Watch some pirate base infiltration from Underrail’s upcoming expansion

Underrail: Expedition

Post-apocalyptic RPG Underrail‘s [official site] big expansion, called Expedition, is not quite ready yet, but it’s getting there. It was due to come out in the first half of this year but ended up delayed. Developers Stygian Software said in an update this week that they are still “working hard on getting all the content for the expansion done” and, to prove it, offer a new gameplay video featuring 9 minutes of action.

Now, I’ve never played the base game, but this video alone is enough to pique my interest. The writing is rich, the ruins you’re exploring are creepy, and the combat looks like it’s trying to inject some new ideas into the genre.

The “bulk of the main quest” – which will pull the player down from the game’s metroworld into an underground sea complete with jet skis, pirates, and lots of new items – is apparently finished, Stygian said this week. Still no firm word on when it will launch.

Back in May, Sin wrote that it aimed for the heights of the original Fallout, but ended up falling a way short. Here’s what Sin said:

“There are people who enjoy Underrail, and I honestly envy them. I can’t call them wrong, because I can see the germ of something great in it. It’s as close as anything has come to recreating that world we lost to a sea of ironic trilbies and Pipboy bobbleheads, and it clearly aimed to innovate rather than merely imitate. But while its tone and aesthetic goes beyond the shallow iconography of Bethesda’s sequels, it gives me too few reasons to follow, and too many to stay inside the Vault.”

Hopefully the expansion will give players more of a reason to stick around, then.

If you’ve been tracking the game then it’s worth watching the video and having a look at how the expansion has turned out. For more details on everything that’s new in Expedition, the game’s dev log is a good resource. There’s some cool jet ski gifs there, too, which is always a bonus.

7 Comments

  1. SBLux says:

    This is a great game for any old school hardcore RPG fan. It has also reminded me I am 35 hours into my playthrough of the main game and should get back to it before it is added to the towering structure that is my partly completed Steam backlog.

  2. Raoul Duke says:

    Finally, a good Waterworld game.

  3. poliovaccine says:

    Having tried a fair bit of Underrail by now, I can say that, while I absolutely agree with Sin’s assessment in that piece, I wind up enjoying it a whole lot more than s/he* did anyway. *(Apologies, I just forget which.)

    It absolutely is all the various forms of fiddly and unfair Sin describes, but I feel like I was advantaged a lot by reading both that account and others like it before I got as far as their authors did. Which doesnt necessarily speak well of the game’s communication to the player, but it does definitely remind me of Fallout 2, where it was also entirely possible to create a character build that simply wasnt viable, and to find that out the hard way all too far into the game. And to be fair, I do sometimes miss those days when things werent so obvious, and when, if you didnt either shell out for the PRIMA guide or else wait for a fanmade walkthrough to appear on cheatcc.com, you had to damn well trial and error your way around. I mean, being perfectly fair, that fidelity to old-school design seems to be a huge part of the point of Underrail, and it makes the most sense to me when I’m actually in the mood for something like that. I do anticipate that appeal will pretty much die out with my generation, though, cus there’s nothing really rational or communicable about it, it’s purely nostalgia and needlessly hard-won catharsis out of victory against things like the UI and the Myst-like puzzle game of learning the various crafting systems.

    Also, if you’re an inventory-addict, boy does this one have some compulsive-ass little hooks to get into you! I love the variety of inter/actions – not just melee, shooting, explosive or psi fighting, which is already a fair deal of options/weapons/buff items to pursue, but there’s also unique quirks to different animals, there’s catching and taming animals, there’s making things from their materials, but also a metric dick-ton of other crafting besides that, and in obsessive levels of detail, which makes crafting each individual item a palpable accomplishment, something no amount of added-recipe mods can do for the hollow-feeling crafting in my beloved New Vegas. Actually making a gun involves so many little steps that it really feels like the project it would actually be – on paper it’s the same as the crafting system in New Vegas or any other game like that, get the items you need in your inventory and press the craft button, but it’s the sheer amount of detail and therefore attention and time to those items you need that makes it all feel unique… as well as finicky. Like, you dont just get “2 scrap metal, 1 camera, 1 whet stone” and bash em together to produce a weapon mod… every piece you acquire, it makes sense how it would fit into the final design. You can envision how they go together logically, and infer as much when you find the items for sale or wherever. A gun needs a frame. An SMG needs an SMG frame. That kinda stuff is finicky, but also makes sense, and when that’s the mood you’re in, there’s plenty to occupy you here.

