I am not affiliated with any company, website, organization or similar behind the items in this post.
I found the game Satisfactory through my Steam recommendation queue, thought it was worth trying and ended up playing it for a week.
This post contains my personal thoughts and impressions. Just a human with some thoughts to share that are raw, uncut and outside influence free.
Those that know me know I don't play video games much anymore. I don't have a lot of free time and getting sucked into a great game isn't something I can afford most days. Worse is when I have so much fun I can't stop until the game is finished.
Fortunately open world games don't really have an 'end point' so much as a 'bored point'. These games are also a ton of fun and with mods a lot of the tedium goes away making the games got a bit faster for the casual gamer like myself.
To be honest the early stages of the open world games I like the most tend to draw me in a little too deep but it usually wanes fairly quick. After going through Ark and Subnautica to my personal limit I've kept an eye out for similar games.
My Steam library popped some recommendations recently and true to form none looked all that interesting with one exception: Satisfactory. The algorithm popped it because I spent a good amount of time in Subnautica.
Satisfactory, The Review
I took a look at Satisfactory closer due to the clear similarities between it and Subnautica in the details page. It's flagged as Early Access but that has never deterred me from playing a game. At least they admit it's not complete and to expect bugs and missing elements.
After digging in I can say the game, even in a non finished state, is great. They made a game with good balance of resource management, combat, progression and more. Resource management is a massive pain point for me and if given the option I usually speed up the process. Ark was one of the ones I greatly sped up to avoid resource grinding. The defaults in Ark are way too low and tedious for my tastes. Subnautica I liked a lot more than Ark on this count. Subnautica definitely was not a grinding game in my experience which was nice. Satisfactory is a bit of a middle ground between the two. As you progress you'll likely find key resources are needed more than others yet you really do need some of everything as you work through the game. It's well balanced enough I didn't even think to adjust output rates even as I progressed through the various tiers used to define progress.
It probably helps the core focus of the game is building a factory and handling logistics inside an open map. The devs did a great job on this front. You can easily and creatively rework areas of your base as you progress. Despite the obvious focus on automation they still leave enough wiggle room for less automated builds. If you automate some of the base resource creation and processing you can create a workshop area for more complex builds that you can use to bootstrap deeper automation of your base as new, more complex items become available. This has a nice benefit of helping get upgrades of equipment, supplies and more under way ahead of any major needs that may present themselves.
The game doesn't screw about with combat either. It's well balanced and not a massive pain like other open world games I've played. There are some glitches I ran into but nothing terrible. Notably my weapon didn't fire a few times but did eventually fire once I left a heavily treed/leafed area. I think the game got mildly confused given how many use actions were possible relative to the enemy attacking me. Luring the enemy out into a more open area fixed the problem.
I also ran into hiccups while driving vehicles. I set look inversion but in vehicles it is not applied which is a problem. I also found the controls sluggish and ended up walking/running across the map more than using a vehicle. I assume they will be working on this some but we will see. The core use of vehicles in the game is focused on logistics presently so it's less of an issue once you set the trucks on auto mode.
While I was playing the game I noticed they haven't setup a creative mode [yet]. I ended up doing some digging online and discovered there is a vibrant mod community already. [Editors note : there is no official mod system yet] I setup a number of mods and it's definitely a smoother experience and right in line with what I want in a creative mode. It also is great for exploring the map more freely and facilitates tinkering with base designs and finding out which resources are most important at each tier. A link below heads to a great resource for mods.
Overall I'm quite impressed by this game. It's well balanced, thought out and a lot of fun. There are missing parts like a dedicated server and official mod engine. These missing pieces/parts didn't detract from the game for me but it's something to keep in mind.
If you're interested in open world games definitely give this one a look. More so if you've ever wanted something that could be described as a blend of Ark and Subnautica.
And yes, this post left out a lot of game detail and focused on the higher level, casual gamer thoughts. I'll leave you to discover the finer aspects of this game.