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24 Jan 2022

REVIEW: Sheltered 2 on PC (Steam)

Review by Jon Donnis
Sheltered 2 is set 20 years after an apocalyptic event happened on Earth, wiping out most of the human race, what remains are splintered factions, all vying for their own land and resources.

At first look the game will remind you of Fallout Shelter, and although there are similarities, Sheltered 2 is quite different and much more of a hardcore survival game.

Your job is to run your shelter, grow your faction, all the while managing your resources, crafting items, exploring outside of your shelter, and generally trying to keep everyone alive.

Now do not be mistaken, this is not an easy game, even on the easiest setting, the game is tough, it is probably a bit too tough, and the tutorial is about as much help as a Donor Kebab in a Vegan festival. With that said, each time you play, you do learn, and there is a lot to be said for just starting the game again, using what you have learnt, to help you make better decisions.

Most of the gameplay will take place in your shelter, you need to keep an eye on your group, make sure everyone is happy and healthy, you will need to craft things like a toilet, a shower, beds, as well as expand downwards to make room for more things.

When you are not in your shelter, you will need to keep an eye above land, set traps to catch rabbits, keep things powered, clean and working, plant seeds to grow food and so on. And when you are ready you will need to leave the area altogether and explore. You already control a small region, which is safe to explore on its own, gather more resources as well as grow the levels of experience of your group. But eventually you will want to explore outside of your region, and that is when you will come across other factions.

The faction's system, is the main pull of this game, you will need to trade with other groups, forge relationships, and sometimes fight them, everything is a balancing act, choose who to fight and who to trade with and who to run away from. You will even complete quests, which become a big part of the game if you want your shelter to grow.

The fights are all turn based, you can choose where to hit an opponent, what weapon or skill to use, and if you choose correctly, you will kill them, and then you can take everything they have.

As you play, your characters levels will grow, you will get new skills and so on.

Further into the game you will even find vehicles which you can fix up, to help you explore faster and easier.

The Good
This is a challenging survival game that fans of the genre should enjoy, the graphics are decent, and once you get the general idea of how to play, everything is pretty straight forward.

The Bad
The game is way too tough. When travelling around the map, interactions tend to have three options, Trade, Fight or Flee, and this can become a bit repetitive, and if you come across a rival faction, it is just fight or flee. A couple of lines of dialog and that's it.

The whole crafting system is overly complicated, meaning a lot of back and forth, whether it is trying to see what ingredients you need to craft, then trying to figure out what you need to recycle, and so on, you will be left stuck pretty quick, forcing you to explore outside the shelter, which is fine, but this seems to happen way too quickly, not giving a new player chance to feel settled. There are way too many things to worry about in the Shelter, leaving a new player feeling overwhelmed.

Bugs are being fixed pretty quick by Team 17, but this plays like an Alpha release and not the finished article.

There is a good game in here, but it takes time to find it, and restarting once you figure certain things out will help you, but the game still struggles to really grab you. There needs to be a simplified mode, and a tutorial that really explains things. 

With all my complaints, I just feel that there is a great game here, but it is stuck in some kind of hole, that the developers don't have the time to get it out of.

I will keep an eye out for updates, and maybe they can improve things moving forward.

As the game stands right now, I score it 6/10

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