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Free Games I Like: Stranded 2

Posted on 25th May 2010 at 11:15 by Joe Martin with 17 comments

Joe Martin
Stranded 2 is a member of one of the rarest genres in the entire games industry - and it’s not a bad entry into it either. It’s a survival game. Not one in the sense of fending off waves of enemies, but in terms of man versus the environment. It puts you on a desert island and sees how long you can survive.

There are other survival games which are better known, such as Deus and the Lost in Blue series, but the genre is still horribly undernourished for those of us that actually like the idea of being stuck away from civilisation for an extended period. It gets even worse when you realise that Robinson’s Requiem is near unplayable and that the Lost in Blue games always decay into block-puzzles half-way through.

All that’s left is Stranded 2 – and even that isn’t perfect.

Stranded 2 starts off very strongly, putting you on a fairly small island and challenging you to survive long enough to escape. You have to collect rocks and twigs to make axes to chop firewood and collect palm leaves for shelter. The first stages of the game keep you always on the brink of starvation. The tech tree is tied to your inner monologue, so you can’t build everything from the start – you’ll spend a lot of time collecting coconuts before it ‘occurs to you’ that you might be able to farm the land.


The result of all this is that you get a real sense of accomplishment and become very attached to your shelter. You develop routines for patrolling the land and calculate the optimum route for gathering resources before the end of the day. As you get more comfortable you start to require less rest and can carry more items with you, allowing you to explore more of the land. You go from feeling like a shivering weakling to being a conqueror of nature, but Stranded 2 keeps finding ways to put you back in your place, introducing new obstacles just when you think you've got the upper hand.

You wouldn’t believe how scared I was when I started exploring and came across my first lion. I almost threw my mouse at it.

Unfortunately Stranded 2 starts to fall apart shortly after the first level. Eventually your character decides to escape the island on a raft. You shipwreck on another island, this time with people on it. Then you have to start doing things with magic portals, collecting mushrooms and dealing with four or five lions at once. It loses the plot, basically.

Stranded 2’s main problem is that it doesn’t end when it should do, instead prolonging the experience and taking it further from its initial appeal. It’s a shame really, because the start of the game is incredibly addictive and interesting. The game as a whole isn’t really worth bothering with because it ventures into ideas and mechanics that are better explored elsewhere, but the first level is definitely something I’d recommend taking a look at if you fancy yourself as a virtual Ray Mears.

17 Comments

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WildThing 25th May 2010, 14:06 Quote
I like these blogs Joe, keep 'em coming. ;)

I think I might try this, it looks quite interesting and I've always been a huge Ray Mears fan!
SchizoFrog 25th May 2010, 16:39 Quote
"Not a bad entry in to the genre"

and then you go on to say...

"The game as a whole isn’t really worth bothering with..."

Make up your mind please.
CardJoe 25th May 2010, 16:58 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by SchizoFrog
"Not a bad entry in to the genre"

and then you go on to say...

"The game as a whole isn’t really worth bothering with..."

Make up your mind please.

To clarify: It is a good entry into the genre because the first level is really good and is simply "Survive on this island". The first level alone makes it a good entry into the genre but, because that's only the first level and because all following stages are rubbish and to do with magic and dinosaurs, the game as a whole isn't worth bothering with.

I.e. The first level is a good survival game. Everything after that is a rubbish adventure game wannabe.
Aragon Speed 25th May 2010, 17:40 Quote
After becoming homeless and having to spend 3 months surviving in Scarborough woods, my ex says these games always seem a little tame. I bet they don't have you waking up in the morning with beetles in your hair...
Mik3yB @ CCL 25th May 2010, 17:42 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aragon Speed
After becoming homeless and having to spend 3 months surviving in Scarborough woods, my ex says these games always seem a little tame. I bet they don't have you waking up in the morning with beetles in your hair...

13eightyfour 25th May 2010, 18:38 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aragon Speed
After becoming homeless and having to spend 3 months surviving in Scarborough woods, my ex says these games always seem a little tame. I bet they don't have you waking up in the morning with beetles in your hair...

I dont think any medium could accurately portray the actual harshness of being stranded and having to completely fend for yourself.

On the subject of the game, i found it quite good, My first attempt ended with getting raped by a lion though
Xtrafresh 25th May 2010, 18:39 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by SchizoFrog
Make up your mind please.
And that's coming from a guy who calls himself SchizoFrog? Big LOL!

Joe, thanks for the gem, i'll definately have a look!
Star*Dagger 26th May 2010, 00:20 Quote
--snipped--

Enjoy,
S*D
Kiytan 26th May 2010, 07:40 Quote
Will definatly have to give it a go.
Also: Loving this blog, given me lots of fun little things to mess around with

EDIT: ok, so i have been playing it all afternoon now >< It's great fun, very addictive, although some of the combinations to make things are a little wierd.

I like how having enough food is still relativly challenging most of the way through the island (which i have not left yet). It does get easier when you can mass plant berries and grain mind. (also, why can't you plant cotton ><)

I have still yet to find any flint on the island (if there is any) to light fires instead of bark and wood
Chocobollz 26th May 2010, 10:04 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Martin
You wouldn’t believe how scared I was when I started exploring and came across my first lion. I almost threw my mouse at it.

With that kind of graphics, I don't think I will be doing the same thing. I think it'll be more like I ROFL'ed because the lion probably looks like those lion in the Madagascar movies :P~
CardJoe 26th May 2010, 10:18 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chocobollz
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Martin
You wouldn’t believe how scared I was when I started exploring and came across my first lion. I almost threw my mouse at it.

With that kind of graphics, I don't think I will be doing the same thing. I think it'll be more like I ROFL'ed because the lion probably looks like those lion in the Madagascar movies :P~

Maybe true, but it's still the case that awful graphics + player investment = pant change.

Resident Evil and Call of Cthulu: Dark Corners of the Earth still **** me up all the time.
javaman 26th May 2010, 13:33 Quote
sims 2 castaway on DS wasn't bad. survival wasnt too hard tho but working out how to unlock the next area kept things going. Worth taking a look at.
snowy2 26th May 2010, 16:46 Quote
A mod with similar features should work great with Morrowind/Oblivion/Fallout 3. Replace the vegetation with existing plants, add real animals, a hunter/gatherer tech tree, tools/fire creation based on real techniques. It would probably be a good tool for teaching some lessons (albeit simplified) in survival, self-sufficiency and natural history/sciences.
tennisball 26th May 2010, 17:00 Quote
I was just thinking the same thing, although I don't know how to use the FO3 SDK, I could try doing it for a Garry's Mod gamemode, that way it would be multiplayer.
thehippoz 26th May 2010, 17:17 Quote
played some last night.. I dunno maybe if it came out in the early 90s
Kiytan 27th May 2010, 05:06 Quote
Snowy2: Look up the RTS (Real Time Settler) mod for fallout 3, it's not quite the same, its about building a town instead of just surviving. but its designed in a similar way.
snowy2 27th May 2010, 12:53 Quote
@Kiytan: That's really cool! Will try it when I get FO3 GOTY.
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