Grounded is the survival that takes us back to the 80s | Review

Grounded is the survival that takes us back to the 80s | Review

It was 2019 and Grounded was announced during X019 in a rather marked general skepticism and after all also justified, also because ... let's be honest, who would like yet another survival, especially developed by a centric RPG team like Obsidian? Since that day, things have drastically changed, and the small team (just over 15 people) has worked hard to constantly update the game, introducing new mechanics, enemies, stories and technical characteristics, arriving at the result of the expected version. complete which I am here ready to tell you about.

Grounded itself is already a success without even being released in its final form: more than 10 million players, numerous community activities and strong support. Really important results for a product that, you think, didn't even have to exist, saved in extremis by post-acquisition Xbox and the son of a free and barrier-free artistic vision.

Believing in a project like this was not for everyone , but I'm glad Phil Spencer decided to get it back; Grounded is certainly not a masterpiece or one of the best survival ever, but it has its own soul, managing to tell a simple but effective story, immersing the player in an original context strongly inspired by the 80s.

Grounded, or rather, “Honey, I shrunk the boys” in videogame sauce

In this funny film some boys (including the children of Dr. Wayne Szalinki, played by Moranis) suddenly find themselves shrunken due to a crazy invention, starting to survive in a garden transformed in their eyes like a real jungle, with giant insects and the danger of humans.

history, for about ten hours, is set to be simple and a pretext for the entire survival component, Obsidian's great talent in writing dialogues and collectible documents is clearly felt, with quotes, jokes and messages that compose a very pleasant picture.

Surviving in the grass

Grounded allows you to choose between different character skins, female and male, which can also be subsequently interchanged. You can choose the name of your garden and customize the game in different ways, from the HUD (with specific HUDs that can be found right inside the game) to truly vast accessibility settings, ranging from helping those who suffer from Color blindness up to those suffering from arachnophobia.

And here it becomes essential to find clean water, eat in the healthiest way possible and above all to create a refuge that can quickly become a base for organizing, protecting and above all remarrying one adventure and another, also wanting in the company of three other friends in co-op mode.

What makes it different from other survival is the whole progression structure: in the garden it is possible to find shelters built by Doctor Wendell that have resource analyzers, which allow (as the name suggests) to analyze everything we find and produce, allowing us to unlock new objects and above all improve experience in order to increase "brain power" and obtain new creation recipes.

The analyzers allow only three analysis at a time, after which they require a recharge time of a few hours to be used again, but they are essential for growth and to obtain more performing equipment. In addition to this, each analysis allows to obtain "Pure Science", a virtual currency (also obtainable in other ways, including some floating purple spheres that can be collected) that can be exploited in some terminals called "Science chip shops" to unlock more items.

All this comes to the rescue to build our base, composed mainly of leaves and rocks, but also to improve our weapons and armor, essential to face the fearsome insects and spiders that populate the garden. From this point of view the variety is not lacking: among mosquitoes, larvae, bedbugs, spiders, ants and defensive mini-robots, the amount of enemies is quite high. By the way, I suggest you not to upset the ladybugs, as they are not as tame as in reality.

I must however point out that the general difficulty of the game is not low (although it can still be set), and especially during the first hours a good dose of patience is required, since the need to drink, eat and survive is not so simple when you are surrounded by all kinds of "monstrosities". As in any self-respecting survival, the more you go on in the story and unlock new opportunities, the more the game becomes more satisfying, until it becomes a real "addiction".

Obsidian has also worked well to enrich the game world with really well-branched dens, secrets and mini-labs dungeons, testifying to a well-thought-out and not frustrating level design. In short, in general the game model seems to work particularly well, were it not for the combat system, perhaps a little too woody, where in some situations (when it is surrounded by dozens of enemies at the same time) it has me a little annoyed. In this case, however, I highly recommend playing it in third person (you can choose between first and third), since you have a 360 degree view of what is happening around, avoiding finding enemies behind you without realizing it.

The Garden of Eden

I played the title for a long time on both mid-high-end PC and Xbox Series X (you can buy the console on Amazon, although it is not available today), as a result I was able to approach the game with high performance, not encountering particular technical problems, apart from some minor bugs and glitches in which insects and spiders got stuck on trees. Grounded maintains 60 FPS without any kind of uncertainty on Microsoft's top-of-the-range console, while on PC it is possible to freely unlock the framerate without limitations.

The style used by Obsidian is oriented towards a very cartoon art-style , in my view it is perfectly consistent with what the game actually wants to tell; after all, it is inspired by a popular film from the late 1980s, so I think the idea of ​​making it visually light was a correct and well developed choice. The garden where the game is set is not only quite large, but it offers not just goodies: it is in fact possible to find giant cans, sculptures, abandoned toys and much more. It is certainly not the best technical / graphic product on the market, but it lets itself be looked at and often even manages to amaze, especially during the day, when the light filters through the blades of grass, managing to give truly appreciable visual moments.

Despite the day-night cycle being present, it's a bit of a shame that the developers didn't think / develop variable weather conditions, no rain is present (which could have helped also from the point of view of mechanics, just think of the possibility of recovering rainwater) and not even fog or wind. In any case, the game is constantly evolving and it is not certain that they cannot be introduced later, perhaps with a dedicated expansion.

Surprising is the soundtrack, designed with electronic soundtracks that recall the sensations. of the classic 80s movies and that accompany you during the adventure in a light way. There is no dubbing in Italian, but the title is completely translated into our language.

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