In the years since Rust first released, the game has garnered a gargantuan following thanks to Twitch. It’s unpredictable, emergent gameplay makes it perfect for watching. However, it’s only now, approaching the game’s eighth birthday, that console gamers can finally get their hands on this compelling persistent multiplayer world.
Rust Console Edition is Rust, and while there are some caveats to that, the most important fact is that the core essentials of what have made the game are there. You’ve got a large persistent world to explore, other human players to interact with and a swathe of crafting options at your disposal. Rust Console Edition has all the hallmarks of the survival genre that Rust helped cultivate.
Facepunch Studios and Double Eleven have done a surprisingly good job of transcribing broad keyboard and mouse controls over to a controller. The game’s prompt system, which features various questions and statements, is built into the right analogue stick. Press it down and you can select which prompt you want, with the shoulder buttons switching between different sets.
However, like many other ported PC titles, the controller doesn’t offer the same level of versatility as mouse and keyboard. The prompt wheel not only takes you out of gameplay, but it can also be a little fiddly. When every moment in Rust can mean the difference between life and death, this is a big issue for those not using a headset and mic.
We’re used to console games featuring stripped back graphics compared to PC, but Rust Console Edition also lacks several key features at launch. At the time of writing, players cannot join or host private servers, which is a major problem for new players. Private and custom player vs enemy servers provide newcomers the perfect avenue to learn the game’s numerous mechanics.
In Rust Console Edition there is a limited selection of public servers, which are all mostly full. Busy servers coupled with an aggressive and often toxic community makes for an underwhelming experience. Nearly all new play sessions are cut short because a group of players with guns or other advanced weapons immediately have the upper hand.
This is of course what makes Rust what it is. It is supposed to be an often callous experience, and I’m all for that. However, this is a balancing issue. New players cannot, and will not, overcome the difficulty curve if someone instantly murders them within five minutes of entering a server. Without access to private servers, Rust Console Edition is a frustrating loop of dying by gunshot, and losing all of your collected materials, time and time again.
There are moments of excellence amongst the frustration. During my first play session, I shared a campfire with a complete stranger. We just sat in each other’s company for a few minutes. No violence. No toxic abuse. Just two people enjoying the night ambience by the fireplace. It’s in these moments that it’s not difficult to see why Rust’s emergent world is so loved.
I will commend the developers for including graphical options in the console version. Players can turn off motion blur and change the FOV. Both options drastically improve the experience in my opinion, so good on Facepunch Studios for including them in a console title. Having said that, Rust is not a particularly good looking game. It’s by no means the worst looking game in existence, but it was never much of a looker to begin with.