Survarium is the debut title for Vostok Games, a small Ukrainian developer that's home to many of the same men and women who worked on the classic S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series.
In its current form Survarium is a free-to-play online multiplayer shooter. It's twitchy, but as shooters go it has a tactical, methodical pace. As it evolves, the team plans to expand on that formula to include cooperative, and perhaps even single player modes. A far cry from the story-driven, open world of its predecessor, the game is nonetheless a treat. We've been given access to the closed beta, as well as some in-game currency to experiment with. Charlie Hall is on hand to give Griffin McElroy a guided tour of some of the more overgrown parts of post-apocalyptic eastern Europe.
When Polygon visited Vostok in 2013, months before Ukraine's revolution, we found a small team just making itself at home in its new offices. They were working on environmental and character art, and the beta shows how that work has paid off. They're still not done, but the real surprise in the beta is the quality of the sound design. Vostok has modeled everything from the dull thud of a shotgun to the sound of rounds cutting through the foliage. The result is a game that requires players to have a keen sense for the terrain as well as a good ear to be successful.