Reviews

Until None Remain: Battle Royale PC Edition Review

Until None Remain: Battle Royale is another game that has been made in the wake of the battle royale/last man standing genre that has gained popularity in the last year or so. This budget game (as of writing it now has a new permanent price of $2/£1.01) is pretty bare bones when it comes to gameplay options, maps and character customisation, but that doesn’t mean to say it isn’t fun. The main issues come from simple gameplay mechanics and the player base or lack of.

Your most basic of basic inventory screens

You have two choices upon starting Until None Remain, either go through a quick tutorial where all of the games weapons, items and mechanics are on show to try out and see how it all handles or choose between two maps, indoor or outside, and jump straight into a match with up to ten other players and see who’s the last one standing.

Whilst the tutorial does a good job of putting you in a safe environment to test out all the weapons and gizmos, apart from vehicles, that you’ll encounter on the battlefield the pop-up text boxes that explain each detail often get in the way and don’t give the greatest of explanations for certain items. Nor does it tell you about powerups on the maps and what they do. There’s also no mention of how in-game features work like how the map size shrinks every couple of minutes or that there are traps in both maps that only activate if you’re outside the safe zone.

Gotta love that font!

So I found the best way to understand this all was to just hop straight into a game and figure it all out for myself. This is where I ran into two of my biggest concerns with the game in its current state. Firstly, there is next to no one playing. Until None Remain can hold up to a max of ten players which is nothing compared to the likes of PlayerUnknown’s Battleground or Fortnite but this is due mainly to the size of each map. I’d roughly equate each one to some of the larger maps in the previous Call of Duty games and smaller maps in the Battlefield series.

This is by no means a bad thing, having fewer players needed to join means less downtime waiting for a game which is always a maximum of three minutes. The reason for this is that if there are any empty spaces before a match begins they are filled with bots meaning you’ll always have something to shoot once the countdown reaches zero.

Not having human competition can be great at the start when you’re just learning the nuances of each weapon and the map layout as most of the time weapons and items will generally be in the same place. Up on the roof of a building? You’ll probably find either a rifle or a sniper rifle. Inside a warehouse? You’ll find armour, health pickups and ammo along with the odd weapon or two.

Even the vehicles, a jet-hover-bike thing which is incredibly hard to use, always spawn in the same spot and offer little to no reason to use them because of their lack of weaponry and the space needed to drive them. The real issue is that once you’ve won or lost a few matches against bots you’ll be eager to try out your new-found skills against real-life competitors and find that that’s not something that will happen often, if at all.

There’s seven other players out there, somewhere…

Now whether or not this is Until None Remain’s fault is questionable. There are many games that have a dead player-base or low count of active players but still manage to have enough features and reasons for players to return and continue to play the game long after the majority shift onto another game. At the moment there is a distinct lack of active players leading to a large percentage of matches resulting in playing against bots or one to two players at most.

In games like Unreal Tournament or Quake III Arena (I don’t play many shooting games these days which can be seen in my use of examples from the early 2000’s) you were able to adjust the difficulty of the bots when you weren’t playing against real-life opposition allowing for competitive matches to be had at any skill level with or without you fragging a friend. Being able to change all the bots difficulty before the start of a match may help Until None Remain, but may also lead to other problems. This leads me onto my second issue with the game.

The bots are dumb. Straight up dumb. Depending on the map you choose to play on will result in one of two different bot actions for the entire game. Selecting the outdoor map is probably the best option. There are a handful of warehouses and points of cover that you’ll see straight from the start of a match. Usually when you spawn in acquiring a weapon, armour or items is easy as you more often than not will be right next to a stockpile of an assortment of the games cache.

The computer, on the other hand, seems to spawn in already loaded with a gun which obviously is a bit of an advantage. However, the bots are so poor at aiming or thinking about their own well being that this advantage is lost as they will lock in place and constantly fire at you, without ever running out of ammo or reloading, until you either run out of their pre-determined area of shooting, kill you or they die from your hands or another player/bot.

Another hollow victory.

Their programming seems to consist of finding a weapon, which they seemingly spawn with, find cover and stay there until anything that’s a threat comes into view. The only time they’ll move is when the map size starts to shrink, which makes them even easier targets as they gingerly walk from the yellow caution zone into the safe zone, allowing for easy pickings.

On the outdoor map this isn’t always so bad as you can see a lot of the map from most angles, so spotting a bot or another player isn’t too taxing. Playing with just bots on the indoor map, in which I had to actually ask another player to go back to the lobby and choose indoor instead as I hadn’t had a single match against another player in all the time I’ve played, results in the game being played completely differently.

The bots will do the same as they do on the outdoor map, but indoors is just hallways, the odd room and one giant area in the centre meaning pretty much from the get-go you have to go hunt for each bot one by one or wait for the timer to start shrinking the map and wait for them in the centre to run in like headless chickens.

If it wasn’t for the fact that once you get in range of a bot, regardless of if you can see them or not and the same for them, they will start shooting it would be a tedious slog to win a match. This at least helps find where they’ve decided to set up camp as running down each side of the square-shaped map means once you hear shooting, you know they are nearby. Along with the sentry turret in the middle of the map helping you spot helpless bots, there are also too many good areas to keep a look out from should you decide to wait out the timer.

This lack of a challenge means that constantly having no actual competition makes the game get old real fast. It got to the point where I was selecting the indoor map and trying to speedrun the game to see how fast I could win, which definitely wasn’t the intended way to play Until None Remain.

Nothing like walking into a warehouse and either getting shot by a bot or a turret.

So far everything I’ve written about Until None Remain doesn’t paint a great image of a good game, but overall it is actually a fun experience. Graphically everything looks fine from its sci-fi inspired landscapes and environments to its use of technology, the design of the player models and weapons.

It controls well, never feels sluggish and the aiming is on point although the environment and objects could do with a quick clean up as you will frequently be trying to shoot around an object that is a good half metre away from you as you’re taking cover only to have the bullets hit invisible boundaries. There are not many sound effects in the game save for a stock sounding announcer or explosions/gunfire/death cries and I found myself putting on some music of my own to listen to instead due to there being no music at all from what I remember.

Until None Remain has a few flaws that, if smoothed out, could make this budget shooter a lot more enjoyable. In its current iteration, the game suffers mostly from not having enough players to play against leading to uneventful matches and repetitive hide and seek gameplay. With the inclusion of a difficulty option at the start of a match for all bots to be adjusted to, the terrain cleaned up to allow for actual cover and fire mechanics and a bigger player base, this would be a great low-cost option if you wanted to enjoy the thrills of a competitive battle royale style game in quick bite-size chunks.

Thom was randomly sent a free key for Until None Remain, however, there was and has not been any communication with the developers.

For a budget, no thrills battle royale game you can't really expect anymore. Here's hoping the player base grows in the future.

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Until None Reman: Battle Royale Edition PC:
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