Multiplayer Survival is one of the most popular genres on Steam. It seems like every day there is some new title being released. Most of them are mediocre at best, but there are a few that stand out above the rest. We are taking the liberty of comparing those to tell you which one you should invest your time and money in.
First of all, there are a few things these games all have in common. Most importantly, they are all in Early Acces, which means their development is not completed, so anything addressed in this article could change. Secondly, as mentioned above, they are all the same genre, multiplayer survival. Basically, you are put in an open world and have to survive against the environment as well as other players.
So, here’s how this is going to work. I am going to be comparing four games. I will start off by giving you some basic information about them, three things I like about the game, and three things I don’t like. Then at the end of the article I will rank them from best to worst. There’s not much more to say, so here we go.
Technically, Rust is the first of these four games to release on Steam. Being thrown into an open world you are forced to survive against the other players and build your shelter. I don’t mean this in a bad way, but there really isn’t that much else to say.
Early Access Release Date: December 11, 2013
Planned Full Release Date: Unknown
Developer: Facepunch Studios
What I Liked:
- Out of all the games we’re comparing, in Rust you feel like you have the most freedom. You start out with nearly nothing and slowly build up until you have a fortress that can protect you while you’re offline. You can also make tools and weapons to assist you. I know that you can do this in the other games, but I feel like Rust gives you a few more options.
- It’s also the most realistic out of the group. You aren’t facing zombies and dinosaurs, but instead just the environment and other players.
- There is a lot of support from the developers. From what I’ve seen more than any of the other games. Updates are very frequent, and I have a feeling they have a lot more planned for the game.
What I Didn’t Like:
- Rust still really feels like an early access game. While it’s great when you’re playing, a lot of the time it would crash before I could even join a server.
- The community is pretty bad. There are still too many hackers and people that are only playing for the purpose of killing others. A lot of people will kill you even if you have nothing on you to steal, they’re just doing it for fun.
- Even if you have an amazing computer, this game still doesn’t look great. I’m hoping this will improve as time goes on, but I’m not going to expect it.
Of all the multiplayer survival games on Steam, this is the most important. It started as a mod for Arma II before Rust came out, and is really what gave birth to the genre. Due to its popularity it released as a standalone title. You have to survive in a world overrun by zombies as well as other players, most of which choose to kill you on sight. Many people refer to this as the original multiplayer survival game, and to this day it remains a best seller.
Early Access Release Date: December 16, 2013
Planned Full Release Date: Mid 2016
Developer: Bohemia Interactive
What I Liked:
- It provides the ultimate zombie fantasy. Zombies have always played a huge role in the survival genre. But no game masters surviving in a zombie infested world as perfectly as DayZ. With your only objective being to survive, you will be forced to find your own food, supplies, and shelter. Eventually, you will have to choose whether or not to trust another player and work together or kill them and take what they have. It really makes you feel like you are in a world similar to shows like The Walking Dead. To people who don’t see how dying in a video game is a big deal, when you have spent hours gathering all of your gear you won’t take the idea of losing it lightly.
- That brings me to my next point, which is how valuable your life is in the game. When you die, you lose everything that you have gathered and are thrown to a point in the map which is usually far away from where you were. It really enforces my point above, making you really try hard to survive, especially after putting several hours into gathering your supplies.
- Finally, I have to point out that for an early access title it actually runs pretty well. Yes, it does have some pretty bad frame rate drops and other glitches which get a lot of complaints, but I’d say about seventy percent of the time it is running perfectly.
What I Didn’t Like:
- Like Rust, most of the community is pretty bad. A lot of the people you meet in DayZ will not hesitate to shoot you for whatever you have on you, or even just for fun. While this does sort of add to the experience of having to survive, it would be nice if there was a little larger group of people that would be willing to work together.
- The early access period has lasted way too long, and there hasn’t been enough change to justify it. Huge updates are rare, and people (including me) are starting to wonder whether the game will be able to launch in 2016 with enough content to call it a full game.
