The Cycle: Frontier is a free-to-play PvPvE first-person shooter that, graphically speaking, reminds me of No Man’s Sky and Outer Wilds. I have a couple of hours of gameplay and I’m happy to say that it feels solid even with the few bugs I ran into.
The Cycle: Frontier introduces players to the planet Fortuna III, where mysterious alien creatures roam free and old research facilities remain abandoned. Players enter the planet as Prospectors – adventurers in search of resources and valuable loot while battling hostile elements and creatures. However, you are not the only prosecutor around town. Other players will come to this planet to gather resources just like you are after, and while some may be friendly, others will want to hunt you down for loot. The Cycle: Frontier takes me back to the days of DayZ worrying about the PvE and survival factors while also being wary of the players I would encounter. Anyone can turn you on at any time while being chased by hostile alien monsters on the planet.
You can join the game alone or with a team of up to three players. You start with the basic loading options and you must equip them individually in your inventory. Each time you embark on an excursion, you’ll have to decide if you want to buy any of the gear you’re about to set out. If you die on Fortuna III, you will lose everything you have equipped and have in your inventory unless your items are insured. Thankfully, you also have five Safe Bag slots in your inventory, allowing you to keep those five items even if you die. Although this mechanic seemed to enjoy punishment, I did not find it resentful. It gave me more reason to be cautious about the looting I did and the interactions with the players I decided to participate in. The Cycle: Frontier balances risk and reward really well, as it’s really up to you if you decide to go head-to-head with that massive alien if you decide to step into a high-risk area.
Once you’ve finished searching for resources, you can head to the Mining point to call for an evacuation ship. There is a slight delay in calling the train, waiting for it to dock, then waiting for it to close and leave, so you have to be aware of nearby players who may try to jump on you to steal your loot and take away. get off your ship. Successful mining rewards you with XP and all the resources you pick up on your adventure, which you can then use to craft or sell for currency. This mining mechanic reminds me of games like Escape from Tarkov, Battlefield 2042 Danger Zone, and Scavenger. It works really well here as it just adds to the risk and reward factor that The Cycle focuses on. Everything you do needs to be taken quite seriously as it is quite easy to lose a lot of resources in a fight against creatures or players. While you have a safety net and insurance, you can’t save on everything.
When you come back from an adventure, you’re back in a cute cyberpunk downtown area called Prospect Station, which is teeming with people and vendors. You can also get quests here for three different factions: Independent Civilian Consultative Organization (ICA), Korolev Heavy Industry (Korolev) and Osiris. Once completed, these quests will raise your rank in each faction, which will then give you the ability to purchase special weapons and equipment from the faction’s vendors. Each faction has its own campaign that you can complete, and it mirrors a lot of the MMO-style missions with different contracts you can take. These contracts are often quests that require you to descend into Fortuna III to gather resources, find supplies, or bring back organic specimens for research.
There are currently two maps in closed beta: Bright Sands and Crescent Falls. The former is a smaller map, although that doesn’t mean it’s a minimap by any standard. Crescent Falls is much larger and is meant to include more players in a single server, and it also has enemies Crushers, which are the hardest mobs to deal with right now. There can be up to 215 players on Bright Sands and 26 players on Crescent Falls. The servers are constantly being reimagined and will reset every six hours, so you may stumble across areas that have been looted and mined in the footsteps of other players. So the servers are not match based but run continuously, like the MMO servers. This allows for no matchmaking time and the fun game twists as you find which areas are already occupied and which are free.
What’s really impressive is that no excursion down to Fortuna III feels the same. It sounds like a repetitive quest to travel to the planet for food and loot but you never know what you’ll find on the surface. There are some events in the game that just happen spontaneously. A storm could pass, which means you’ll need to seek shelter or tamper with the elements, or meteors could fall to the planet’s surface to provide you with precious materials when mining. waterfall. There are also mini puzzles that exist all over the map in different locations where you have to power generators for various abandoned fortresses, which will open locked rooms to loot good maps and unlock links that allow you to extract data. The mini puzzles will make a lot of noise once activated and will alert the player to your presence in that location, so again, this is one of those scenarios with rewards high risk that The Cycle likes to practice.
During my few hours of practice with The Cycle, I found myself wanting to return for another Fortuna III adventure, as the rewards of successful appearances make you feel unstoppable – albeit conversely, when you lose all items and rewards from the failed extraction, it just makes you go back and try again. It’s a fun co-op game that I can’t wait to try with my friends.
In the end, the world looks gorgeous, even during and after a storm passes. Fortuna III has a great mix of abandoned facilities and camp structures that are slowly being taken over by the planet’s wildlife. The graphics and world here are beautiful, and the optimizations seem to be fairly balanced with no performance stutters except for minor sync errors in the main hub area. The sound design with real guns is pleasing to the listener, especially with the shard-based sub-machine guns, which sound like you’re shooting glass shards out of the barrel. The world of The Cycle: Frontier is fascinating and I can’t wait to go back to the closed beta to explore more.
Stella is a Video Producer, Host and Editor at IGN. Her gameplay focuses on competitive FPS games and she has previously reviewed Apex Legends, Hyper Scape, Halo Infinite Multiplayer and Battlefield 2042. You can follow her on Twitter. @ParallaxStella.
https://www.ign.com/articles/the-cycle-frontier-first-preview Cycle: Frontier could become the next big PvPvE thing