You’re on a train bound for the coast. Your train is warped to another world and attacked by dinosaurs. You crash and wash up on a field surrounded by mysterious prehistoric wildlife. Welcome to Durango Wild Lands.
Durango Wild Lands is Nexon’s latest foray into the survival genre. Developed by What! Studio and released in several locations in late 2018, the game has already received critical acclaim due to its intuitive mechanics and robust survival system. However, how can something that is so played out like the survival-crafting genre possibly bring us something we haven’t yet seen or experienced before? Games like Last Day on Earth do this very well by offering engaging combat, immersive farming and gathering mechanics, and entertaining crafting and base development. So how can Durango topple what others have already achieved?
By doubling down on what was already done, and adding its own unique twist on the survival formula, this game will allegedly offer the whole suite of features that we’ve come to expect, but at a whole other level. In another article, we mentioned how Durango offers the standard survival features, but cranked all the way to 11. In this sense, you can expect the best from this game in every aspect including story, localization, narrative, characters, and visual appeal, among many others. The gameplay mechanics, on the other hand, are also fully fleshed out: A single peek at this game’s crafting system is all it takes to notice how the crafting in other titles is meager and lackluster in comparison.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. This game is very much new still and not available globally just yet. However, after trying it out ourselves, we definitely believe that it’s going to be the next big thing in this genre. If you’re as excited and curious as us about Durango, then read on to get a sneak peek on what you’ll be able to find in this game.
What is it?
Durango Wild Lands is a survival game with crafting and social elements. As we mentioned in another article, it’s already available in certain locations including Canada, Phillipines, Indonesia, and Australia, to name a few.
This title follows the journey of several travelers who are on a train bound for the coast. Each character has a reason for going on their respective journeys, which you can read in their dossiers. This is one of the things that we definitely need to point out: the writing in this game is spectacular, at least when it comes to mobile games. Durango not only has a plot that is compelling and consistent within its own universe, but it’s also well-localized. As a Korean game, it’s almost expected to see some translation errors, but our expectations were pleasantly subverted this time around.
What makes this game good?
After choosing a class, the player is free to wander about the train, walk among the other passengers, and listen to their dialog. During the game’s prologue, the player will have to complete several missions, including interacting with others, fighting enemies, and eating and drinking. Before long, the train suddenly experiences turbulence, and the people come under attack by prehistoric creatures. After battling a raptor, the train crashes, and you end up in the middle of a field, beaten and bruised.
We are greeted by a woman who provides first aid and welcomes us into the land of Durango. Here, the stakes are increased as you’re not only stranded in this mysterious land, but also have to fight, scavenge, and craft for your survival. This is where the game opens up and gets really, really interesting. At this point, you’ll notice that Durango is not a survival game like any other. While it brings to the table features that we’ve seen in other games, they are expanded in this title and offer interactions that are much more complex and significant.
While journeying across the world, you’ll come across numerous flora and fauna that you can interact with by tapping on them. Unlike in other games, the developers here have created a control scheme that feels perfect for mobile devices. There’s no need to execute complicated movements nor struggle with the controls; most of what you do here is performed with a series of taps. Even the combat is a hybrid featuring turn-based and real-time elements, and attacks are executed by clicking on the corresponding skills.
The other large aspect of this game is crafting. Once you’ve collected several materials, you can put them together to create different items. This is standard for the genre. However, Durango’s crafting system is a lot more complex as it features dynamic recipes. In contrast with other games that feature static recipes, which require the exact same items every time, there are multiple ways to create an item in Durango. This is because every material has attributes such as “stick,” “edible,” or “bone,” among others. Instead of requiring specific materials, the recipes require items with certain attributes. So as long as you can fulfill these requirements, you can craft the same items in many different ways.
The combination of its crafting system with its immersive survival mechanics that involve weather, temperature, fatigue, hunger, thirst and many other parameters, make this game unique among others in the genre. Furthermore, it packs all these features and presents them beautifully with an awesome art style, amazing animations, and an overall pleasant aesthetic.
We’ve barely scratched the surface when it comes to talking about Durango, and we’re already hyped to explore some more. Stay tuned to the 15th when the game releases since we’ll be publishing our own set of guides and articles on it.