When I first saw Ripout’s Steam Page, I was instantly enamoured by the sight. There’s something about space horror games that I find so charming. Whether it’s the atmosphere, the design of the world itself, or their stories. Something keeps drawing me back to them. Ripout has all 3 in ample supply, which I intend to look at in this Ripout Preview.
The Story of Ripout (And Humanity’s Eternal Hubris)
Ripout’s story begins with humanity’s favorite pastime activity – War! Specifically, a corporate war for resources, which tragically gets cut short by an extragalactic threat invading from another universe. Now, if there’s anything that humans like more than killing each other, it’s killing other beings that they’ve never met before.
So, humanity did the only logical thing it could in the given situation. They end their corporate wars and unite against the common threat. Unfortunately for humanity, the common threat proved to be too powerful for them, even in their united state. So, humanity did the second most logical thing they could. They unleashed unspeakable horrors beyond their comprehension.
Enter, The Cell. A biological weapon designed to rapidly mutate organic beings and turn them into mindless killing machines hell-bent on exterminating anything in their sight. There’s no way that could go wrong, could it? Yeah, about that…
Surprisingly, the first generation of The Cell turned out to be a relative success. Ripout’s player character is a super soldier enhanced with the first-generation Cell virus. It’s the subsequent generations that are the source of humanity’s plight, and it’s the player’s task to eliminate said plight.
The Gameplay of Ripout
The best way I can describe Ripout is by comparing it to Doom and Dead Space. In a way you have the freedom of Doom but with the restrictions of Dead Space. If that makes any sense.
You have the freedom of Doom because your character feels extremely powerful compared to most enemy types. Whenever you enter a room, you don’t get a sense of danger. That’s because you ARE the danger. This feeling of dominance is only increased as you go through the mission and acquire powerups and critters.
On the other hand, you also have the restrictions of Dead Space to deal with. You’re powerful, that’s true. However, you’re not omnipotently powerful. Ammunition is scarce, light is even scarcer and there are no glory kills to regenerate your health. Plus, your stamina drains super fast, which can leave you in a tough predicament if you’re not careful.
The Atmosphere is Out of This World
Since I’m a big boy gamer, the atmosphere of Ripout didn’t scare me all that much. However, I appreciate how much it tried to. Everything from the design of the levels to the behavior of the enemies as well as the music was perfectly crafted to unnerve me. And I loved it so much. It reminded me of the feeling I got the first time I saw Alien back in the day.
It’s a feeling that makes you feel like something’s there even though there obviously isn’t, which is exactly the feeling you want from a horror game. That being said, my previous point still stands. Your character is so powerful that you’re quite literally the scariest thing in the dark, which completely negates the purpose the game is trying to achieve.
Still, from a purely aesthetical perspective, the game is astonishingly atmospheric. A feature I particularly liked is the flashlight. Although it annoyed me with how fast it drained, I loved the unexpected experiences it produced when it went out, especially when I was in an encounter with an enemy.
The game is already dark as it is, without the flashlight it’s nearly pitch black. The only guiding lights you have in those situations are the random lights scattered around the derelict ships. Combined this with the random noises and enemies that pretend to be dead. And you have a butt-clenching experience on your hands that is like none other.
The Crafting & Equipment System is Fairly Expansive
By completing missions, you’ll usually get blueprint and crafting materials as a reward. You can also find additional crafting materials scattered through the maps and as the occasional loot drop. You can later use these crafting materials to craft weapons and armor for your character. The list of equipment you can craft is quite expansive, but not cluttered. Which is nice.
There’s a weapon type and a suit type for every occasion. I really liked this system as it allowed me to change up my playstyle as per the mission requirements. At the same time, it didn’t smother me by cluttering me with a ton of useless equipment that is pretty much the same thing at the end of the day.
The Elephant in the Room: Is it a Roguelike?
Ripout has this one mechanic that technically qualifies it as a Roguelike, although it isn’t. The mechanic in question is the power-up stations scattered throughout the missions. Whenever you come across one of these stations, you can choose from 3 random power-ups to have until the end of the mission.
These get progressively better as the campaign progresses, which gives the impression that it’s a roguelike. On the other hand, the game also gives you Revive Tokens in the case that you or a friend go down. Speaking of friends.
The Game Has a Co-Op Mode
I’m happy to report that the game has a co-op mode. Unfortunately, I was playing on a pre-release build of the game, so I couldn’t get a group of friends together to try it ( In the words of Dj. Khaleed. “I was suffering from success.” ).
Still, I can see how the game would make for a tremendously fun co-op experience. Not only would the missions get harder then, but the experience would make for a good camaraderie-building exercise. Surviving alone is great, but surviving with friends is better.
The Downsides of Ripout
Ripout is an all-around pleasant experience. However, it has two glaring downsides that I think take away from the experience and hamper the game in the long run. The first is its HUD design, while the second is the balance of the game.
There’s something about the HUD that feels “off.” I don’t know if it’s the icons being too big, or the fact that it feels like it was made for the wrong game, but something definitely needs to be changed to better incorporate it with the atmosphere. Something as simple as being able to turn it off or a minimal HUD mode would make it feel exponentially better.
The second issue is the balance. For lack of better words, I dislike how powerful I feel in the game. I want this sort of game to punish me, to make me feel anxious before I enter each room. With how powerful the player character feels, that’s simply impossible. Make pickups more scarce, or increase the enemy’s capabilities. In its current state, everything feels like a breeze.
All in all, I found Ripout to be an all-around great experience. The game is polished, the atmosphere is great, and the gameplay is engaging. The story likewise is pretty interesting, it was a blast playing through the chapters.
As I mentioned, the only real downsides to the game are is HUD design and the player’s obscene power level. Two features that can quite easily be changed. If those features do get changed, I’m confident that the game will become an instant classic.
RIPOUT Early Access
RIPOUT is out now on Steam early access with a 10% discount. There is a lot to like in this state, and I’m looking forward to how the developers respond to feedback.
What did you think of our RIPOUT preview? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
This preview is based on the PC version of RIPOUT. The key was provided by Pet Project Games.