Persistence pays off.
What floundered on release as yet another asymmetrical multiplayer excursion has been reborn as a game that has some serious competitive potential.
The premise, at first glance, is very similar to Behavior Interactive’s Dead by Daylight – a group of players competes against one. Deathgarden opts for one additional slot in the group of players, pushing it to 5 v 1 over Dead by Daylight’s 4 v 1.
While the change might not seem that drastic on paper, in practice it can be incredibly significant.
Where Dead by Daylight saw survivors escaping the menacing patrols of a lethal killer with no way of truly fighting back, Deathgarden: Bloodharvest gives the wily Scavengers more ways than one to evade the clutches of the lone Hunter.
Each Scavenger has their a “role” to play within the makeup of the group, and a combo of competent Scavengers will be essential for survival in the arena.
The titular Deathgarden is a simulated gladiatorial arena that serves as both a punishment for those that would disobey the wishes of The Enclave – the societal elite – and as a means for those who wish to elevate themselves out of the slums and into paradise.
The road to paradise, as fate would have it, is uncompromisingly brutal. The relaunch brought not only more balance and polish to the game; it also brought a considerably darker interpretation on the nature of the Deathgarden.
Collecting blood, as you would have it, feels appropriately gruesome as you siphon blood from “body piles” that are little more than a small spike-laden tower covered with the corpses of Scavengers that came before you. And that’s not even mentioning the sound cues that play should one of your fellow Scavs meet an untimely end at a Hunter’s execution.
There are few things that curdle the blood worse than the pricing shrieks of your comrades echoing through the forest.
Despite its improvements, Deathgarden: Bloodharvest still feels like the early access game that it is.
Matchmaking can often take longer than is optimal, and lobby making issues still abound. The core gameplay is present in a way that it simply wasn’t in the earlier iteration of the game.
Although hitches along the road are never welcome, we’re thankful that this time around there’s a road.
The addition of a proper progression system gives players far more to plan around and acquire as they find themselves reaching the end of each match: either dead or alive.
Perks can be unlocked and levelled up, and there is even a “prestige” option a la Call of Duty that ensures the progress can be reset for additional rewards, cosmetics, and other e-peen related flairs.
With enough time, Deathgarden: Bloodharvest could become quite the powerhouse for Behavior Interactive.
They’ve already shown they’re capable of creating niche games that can not only stand out against the pack, but also offer something truly unique and innovative: with Deathgarden: Bloodharvest, they may have the perfect vehicle to do just that.