by Johnathan Irwin
reviewed on PC
To The Point
I'm going to be very blunt about this; Nether is a bit of a train wreck. You will find yourself having fun one moment and being terribly frustrated the next. My time with Nether was an experience I'll not soon forget, but Phosphor Games has quite a mountain to climb before the game can reach its peak. It's not without hope in the slightest, but the indie dev has their work cut out for them patching up the game now that it has been released.
Remains Of A World Long Gone
In a few short moments, the Earth we knew was gone. Years later, it is up to the player to take on the role of a survivor in the city of Burnham, a sprawling urban decay that serves as a symbol to a time before. As I created my character and stepped into this world, I found myself spawning in the downtown area of Burnham and gazed to the sky as the sun peeked through a dense morning fog. The shadows of the buildings, the light flickering through the overgrowth, the ambiance of slow winds and the cawing of a distant crow... I found myself truly in awe.
My first goal was to make it to the safe zone, to deliver a package I had as part of a tutorial quest. I made my way forward, looking around through the abandoned structures for any supplies that could aid my journey. Many interiors were bare, while many were furnished with old furniture, which peaked my curiosity as if it were an intentional design choice as a way to show how some buildings were stripped completely bare, or the product of furnishing a little here and there through development. I pressed on and found a few meager supplies... then, I made first contact with another player.
A rather tense few moments followed as the mystery player and myself presumably were trying to avoid each other. I kept my eye on him until I could make it to higher ground, taking a staircase up to an abandoned elevated train station. I started running away, only to start taking fire as the person gave pursuit. I met my first death as I made the fatal mistake of looking back behind me. These are moments that really get your blood pumping, bad sadly even on servers nearing the 64 player limit they feel few and far between.
A Beautiful Decay
In my four days with Nether, most of my time was spent exploring and looting. At the moment, it would appear only a third of the map is open. To be fair that third is a massive portion. There is a portion of Burnham itself, with the northern and southern islands currently unavailable and to the west you have what is simply called The Wasteland; a flooded marshland where few buildings remain, and most of which that do are mostly flooded and lacking loot. If you find yourself in the Wasteland, don't bother exploring much at all and just head straight for Burnham where most of the players and AI enemies called Nether (for which the game is named after) dwell.
Where the game shines, where it excels, and what honestly kept me coming back praying that I would find more things redeemable, is Burnham itself. This dead city is absolute eye candy, with lush overgrowth spreading up through the streets, lines of cars left abandoned, skeletons and dried blood everywhere. You can feel the desperation of the final moments of the majority of mankind as you walk these streets. At one point, I found myself scaling a skyscraper to look out over the city, and the view was absolutely breath taking. Burnham itself, shows that the development team is capable of making an enthralling environment, but perhaps resources have been stretched too thin, as almost everything else is currently either plain and uninteresting or even worse; broken.
Beautiful take on a post apocalyptic urban environment
Technical failures, glitches, bland gameplay