Don’t Even Think of downloading the newest free-to-play battle royale game to hit PS4. It’s a by the numbers rushjob that, despite having a tiny glimmer of potential, swamps you in nothing but bitter disappointment.
It’s no secret that China is currently witnessing a battle royale boom, albeit a slightly delayed one, spearheaded by PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds on mobile (or should that be Game for Peace?). As a result there has been no shortage of clones and imitators looking for their own slice of the pie, with Don’t Even Think having originally launched last year.
Several months later this latest game from Dark Horse Game Studio and Perfect World Games has made the sudden journey overseas, seemingly appearing out of nowhere. With no marketing or any kind of preamble, it’s suddenly turned up and will likely be forgotten just as quickly.
The first hurdle it stumbles into is fairly minor yet one just about every battle royale game has managed to avoid. Don’t Even Think hits you with an unskippable cutscene before getting started, attempting to cobble together some kind of origin or backstory that involves a global recession, political turmoil, natural disasters, and the fight for military and biomedical technology. It manages to tick just about every box on the list of post-apocalyptic scenarios yet fails to explain the game’s key selling point: werewolves.
That’s the developer’s gambit here; their punt is to create a barebones battle royale experience then chuck in a few player-controlled lycanthropes to see what happens. On paper it sounds ridiculous and the execution is pretty dire, though there’s the faintest trace of something that could have become something special.
There’s only one game mode and that involves squads of three dropping onto a medium sized map before scavenging for weapons and gear. Instead of having the play area gradually shrink like most battle royale games, there’s a timer in the top left that indicates the time of day.
A handful of players will already be prowling the map waiting for the others to arrive. These savage humanoids must wait for the sun to go down before transforming into a werewolf. Their objective is to simply wipe out the humans before they can call in a chopper and evacuate.
However, with the humans already fighting each other, their chances of actually winning are incredibly slim and although you can work with other squads to repel the werewolves, in a battle royale game that prospect seems laughable.
After surviving the short initial phase of each match the werewolves become almost invincible. While restricted to melee attacks it only takes a few of these to down a human player, the wolves also being much faster and able to chow on corpses to regain health. There’s a ridiculous imbalance here that can only be levelled by finding sacred silver bullets – with regular ammo your guns might as well be peashooters.
Despite some glaring issues, Don’t Even Think is at least serviceable in the way it controls. The gunplay has a worrying lack of feedback though still feels smooth and semi-accurate, while movement is robust enough and even has vaulting (something PUBG lacked for quite some time). Meanwhile, inventory management has been pared right back. Handling loot and exchanging weapons is all assigned to a single button which is a pain as that’s the same button that’s used to reload.
There are definitely some passable aspects to this game though we found ourselves questioning its existence with an alarming frequency. It’s incredibly limited with one map, one mode, and a handful of cosmetics to unlock, some of which are insanely priced. To get the fanciest werewolf skin in the game costs 4800 Glod which, let’s face it, is probably a typo during translation rather than the dev’s attempt at naming its own original currency. In order to get that much… Glod you’ll need to spend close to $100. This in a game that doesn’t even let you party up with friends.