Cataclysm : Dark Days Ahead, a game i discovered during some random youtube surfing and found a channel reviewing this game (in a funny way…), at first i thought this game looks like one of those ASCII rogue-like games on the internet, and its about crawling inside endless dungeon searching for loot (which i already have, some of them is hard AF) but after some good research on this game and found the official website of Cataclysm:Dark Days Ahead, i instantly love this game after seeing and knowing that this game has “graphical edition” A.K.A Tiles edition, i love it more when i saw the feature of this game, Survival Rogue-like randomly generated sandbox game with lots of mod, items, and monster types. i never press a download button so fast for a rogue-like game, considering fact that i have bad skill and easily die on first try. but that’s not the case for this game?
at first play, i was confused with the controls and mechanics in the game, because the fact that every interaction is on the keyboard and some of them requires pressing Shift button to work. but then slowly but sure im getting used to it and love it because its all full-keyboard mode, no mouse needed and no difficulties. then i start playing the game using my first character (Random Character one) and meet some difficulties along the way like swarm of zombies, lots of item that i haven’t know its useful or not, and materials needed to craft some items which at that time i don’t know how and where to get it. until at one moment i decided to consume a toilet water and few minutes later my character is killed by an unknown cause, i check the log and turns out im badly poisoned by the toilet water, since then my gameplay keep improving and keep discovering something new like ability to change active mods in world creation, setting how the world works, ability to freely maxing out my character stats and traits and of course, items and crafting function.
for a week straight im playing this game, and im absolutely love it. due to the fact that so many items exist in the game and so many crafting recipes available to you makes the game feels like a huge open world sandbox game, and in my experience this game is the most balanced game i’ve ever played, why? well no matter how overpowered my character is, the game keeps giving me a fair and great challenge to conquer and even though my stat is fully maxed, im still be able to be in a situation where i have to choose to run or die by the monster, that one time where i was too confident with my OP character to fight Triffid monster makes me believe that no matter how powerful your character is, you still dead if you’re not taking any precaution or preparation.
so many challenges available at this game and some of them requires extra precaution and preparation because the enemy is truly a hellish monster, that one time i saw a monster, a huge one, capable of shooting an electric arc to me, i was carrying a pistol and it took 12 hits to finish it off, leaving me with decent damage.
the graphic is also really good, it has that RPG esque feel to it, and looks clean and smooth. no jagged edge, no blurry texture and overlapping texture… but sometimes i encounter some of the texture is replaced by an alphabet like Y, Z, and some are F tiles hanging around. at some point some tiles turn into a badge with words “No Tile” on it when being on shadow. but all of that is not something to be bothered, for the fact it is still working and represent items or tile that can be interacted (the alphabet representing the object like Z = Zombies) all in all, the graphic is smooth and satisfying.
the mods are great too, there is some mods available inside the game, not much but its all choked full of content, like Fictional guns and Realistic guns, all the mod inside the game are truly balanced and offer some extra challenge and extra loot to find (hell, i’ve even found my favorite AMR, Barrett M107 with +3 on it) the mod also can be mixed together to create some extra content for the gameplay experience like DLC in games nowadays. but there is some problem that persist within the mod, which is sometimes when the game loads there is a popup error telling me that some weapons are loaded with incompatible ammo (CW-24hack : loaded with incompatible ammo, .308 instead of 708) this of course made me worry that i just broke the game but no, i can ignore this message and move on, but it cause some side effect like random delays and random error message during exploring town (usually near a gun store) and yeah sometimes guns are loaded with weird ammo caliber (anyone ever seen an M4A1 loaded with .50 BMG ammo ?) but nonetheless, its truly fun and awesome.
Last one and the best one, the monsters that exist in the game are not just a regular zombie, there is child zombie that… well when you killed it, it cause massive morale drop to you, turning your character from cheerful one to stressed one in a second (unless your character is psychopath), and then there’s this zombie that spits acid to you that looks like one of those rasta boys smoking weeds, a zombie that puke pink liquid to you that blinds you for 3 second, and some zombies that looks like one of those bois who keep lifting even when gym closed (Hulk Zombies, or Muscle-swelled deadbois) and many more monster to discover, some of them are true nightmare while some of them are just plain harmless one, like squirrel, fish, and cats (yes, cats exist in the game and can be found, but somehow the only way we can interact with them is with our weapon). you can add more monster using the mod available in the game and forum but take caution as these monster can rip your character in one strike, and some of them can trap you in painful acid and electricity. strategy and equipment takes part in here and if you’re that kind of player who loves CQC, you can kill them but it needs some good effort, but for ranged player, ammo is always the precious one so shoot with precision.
Conclusion : with tons of items to find and loot, monsters that keep lurking around and keeping you on edge and thousands of crafting recipe ready to use, its a hell of a game, full of content, full of fun and action, full of what to do and what to get, this game will entertain you to the fullest and entertain more when you play it more and more. with constant development, active community, and mods that increase the game content even more… the game keeps evolving to the point that this should be on par with modern open-world games. my score for this game is 9/10 its a perfect rogue-like game for hardcore and easy-play gamer, and the only flaw part of this game is the bug that never disrupt your gameplay.