Underrail Expedition Review | Subterranean Loading Screen Simulator™


Hey hey, people. Sseth here.
Are you tired of breathing fresh air,
and enjoying the sunshine?
Do you suffer from agoraphobia
and hate open spaces?
Then why not take a trip down to UnderRail?
Much like its predecessor, Undertale,
this game takes place underground,
where humanity exists in a
desperate struggle to survive,
after the surface was nuked by the major
mega-corporations of the old world
into nothing but radioactive ash.
Meet the locals,
who are either unhinged,
unstable, or just unsocial.
Meet the friendly wildlife,
which include, but are not limited to:
Refrigerators,
which no longer hold food.
Instead they hold giant crustaceans,
lying in wait.
Beetles,
which now have a frontal cortex
larger than most humans,
which they use to cook you alive.
-and-
Cave crawlers,
which hide on the ceiling and inject
your muscles with a paralyzing venom,
so they can drop down, and
suck out your insides like a fly.
If that doesn’t already sound like a great time,
why not hop on down to the city?
One of the last few remaining
bastions of human civilization.
And that’s not all!
We boast one of the *highest*
murder rates per capita in recorded history.
You’re guaranteed to be shot, mugged, or drugged
within the first 24 hours, or your money back!
So don’t wait up!
Sign up now and get dominated
like the pipeworker you are,
in the best dystopian hellscape on the market today.
UnderRail is an underground cave-fishing
simulator with elements of jet-ski surfing.
It came out at the end of 2015 and it’s probably the closest thing to a spiritual successor of Fallout 1 and 2.
It’s a turn-based CRPG developed by the Serbians,
and, as with anything that comes from former Yugoslavia,
it’s absolutely brutal, unforgiving and brilliant.
So, why cover it now?
Because it also recently got an expansion:
UnderRail: Expedition.
Styg generously gave me a copy.
So I thought, “Hey, how long could this possibly take?”
*ahem*
1 week and 60 hours later,
I finished it!
Not the main plot.
Not the main story.
Just the expansion.
This game is huge.
Let’s begin.
Story:
You play as some schmuck,
with no real ties or background.
However, you’ve been recently accepted
as a citizen of South Gate Station,
one of the more civilized places in this world.
Now, it falls onto you to make sure your new home has a future.
And, that’s it.
No great calamity, no great disaster.
We’re already living in disaster, but we’re trying to make the best of it.
Good luck out there, you’ll need it.
Gameplay:
Survival is your primary objective.
Quests and missions get you paid,
but they’re always secondary
to preserving your own skin.
Before you start, you need to make a character,
pick an avatar, and then you
need to make the difficult choice
between Oddity XP and Classic XP.
Experts are divided on opinion,
so I’ll help you make your choice.
With Classic XP, you gain experience from committing murder,
and you’re gonna commit a lot of murder.
With Oddity XP, you don’t.
You gain experience from dumpster diving,
finding old pieces of gum,
and looking at shopping receipts.
Objectively, Oddity XP is far more realistic,
since going through garbage cans
and stealing copper wire
is how most crackheads level up in real life.
It’s an experience, and after you experience it once,
you’ll never want to experience it ever again.
Also, don’t touch the difficulty.
Moving on, you’ve got skills, perks, and attributes.
These are all quite interesting,
but I’m not going to explain them.
You can’t be good at everything,
and when logic and reason fails,
the only answer you can give is extreme violence.
This game doesn’t fuck around,
and if your build sucks,
you’re gonna have a bad time.
So, I strongly recommend
you take one of my builds,
or builds that I stole from the forums.
Doesn’t matter which one, they’re all pretty good.
Combat is a big chunk of the game.
Everything is turn-based, so you have to make your actions count,
since, very often, you’re
outmatched, outnumbered and outgunned.
But, unlike your enemies,
you’re capable of thinking for yourself,
and, despite the odds, you’re very capable
of dealing with almost every situation,
so come prepared and you’ll live a long life.
Guns, melee weaponry, traps,
grenades, improvised tasers and crossbows
are just some of the tools available to you.
If that sounds kinda gay, you could just
punch the meat off everything instead.
Not only that, but your character also has
the potential to harness their psionic energy.
What’s that, you ask?
It’s actually a very recent mutation,
which lets humans and other wildlife use magic,
and it lets you cook people alive, fry their brains,
or strangle them with their own shadow.
