Martin Carr previews Sheltered…
Consider Sheltered a constantly evolving organic entity. Fancy words I know. But ultimately the most accurate when it comes to describing what we have. You see what Team 17 have done is started with a basic concept. A sort of low-fi Fallout 4. Minus the graphical enhancements, combat nuances or inherent legacy. Yet in full retention of that initial premise.
Now I know there will be those who are screaming in their purpose-built PC suites. Glowering at the screen with a sense of injustice I can never possibly fathom. Yet hang on to your post-apocalyptic feeling of descent for just a minute. ‘Sheltered’ works on a similar approach and includes all the things which Fallout as a franchise holds dear.
Firstly there is the simple idea of surviving. A task which encompasses everything from building beds, showers, toilets and keeping everyone on their feet. What Sheltered also does is bring the need to scavenge for salvage. An expansive map littered with a few known locations and numerous question marks form your search area. Meaning you must equip members of your family to go out and find things of use.
It being in preview mode there are certain things which are still being developed. Rudimentary combat with limited AI has now been expanded. Giving you the sense of a real-time combat situation, with clear consequences and subsequent limitations. What started out on PC last year as an ambitious yet basic game, now comes to Xbox One in a much more complex form. Every update between then and now has been included in this console conversion. Meaning that Xbox One owners avoid all the initial teething problems.
But the question is how good have Team 17 made this game. Is Sheltered worth the investment of time that a ‘SIMS’ simulation demands on players. Simply put I would say yes. There is something ultimately worthwhile in creating your family. Deciding on every conceivable detail and then guiding them through this rudimentary wasteland. Sure there are no whistles and bells, but this only causes you to focus on play-ability.
Employing a specific graphical look demands that more onus be placed on substance. More than enough games these days glory in their visual splendour, but fall apart under scrutiny. With Sheltered we have an altogether different animal. Playing to its strengths and listening to feedback. Team 17 have created something brazenly aware of its status as a work in progress. But rather than make apologises these developers respond by expanding, deleting and appeasing in equal measure. Finally games tester is not a monocle reserved for the chosen few. Thanks in part to companies like Team 17 this dominion now belongs to everyone. Something which can only be a benefit.