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Thursday, June 23, 2022

Dread Hunger: From survival hit to big disappointment – how could this happen?

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In Dread Hunger you have to find your way through the Arctic as a ship’s crew. However, the initially successful game is flooded with negative reviews.

What makes survival games so successful and popular? Probably it’s the unpredictability and the thrill of survival. We never know what will happen next, and the danger of failure and usually more or less final death constantly hovers over us.

This is also the case in Dread Hunger, which combines familiar survival mechanics with gameplay we know from Among Us: Our ship crew has to cross the Arctic and survive the dangers of the ice desert, but there are traitors among us.

A few months after Early Access release, the game was very popular on Steam, but in the meantime the mood has tipped. Recent reviews are overwhelmingly negative and both the developers and the community are accused of ruining the game. What this is all about and whether Dread Hunger is still worth a look, we have researched for you.

What is Dread Hunger anyway?

The trailer for Dread Hunger gives you a first taste of the visuals and dark atmosphere of the survival game. As explorers of the 19th century, 8 players steer their ship together through the Canadian Arctic, always on the lookout for icebergs and storms.

In order to move on, however, you will also need to leave the ship and find supplies: Campfires will keep you warm, coal will power the ship and food will be needed to survive. But not only cold and hunger, bears, wolves and cannibals can also be dangerous. And as if all that wasn’t enough, there are also two traitors among you who will sabotage your journey at any cost.

On the one hand,

Dread Hunger relies on teams coordinating well with each other, completing tasks and exposing the traitors. On the other hand, the two villains are supposed to act particularly skilfully in sabotaging the mission: They have to destroy the ship or use weapons, poison, nasty tricks or even black magic to hunt down their comrades – without being caught. We asked a psychologist to explain to us how the necessary mind games can best be achieved!

The game is played in first-person perspective, which adds to the atmosphere of distrust and caution: Why is my teammate standing so conspicuously behind me, am I being followed? On Steam, players also report on the unique situations that such a game creates, for example when they escape the passage at the last minute and as the last survivor. Or when they are betrayed by the person they trusted the most.

What are the problems?

While Dread Hunger started out as a huge Steam success and still ranks 24 on the Steam charts, the mood in the reviews has since tipped: Within the last month, only 38 percent positive reviews were given. There are several reasons for this.

Too few lobbies

Many English-speaking players apparently find it difficult to find lobbies where their language is spoken. The reason for this is apparently the player base, which now seems to consist of a large proportion of Asian, mostly Chinese players. Many of them apparently want to speak Mandarin among themselves and often kick English-speaking players out of their lobbies.

German players also notice the lack of lobbies, although some of them refer to Discord groups where like-minded people can be found.

Conflicts between players

The long search for English lobbies frustrates many of the reviewers. They state that they are provoked by Chinese players or vice versa. Several times they also wish for the option to limit lobbies to one region and thus be able to search specifically for English-speaking players.

In this context, the behaviour of the developers is also repeatedly criticised, who allegedly ignore the wishes of the English-speaking community. A lobby restriction for certain regions is said to have been removed again. Most recently, a (announcement on the Steam page), which was apparently only aimed at Chinese players, caused further displeasure.

Some players also reported Grievers deliberately ruining the game for others, for example by killing team members without being traitors. In addition, some players behave toxically towards beginners because their performance does not meet their expectations.

More criticisms

Some users also criticise the price of the game, which is currently 25 euros, and suggest a cheaper package for several players. Since the quality of the game experience depends heavily on the behaviour of the other players, others advise against playing together with strangers. Instead, they say, it makes most sense to find a group of friends.

Editorial conclusion

Dread Hunger reads really interesting as a concept, opens up an unusual scenario and arguably stages the Arctic and the struggle for survival quite convincingly. In fact, the deadly voyages of discovery seem to be fun for many players even months after release.

However, there are some things that make you think. Prospective players should think carefully about whether they can either find enough friends to play along with, or have fun alone with strangers.

And the way the developers deal with the English-speaking or European community seems to have gone off the rails. Even if the accusations in the reviews are not true, the developers should be aware of them and at least try to be understanding or to refute them.

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