Why? I don’t know.
Because UnderRail takes place
in the Harry Potter universe,
but instead of wands, you’ve
got implants you inject into your brain,
so you can abuse muggles with your mind-magic.
Thanks, J.K. Rowling.
Of course, we can’t talk combat
without talking about crafting.
In most games, crafting is entirely optional.
In UnderRail, crafting is
the difference between life and death.
For example, a machine gun,
as you may know, is very painful.
A single burst at point-blank might even zone you out.
So, what do we do? We make a tactical vest and
shove inside some Kevlar plates. Good work!
Now, we don’t actually die immediately.
So the enemy throws a grenade instead,
and shreds your internal organs.
You’re dead, your money is now being
used on the streets to buy both types of crack,
crack rocks and crack whores.
How do we prevent this?
By getting a shield.
Not the Roman kind, the energy kind.
The kind which has different frequency bands,
and involves a lot of money.
The impact velocity of a grenade: extremely high.
So we build a high frequency shield.
Bullets don’t leave a scratch. Grenades, a mild breeze,
but a sledgehammer?
Hey, yeah, tha-thats still bad for your spine.
Also, your shield isn’t gonna stop shit, so, you die anyway,
and your body participates in the free market.
Reload and try again, you get the gist of it.
UnderRail’s combat is a massive
game of rock, paper, shotgun,
which, coincidentally, gave this game a very bad review,
because they’re not very good at their job.
If we go a little further, here’s
a little taste of what you can do.
Traps are incredibly lethal, so my current character
frequently breaks the Geneva convention,
by making improvised chemical bombs
that digest and melt people’s skin off.
Since he’s good at chemistry,
he can spike grenades with RDX,
which can depopulate entire rooms.
For anything that doesn’t die instantly,
we torch the room instead with magnesium.
Magnesium burns hotter than petrol,
fills the room with screaming, charred bodies,
and as an added bonus, even burns underwater.
The crafting system is so damn good,
it even inspired me to start crafting in real life.
Now, while this sounds like the beginning of
a manifesto, it’s actually incredibly fun.
The amount of creativity and options
make each playthrough very entertaining.
Aside from combat, there’s
no such thing as quest markers.
Just directions.
So, you’ll have to learn and
navigate the underground yourself.
That’s no easy task, and it’s very easy to get lost,
which is why Styg made a world map
to help you orient yourself. It’s very handy.
As strange as it sounds,
there’s actually zero reason for you to explore.
The places you have to be, the places you
*want* to be, are easy to find.
Any place off the beaten path
is a place you don’t wanna be.
Here’s an example: there’s nothing there.
At least, nothing good.
Just a lot of pain, a lot of
venom, and a lot of antidotes
you have to burn through for absolutely no reward.
The caves are just that, caves. What did you expect?
In summary, the caves suck. Don’t go there.
Also, they remind me a lot of my own apartment.
The ceiling, recently, fell off. Because of flooding.
Did they *repair* it?
No, they just stuffed it with cotton,
and everybody pretends we don’t have a problem.
But at night, we can hear it. *I* can hear it.
Scraping about and gnawing on the pipes.
We’ve got a hobbit living in the crawlspace,
and it’s hungry.
This isn’t a cry for help, I just wanted to explain my life situation.
Anyways, I just leave it some chicken bones or whatever.
Usually, he’s pretty happy with that.
There’s not too many quests in this game,
but most of them are quite long,
and usually have multiple ways to solve them.
For example, there’s one quest
where you have to investigate
the serial murders taking place in town.
After counting the possibilities,
there’s five different ways to solve it.
In one of them, you can discover the bodies,
download the serial killer’s documents
as proof of their guilt,
and turn them in to the authorities.
The other four involve you being a dumbass,
and getting drugged by the serial killer.
They strip you of your belongings,
push you down a shaft,
naked and defenseless, into their murder bunker.
If you’re too slow, they’ll walk down
and cut you to pieces.
If you aren’t, you can grab a flashbang,
stun them, and crawl into the ventilation system.
Once inside, you can either lockpick the safe on their weapons locker and gun them down,
put together a weapon to defend yourself,
pull apart the fuse box and electrocute them,
or hack the bunker’s
defense systems to gun them down remotely.
And that’s just a small, optional side quest.
