Preview: Monstrum 2 Is Fun, Tense, and a Little Rough Around the Edges
I absolutely love asymmetrical multiplayer games. Some of my best memories are in Evolve with my friends. Despite some similar monsters, Monstrum 2 isn’t Evolve, nor does it try to be. If anything, it shares more DNA with games like Dead by Daylight where your goal is to hide and complete objectives more so than fight toe-to-toe with the antagonist. Monstrum 2 manages to be a thrilling game, but it will definitely benefit from its development time in Early Access.
Monstrum 2 is a survival horror multiplayer game that pits four prisoners against a genetically modified monstrosity. Your goal as the prisoners is to complete a series of tasks to escape while avoiding the monster. Your goal as the monsters is to stop the prisoners from escaping while picking the prisoners off one-by-one. They’re not completely helpless, but their efforts can only really slow a monster down. All the action takes place on a floating research facility that is procedurally generated.
Playing as the monster is straightforward—you have to kill the prisoners before they escape. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to do that with noisy prisoners, but if you have a group of good players, stealth is definitely viable. Each monster has the ability to detect players in their own way—but environmental clues can be just as handy. Each monster plays radically differently, and some feel more powerful than others—but they’re all viable. The Brute charges and slams, the Bhagra climbs (awkwardly) on ceilings to leap on prisoners from above, and the Malacosm can phase shift through walls and teleport.
Playing as a prisoner isn’t as straightforward as playing as a monster. Objectives are not always clear—and even after playing the tutorial, I felt like there was a little bit of a learning curve before we could be effective versus the monster. Hiding and juking monsters can be accomplished relatively easily, and there are items to help you do this—like fire extinguishers to blind monsters. Collecting items is key to being able to complete some objectives, as they often need to be accessed or repaired only with a specific tool or item. It would be better if prisoners would get more feedback when a monster is near—it would add tension while simultaneously informing prisoners of the immediate danger.
To escape the monster the prisoners have to navigate a procedurally generated sea fortress. Each match will be different, with objectives placed in different locations and one of (currently) two escape routes. While the procedural generation is decent, there definitely needs to be more variety. After only a few hours I felt like I was familiar with the fortress, as each room was familiar—even if it wasn’t in the same location as last time. Still, the sea-based research facility is a great setting, and lends itself to have a good variety of claustrophobic indoor spaces and open outdoor locations where prisoners might be easily spotted by monsters.
Since Monstrum 2 is in Early Access, a few rough edges are to be expected. Animations and movement can feel a little janky now, but the game is playable and even surprisingly fun in this stage of development. With the full release the developers have planned another monster, another escape route, more items, gameplay refinement and general polish.
Monstrum 2 might be a little rough around the edges, but it’s fun, especially with friends. Multiplayer games like these live and die by their community, and unfortunately, Monstrum 2 doesn’t have the strongest playerbase yet, so it may be hard to find consistent games. I’m hoping that once Monstrum 2 gets a little more polish, word of mouth will give this four versus one multiplayer game the attention it deserves. Then again, it faces some entrenched competition with the likes of Dead By Daylight. I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on Monstrum 2 as it works through Early Access.
Monstrum 2 is available now on Early Access via Steam.
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