Well, what do we have here, you may ask?
What we have here is probably one of the best indie titles I've played this past year. At the time this review is posted it may say that I have little to no hours in this game, but rest assured that I’ve had 40+ hours in this game before it came out on Steam. I got my 40+ hours using Desura, a game distribution platform not too dissimilar from Steam, where this game was published with constant updates. That being said, my 40+ hours came from playing different builds of this game, from the Alpha to the latest build, v1.0.10. And let me be frank here; every reiteration, as in every update, made this game more and more enjoyable in almost every aspect. The developer, Phroot, took the time to add new features along with many important bug fixes with every update. In other words, he knows what to do and how to take care of his game. Now on to what the game is about:
The gameplay of 3089 is set in first-person, as seen through the screenshots. Now you may be thinking, "Oh another FPS??!?" Rest assured that even though the game is set in first person, the gameplay is far from your traditional FPS for many reasons:
1. Non-linear procedurally generated environment.
No two playthroughs are the same. Everything about the environment is different from where enemy bases are spawned to randomly placed towers (in a good way). Bridges, roads, buildings, and bases are randomly placed in the huge sprawling world known as Xax. The only thing constant throughout every playthrough is that you, the player, is always spawned in a friendly base (and even then, the base has randomly placed buildings). Every building, bridge, road, etc is sprawling with life as there are always friendly and enemy robots roaming about, sometimes fighting each other to the death. It's a magnificent sight to see groups of robots fighting it out while you just sit watching. The world is alive; never have I felt that I'm completely alone in this single-player game.
2. Variety of playstyles.
3089 has done a fantastic job of allowing multiple types of playstyles, such as a stealth run to a full run-and-gun experience. The game accomplishes this with skill points, and as you complete quests you can apply those skill points into a variety of different attributes, such as Stealth to avoid easier detection by enemies to Vehicles which allow you to pilot better vehicles. There's even a Leadership ability in which I can recruit a large amount of friendly robots to follow me wherever I go. It is so satisfying seeing my cadre of robots go after a group of enemies for a particular quest. In short, there are so many attributes that can be applied to your unit, and combination of each of these attributes can add to an entirely new playstyle.
The combat of 3089 is familiar to other games, but still satisfying nonetheless. There are a variety of different weapons to choose from, ranging from simple pistols to swords. That's right, swords. Now I haven't used swords a lot since melee combat isn't my thing, but I can testify for the gunplay. The gunplay is solid as there are different weapons to choose from along with the extensive customization (which I'll go into detail soon). There are rifles, launchers, pistols, and energy rifles. Honestly my favorite type is rifles as they just feel so solid and powerful with the right customizations/attachments. The combat of 3089 can be challenging as you have to manage your ammo inventory and your 'Burst', which is how many shots you have before 'reloading.' You have to time your shots and make sure they hit their mark if you want to make it out unscathed. Like I said, the combat is challenging yet super rewarding. Along with the variety of weapons, there are also a large number of enemies, ranging from simple robots to giant spider bots. These spider bots are fudging huge and have powerful weapons!
4. Loot and customization.
This has got to be one of my favorite aspects of this game. Loot is acquired from killing enemies along with 'uncrating' random crates you find along the way. The loot you find is proportional to the level of the environment, so if you kill an enemy in a level 10 environment, you get an item that is level 10 (the level of a certain area is seen when you open up the map. The level is denoted by 'Difficulty', so a difficulty of 10 of an area would house level 10 enemies and level 10 loot. The area you start in is Difficulty 1, so the farther you stray from your starting area, the higher level and more difficult the game is). The loot you find can be anything from parts of weapons to armor pieces. In 3089, you can customize your weapons to a nice degree with these parts. For example, rifle parts include barrels, magazines, bodies, scopes, and silencers. Armor parts include leggings, helmets + visors, and lower torso and chest pieces. All parts of a particular weapon are interchangeable, so you have the ability to make a powerful weapon catered to your liking.
I'll be honest here; when I saw this game for the first time, I was like, "What is this???" But as I went through the screenshots on Desura, it changed my mind. The vast hills in the distance with simple buildings in the foreground from a screenshot got to me. So I gave the game a chance by downloading the demo. In short, I was amazed at the beauty of the world. Vast landscapes on this alien world with large areas full of robotic life. The aesthetics are simple, but does extremely well to show off the world. With every update, the landscape look more 'alive' with more things added to the world, like bridges and ramps and helipads. Before you pass this game off because of the graphics, please reconsider. Download the demo and see how gorgeous this game can be. The screenshots don't do it justice.
The story is quite simple and self-explanatory, so I won't spend much time explaining what it is. What I will explain is how to get the most out of it. To get the most out of what's going on, it is best to read every data text that you come across. You get snippets of the story through these data texts, which can be acquired from completing quests and following objectives. These data texts, which are just a few sentences, explain what the fudge is going on and what you can do to maximize impact on the world.
Possibly one of the best indie games I've played in a while. I find it astounding how this game made by one person with the help of others can provide me with more enjoyment than some AAA games out there. It may sound like I'm exaggerating but it's the truth for me personally. If you love exploration games with lots of freedom with a gorgeous living world, then this is the game for you!