- Although this is a zombie game, the zombies are spread out far and wide. It’s rare to come across one, and even rarer to come across two or more together. It’s really disappointing because this has made zombies a very small threat.
Reign Of Kings
Reign Of Kings is the least popular game on this list. But I decided to include it because of its uniqueness. Unlike all of the other games on this list which are set in the modern day or near future, Reign Of Kings is set back in the medieval times. So instead of intense gun fights with other players you’ll be having sword fights, and instead of houses with doors protected with passcodes you’ll be building your own castle.
Early Access Release Date: March 11, 2015
Planned Full Release Date: 2015
What I Liked:
- Like the other games, the first thing that stands out is the one thing that separates it from the others. As I mentioned above, Reign Of Kings is set in the medieval ages, and it is actually sometimes nice to not have to worry about other players sniping you from long distance.
- It generally has the shortest loading time of all four games, making it a great one to just pick up and play.
- This has some of the best role playing, with entire servers where everyone is dedicated to it. If you are interested in roleplaying in medieval times this is a great choice.
What I Didn’t Like:
- Reign Of Kings is the glitchiest game here. It definitely feels like it is the earliest in its development, and to be fair it did only come out a few months ago. If you’re looking for a game that will deliver smoother gameplay I’d recommend holding off on this one for a while, at least until a few things are sorted out.
- Along with having the most glitches it also has the worst graphics. I run all these games at pretty high settings, and this one is the worst looking. I’m assuming that they will improve as time goes on, but for now all we can do is wait.
- The expected release date of the end of 2015 seems really unrealistic. I’m actually hoping that it doesn’t happen, because this game doesn’t feel anywhere near ready to be released in full, especially at the rate that the updates are coming in at right now.
Ark: Survival Evolved
Ark: Survival Evolved is the newest game in this article. But even though it has been out on the market for the least amount of time, it feels like it has had the most work put into it. The basic premise is that you are placed on an island overrun by dinosaurs, and like the other games you have to survive.
Early Access Release Date: June 2, 2015
Planned Full Release Date: June 2016
Developer: Studio Wildcard, Instinct Games, Efecto Studios, Virtual Basement
What I Liked:
- First of all, as I mentioned above this feels like the game that has the most work put into it. Along with loads of content, it is also the best running and best looking, assuming your PC can handle it.
- There is a great leveling system. You start only knowing how to craft the bare essentials, but the more you play the more you learn how to craft, eventually learning enough to have the potential to build your own palace guarded by dinosaurs. As a bonus, this progress saves when your character dies.
- One of the best things about this game is the most obvious of all, dinosaurs. Out of all the games we’re comparing, none have this unique of an enemy. They range from harmless little creatures crawling at your feet to a gigantic T-rex. Obviously, these aren’t as easy to kill as zombies, so they provide a little more of a challenge as well as just looking cool.
What I Didn’t Like:
- First and foremost, the above mentioned leveling system doesn’t transfer from server to server. That means if you ever decide you’re done with your current server you have to completely restart learning new skills. This can get really frustrating, especially when you put enough time into one server and for some reason you have to switch.
- Similar to the above, I felt like Ark has the most “grinding” when your character dies. Unlike others where you can find valuable resources lying around, you have to craft anything much more than sticks and stones. So even though you still have the ability to craft everything, you have to gather the resources first.
- Ark has some pretty long loading times. It usually takes around five minutes to join a server.
- Ark: Survival Evolved – Ark provides the best running, best looking game here. Combine that with some really fun gameplay and you have the number one game on this list.
- DayZ – This may not be an amazing game, but as a zombie fan I really love it. There will be people that don’t agree, but everyone’s going to have a problem with something.
- Rust – Surviving only against others and the environment is a good idea, but the problems that it is still facing after two years is really unfortunate.
- Reign of Kings – An interesting premise, but is ruined by all of the technical issues.