the cold war suddenly got hot and we expanded into space? What would it be like to be a pirate?
Turns out it's fun when you're able to shake off death by bullet poisoning.
The core gameplay loop of Marauders has you breaking and entering spaceships, mining shafts on asteroids, or a good old space station. The goal is simple, get in and stuff your pockets! Then leave hopefully alive and soon much richer. Oh, and you'll also have to compete with other players.
What sets Marauders apart in its genre, is that despite a clunky inventory system and lots of gear to desperately mix and match it has a fast arcadey pace to it.
Gunfights are fast and are way more about accuracy, making smart plays, and knowing the map than knowing which bullet isn't completely useless against more armor types. And all of this happens on relatively small maps. So if you're trigger-happy, you're gonna have a good time.
You (shouldn't) play Alone
Let this be a warning to you, don't play Marauders alone and expect to get into the groove gradually. While everything in Marauders is easy to understand, the skill ceiling in this game is already incredibly high. And while there is no established gun meta yet, you'll die a lot.
Either because you made the same mistake that I made, that is playing this game all tactical and leaning out of corners. Instead, you should be running around at mach speeds and spreading the holy word of the gun to everyone that is looking at you funny.
Marauders are really great at selling you on the get-in, loot as fast and much as possible and get out. Raids can be fast, and you'd do good to keep the pace up. If you're looting for longer than 20 seconds you're dead.
Another mistake I made is playing Marauders alone at first. Not a good time. While the tutorial made out of helpful video clips is good at explaining the game, it won't make you good at the game.
The cool thing here is that Marauders also has you actually infiltrate and exfiltrate the map via spaceship. Here you can even prematurely take out other players, or get taken out prematurely.
But that did not help much either, as more often than not I'd get onto a map only to be mowed down by a squad of more experienced players. Don't play this game alone. Bully friends to play it with you or join the discord server. Trust me your survival rate will increase by at least a little.
Now, this is not some ringing endorsement that Marauders is a hardcore game for hardcore gamers only. It's more heads up that no amount of watching streamers and youtube will prepare you for what awaits you out there. Nothing will replace the play experience here.
Something that sits a bit wrong with me is that Marauders currently comes with a 30$ USD price tag. As the title is still very much in early access and bugs and glitches range from funny to game-breaking.
Now the game has only been released into early access a few months ago and is still a work in progress. That warning has to be thrown out there because sometimes the game will just break, crash or steal your stuff.
And while these things can be frustrating, they also add to the entertainment value. So if you plan to get into Marauders, I suggest you build up a high tolerance for jank.
But from the dev blogs I've read, it seems as if the team behind the game really wants to see their vision become reality. And with the backing of a publisher like Team17, you shouldn't have to worry about this project being abandoned.
Just know that despite its wealth of content, there is still a lot of polish to be done.
Marauders is off to a good start, yes there is jank and it is definitely a little overpriced for that is still very much a work in progress. It's also very addicting for all the right and wrong reasons.
Again, I can only describe Marauders as the arcade version of Escape from Tarkov but in space. It's fast, its mechanics are easy to grasp and uncomplicated and it focuses a whole lot more on the looting and shooting aspect of the genre.
And while the game is definitely fun, the progression feels stale. Yes, you get to unlock new stuff to go into raids with, but unlike Tarkov's early wipes gear never starts feeling special and you can always pick yourself up after you lost all your good stuff.
For a mindless game that's all about raiding, that's fine. It has quests for progression that range from inoffensive to just kinda lame and the rewards don't really add that much to the overall gameplay loop.
Maybe that's just because I'm not that goal-oriented and there are no long-term goals to work towards. The game just came into early access so it's more important that the core experience is working.
And as long as there'll be a steady stream of updates as promised with the roadmap, we know stuff is coming.
So if you want to give it a shot, grab some friends. It's still a work in progress but when it works, oh it works. We'll check into Marauders in a few months again and do a follow-up on this piece!
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