Tobold's Blog
Tuesday, January 30, 2024
Palworld final thoughts - For the moment

After playing over 50 hours of Palworld, I am ready to move on. While trying out the game was great fun, the more you get into it, the more the fact that the game is still early access becomes evident and annoying. That has two major components: Bugs and lack of content. Now on both of these components it has to be mentioned that with a $30 price tag or even cheaper on Game Pass, the game has enough content and few enough bugs to be worth playing. It is just in the long run that these things become problematic.

One of the attractions of any game with any sort of resources is to find out how the economy of the game works, and then to optimize it. In Palworld that involves collecting or breeding the pals you need, and letting them work at the various workplaces in your base. That works rather well at low levels. At higher levels this becomes increasingly problematic for various reasons: Higher level pals are usually larger, and larger pals more often have pathing problems and get stuck. Your base is also getting larger, with more different workplaces, and that leads to more problems: Systems to set priorities for pals are mostly still missing, and the one system where you grab a pal and throw it at the workplace to force it to work there is bugged; you often just get an error message, or the pal starts working there and then wanders off a minute later.

The lack of content problem is a subjective one. Palworld does have content up to level 50. However, the higher level content often doesn't introduce something new. Getting the first saddle for your first flying mount at level 15 is interesting, getting another flying mount later less so. Your first palsphere introduces you to major game mechanics, but later versions just increase your probability to catch a pal. High level palspheres need a lot of grind for resources to make them. And that is true for many other things you craft in the game: Less novelty, more grind at higher levels. The giant tree supposedly being the end of the game is blocked by an invisible wall.

Overall with me that leads to a growing frustration with the game at the higher levels. My base is working less well than I think it should, due to bugs and lack of management features. The rewards I get for exploration and leveling are mostly just stronger versions of stuff I already have, and are thus less interesting. The Palworld roadmap suggests that over time the bugs will be fixed, and the problems of managing a base will be solved. I'm sure there will be more endgame content as well, although it might not solve the "just better versions" problem I have. For the moment I will say that I had enough of this game in its current state. I might be willing to play this again after major patches or at "release", whatever "release" means these days. But for now I will put the game aside and play something else.

I'm a little over 50 hours in and have come to the exact same conclusion. One of my major challenges in addition to what you mentioned is the bug where the pals freeze when you fast travel away from your base. Since there is no resource sharing between bases and I can have three bases it really hampers fun. However, the game has a ton of potential that I hope that they realize.
Tobold said: "While trying out the game was great fun, the more you get into it, the more the fact that the game is still early access becomes evident and annoying."

That's pretty much why I've stopped playing games until development has completed. I don't want to have the experience spoiled by the game being unfinished and have to come back at a future date. With so many entertainment options, I don't feel the need to rush into an unfinished product.
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