    It’s a slow game and a brutally difficult one. And coming straight off Fallout 3 or NV, it feels artificially dated and plays like molasses. But coming from Fallout 2, it feels right at home. It doesnt feel like Fallout 2, but it feels like it belongs to the same heredity, with just enough different to be interesting – like when you first date a girl and then date her best friend. It’s not quite her sister, but there’s still enough in common to be an ever-present reminder… for better or worse. In some cases, that may just make you think, “Well then if that’s what I want, why dont I just go back to dating Fallout 2?” Euh, in so many words.

    But the answer there is that you’ve already been through it with Fallout 2, and life has to keep moving on. And Underrail doesnt have quite such a sense of humor, but she’s intelligent and challenging… also, she’s rigidly attendant to her own standards, allegiant to herself most of all, and there’s something very attractive about that in its own right…

    • bob22 says:

      “I wind up enjoying it a whole lot more than s/he* did anyway. *(Apologies, I just forget which.)”

      Some advice for the future to help avoid such situations: if the gender isn’t relevent (and it sure isn’t here) then you can simply use the word ‘they’.

      I find it puzzling how even well meaning folk struggle to handle gender in sentences where it’s utterly irrelivent.

      • poliovaccine says:

        I mean, I’m fully aware of that, but I considered that, in a case where I’m referring to their own specific piece/points and speaking about them somewhat directly, it *would* actually matter what their gender was in addressing them. Using “they” seemed like a disingenuous way of skipping the fact that I forgot, but I regularly see Sin Vega’s name in the comments and consider “them” a particular person who might appreciate if I cared who they actually were, same way as you dont necessarily expect it, but appreciate it in real life when someone remembers and uses your name. I could have skirted by with “they,” but I actually considered that it was more polite to find out instead of ignore it. Not for gender normative reasons, but out of standards of any conversation. In any case, I hardly think asking was some kind of neo-conservative gaffe.

    • Sin Vega says:

      I am oddly glad to hear this. I took no joy from writing a largely negative review, and I respect what Underrail was trying to do. Some of its problems (and I think even its fans will admit that it had some) could well be addressed by an expansion and I genuinely wish the devs all the best with it. Aside from anything else, taking an underground cave/tunnel crawling thing and making an add-on focused on jetskis is imaginative and novel.

      Incidentally, I am unbothered about pronouns for myself, but appreciate the thought. “They” is fine, but if you pick something else I’m unlikely to be offended, it’s almost never malicious and when it is it’s mostly just sad anyway.

      • poliovaccine says:

        See, negative though your experience may have been, the review was balanced and functional enough that I was able to accurately say, “Well, I totally get that, but me, I think that’s actually what I’m in the mood for right now.” Besides, it absolutely came through that you *wanted* to like it, and were coming from someplace similar enough to myself that I’d at least want to like it in the same way. I just figured I wouldnt feel guilty looking up tips on the internet to get past its artificially old-school design, same as I dont feel guilty saving time that way on genuinely old-school titles – because I dont have any more time to do that long legwork for Fallout 2 than for Underrail (tried FO2 twice and created doomed builds both times, finally looked up a build guide to break into one of the best RPGs ever made, and only had to play the beginning thrice).

        So in a way it’s a copout, but no more of a copout than I allow its old school inspirants. And like I say, I do sort of enjoy being reminded of the old, obtuse days. Though like you say, it certainly does have faults, and those absolutely could be evened out with an expansion. Frankly, there’s still so much to the game I havent seen that I’m in no big rush to acquire it just for new locations (and being someone who grew up watching unspoiled tropical beaches slowly become spoiled/empty of wildlife, I kinda hate everything about jet skis), but if it balances mechanics or has a significantly long list of desirable tweaks to improve the base game, that alone might be enough to interest me.

        In any case, your review was a great example of a negative review done right. As in, one which can be useful to anyone, whether they share your precise experience or not. Besides, I can easily see myself being frustrated by some of the same things I tend to forgive about Underrail… I just have the luxury of not reviewing games for any site or blog, so I can let things sit forever/til I’m in the right mood. I think if I felt obligated to keep slugging at it, it would certainly feel like a brick wall. But some days I just want to pick at a brick wall with a nail file and tunnel out slowly over a matter of years. That’s when I play Underrail.

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