Another questline has you following
the visions of some stoner at the bar.
Help him out, and you’ll find out
he’s *not* just some random stoner,
he’s, actually, an incredibly powerful being that can walk through holes in reality,
and he uses this incredible power
to steal hallucinogenic mushrooms from the general public.
Sometimes, though, his visions aren’t exactly accurate,
and he does tend to screw up.
This includes forgetting about the
mutants he locked in his kitchen before he got high,
forgetting about the cats he
overcharged in his basement,
and forgetting about riftwalking
health and safety, when he teleports you both
inside some Slavic military base
in the middle of nowhere.
He’s a great guy, or should I say,
a “cool dude”.
This game’s got amazing quest design,
and if you want more evidence of that,
there’s another quest which asks you to track down and
kill some gigantic savage living among the rathounds,
the self-proclaimed “king” of the rathounds.
Once there, if you’re charismatic enough,
he might offer you an alternative.
You see, the king of the rathounds has no queen,
so, you can go off and kidnap some guy’s wife.
Why? I don’t know. That’s not important.
What’s important is that you *can* provide
some crazy caveman breeding material,
and ruin some woman’s life, just to see what happens.
Dialogue is also very well written, and doesn’t drag on.
The music and the atmosphere are absolutely -perfect-.
Wherever you are, you feel it.
Wherever you are, you’re immersed.
It’s like I’m actually inside an underground ghetto, where
everyone is either high off their balls from barrel soup,
or watching live action bloodsports on the TV.
UnderRail is not a game you play once. I’m not biased,
I’m just trying to justify my 200-hour playtime.
Expansion:
So, what about the expansion? The expansion itself
is new content you can access
around mid-game, once you get to Core City.
You get hired as a mercenary contractor to defend, and
assist, an expedition into a region no one dares enter:
The Black Sea. What’s out there?
Death, ruins, pirates and even worse, for some reason,
your arrival has really pissed off the Icelandic natives,
and let me tell you, there’s a lot of them.
There’s so many of them, that it’s
only a matter of time before they overrun you.
No pressure. This expedition was doomed from the start.
You also get some sick jet-skis, and jet-ski combat,
where you throw surfer dudebro pirates
off their skis, and watch them drown in the abyss.
In UnderRail, nobody knows how to swim,
and there’s a lot of designs.
You can buy anything from the boomer-core Blazer,
the Shark, with built-in torpedo systems
to the miniature naval tank, Devastator, which is quite
self-explanatory, and very much lives up to its name.
Jet-ski surfing is the main way to get around in
Expedition, and there’s some memorable locations:
old facilities filled with malfunctioning AI, eldritch abominations,
and tribal burial grounds, where you can spend half an hour pulling bodies out of swamp juice.
The expansion dialogue is also amazing. You can
spend half an hour deciphering native language,
and debating philosophy with the elderly.
In general, this expansion is amazing.
But I never mentioned, why are you here?
What exactly are you looking for?
And, more importantly, why won’t anyone tell you?
Those are answers you can only find for yourself,
and once you find what you’re looking for,
you should ask yourself the question,
“Should I bring it back, or was it buried for a reason?”
Criticism:
Originally, I had some bad things to say as well,
but you know what?
I don’t care anymore,
because the expansion broke me.
So if my voice betrays any hint of emotion, that’s
because I don’t handle existentialism very well,
and when a man starts to question everything,
you might not like the answers you find.
Final Score:
I came for a post-apocalypse cRPG.
Instead, I got an exploration of the human condition,
of you,
me,
and this entire species.
What drives us and, more importantly,
where our species is heading if we’re not careful.
Also, Daoist philosophy.
It’s a great game,
it’s a difficult game and it’s not for everyone.
But if you’ve got the time and patience,
it’s a very transcendental experience.
That is, if you can look past
the bad and forgive the tedious.
I give it a completely arbitrary score.
You can grab a copy of the game
and the expansion on Steam or GOG,
and if Styg actually followed
my advice, it’s probably on sale already.
As always, more content to come, so stay tuned.
I might disappear for a little while,
since I forgot what outside looks like.
I heard it’s quite bright out there.
A warm thanks to the many
members of the Merchant’s Guild,
generously funding and bankrolling these videos,
despite their lack of any kind of real value.
You’re all truly wonderful.
Have a good one.

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