On Wednesday, I had the opportunity of sitting down with Hunter Wu, founder and producer from Matrioshka Games, to check out their upcoming game Expedition Agartha. Expedition Agartha has been pitched to me as a “medieval hardcore looter survival” game, styled in the same way as Escape from Tarkov.
Agartha is a PVPVE experience where you will experience quick deaths and face many challenges, but the reward for overcoming those challenges will grow with each new victory.
Hunter Wu explained to me that the idea of Expedition Agartha came to him after he had a particularly bad night of Tarkov. He lost match after match in a row, with most games being lost before he could even fire a shot.
With each loss came the loss of his gear as well, and he realized that what was bothering him was the ranged combat system from Tarkov. So, he set out to make a game that felt similar, but with a more “intimate” combat system.
Agartha was created to be a medieval fantasy world that mirrors our own world, myths, and legends. Wu explained that he and his team are very much interested in ancient mysteries legends and built their world around them. The world of Agartha is based on our own human history and cultures from around the world, just altered to give its own unique look.
For example, the main ship that you operate from is based on the designs of ships from the Ming dynasty of Ancient China. As a historian, it was really cool to hear about all the different cultures that they have used in their game, and how they are eager to bring in more.
I got to check out some of the character creation before we dived into the combat. It was simple, but there was enough there to make my ideal mercenary, a bald man with a tattoo of an eyeball on his forehead.
One feature I found quite interesting is much of the game’s voice work is done by AI generated audio, which sounded almost flawless, or at least good enough that I would never notice it on my own.
Before we dove into the actual world of the game, I saw some of the essential NPCs that live in the hubzone, as you talk to these NPCs they will give you missions to complete while you’re own competing. The more victories you get on your quests, the better their shop’s stock will be in the future.
Getting into the core of the game, we took a dingy ship to an island and our goal is to scavenge for plunder then make our exit. At the same time that we arrive on the coastline, other players have also appeared at the same time, and they are trying to do the same. You will face off against hostile foes on the map as you try to get some good gains, and that doesn’t just mean enemy players. There are a host of hostile NPCs that I saw as well including AI mercenaries and even the undead.
I got to see the combat in action as well, as Wu took on a host of zombies, he was quickly overwhelmed and killed. In fact, that was one of the defining characteristics of this game, he never tried to make the game look easy or something that had no consequences. He died a lot during our presentation due to carelessness.
Combat is pretty easy to understand. You will have your quick attack, heavy attack, kick, and block. You can also craft healing potions in order to save you own skin with healing.
Speaking of potions, alchemy plays a very big role in this game and can help to turn the tides of battle in your favor.
Every raid on a map will last thirty minutes, if you do not escape within those thirty minutes you will die. Around the 20-minute mark, the sun will begin to set and tougher monsters will come out to play. These creatures are far more aggressive and will ruthlessly hunt you down.
The important thing to keep in mind is that these tougher monsters will also yield some of the best loot in the game and will eventually need to be farmed for the best gear.
When starting out, you will have the opportunity to launch a raid as two classes, a ‘Freebooter’ a premade character who, when killed, losing nothing but the gear he had picked up along the way during that mission.
However, if you’re looking for a bit more of a challenge and reward, you can join into a match as a “Mercenary” these are the characters who’s gear you will be upgrading and equipping as time goes on. But be careful, because when those mercenary dies, you will lose all the gear they had on them as well.
If you’re looking to play with friends, you party up into parties of 3 and go take on the game’s three maps together. But, just remember that you will then be splitting loot three ways rather than taking it all for yourself.
These are just the biggest take aways I had from my 45-minute presentation of Expedition Agartha. If this game sounds fun to you, then you can check it out when it goes into Early Access on Steam on August 18, less than a week from today.