Hands-on Preview: The Culling (PC)
Have you ever imagined what it would be like to wake up, to find yourself stumbling around in an unfamiliar location, only to find that the place is filled with hostiles armed to the teeth with a slew of deadly weapons? That’s pretty much the premise of The Culling, an online multiplayer game by Xaviant Games that puts you in the shoes of someone unfortunate enough to find themselves that exact situation.
Your character wakes up inside of a shipping container that collapses around you, releasing you from it into a lush tropical climate, littered with abandoned buildings as far as the eye can see. Everything is dead quiet until you hear the voice of what sounds like a game show host, announcing the death of another contestant. It’s at this point you realise that you’re in a literal deathmatch.
Littered around the place are humanoid bones and bloody body parts that you can collect as currency, and use to heal yourself, or to purchase weapons and ammunition. The game features a range of hand-to-hand combat weapons such as tomahawks, machetes, and meat cleavers, as well as some crudely crafted ranged weapons like bows and arrows.
Aside from the weapons you carry around with you, the combat zone houses a series of traps such as poison gas tanks, booby-trapped item crates, and more. Within the first few minutes of my first match, I accidentally set off the poison gas tank nearest to my spawn location – to which I’m fairly sure my character would have let excrement meet their underpants.
The game features your standard deathmatch and team deathmatch online modes, as well as offline bot practice and private gameplay. In addition to the two online modes, the game seems to be able to preference connection to services in a certain region, i.e. Oceania. The provided code came with a “Test Server” version of the game, which suggests to us that custom servers via you’re normal choice of server providers will likely be a thing in the future.
You can also customize your character, albeit the options are somewhat limited in terms of hairstyles, skin colours etc. This doesn’t matter though, as you’re fighting for your life – and your victims will be covered in red, anyway. But as this game is still in early access stages, so we might see more options to customise your murderous meatsack come in a later update.
As the game is developed using the Unreal Engine, you can expect the visuals to be aesthetically pleasing. This wasn’t our main focus when previewing this, but from what we played, there were no complaints. The environment does a good job of making you feel like you’re on a tropical island… fighting for your life.
The Culling is shaping up to be something worth your attention, and could very well be a contender for one of those games you see frequently hosted on Twitch in a competitive fashion, at least that’s what the developer is aiming for, which is good – because I need more things to stream on Twitch.
You can grab The Culling from the store page on Steam.