The developers of Deep Rock Galactic care about the game. It may sound obvious, but spending around an hour of time with them it’s clear that they are attentive, kind people who like a laugh, but who just adore the game that they’ve made. When the core conceit behind a new season of a game about Dwarves mining for made up materials becomes about making it feel like a more realistic universe you’re inhabiting, you just know they care.
And that’s the rub, when it comes to Deep Rock Galactic Season 3, dubbed “Plaguefall”. While previous seasons have focused on robots and the like, Season 3 is all about a natural occurrence. Meteors are hitting the mines you delve deep into, and are bringing with them strange infections that alter the gameplay mechanics, but as the developers were keen to stress, still make it feel like you’re the first person exploring the caves you’re in.
As well as new cosmetics (which look pretty cool, frankly), there’s a new grenade for each of the four classes. I say “grenade” but this is in the loosest possible term. One is a buzzsaw that spins around in a vertical circular motion, another is a throwable that almost looks like a katana appears and spins around it… you get the picture: they’ve been creative with the term “grenade”.
In the mines, there are two new situations to cope with when playing season 3. First up, you need to find the infected parts of the mines. Once this is done (the map will show a red hue when you’re near it) you need to call in a new drop-pod which gives you two new “weapons”. One is essentially a fire hydrant which coats the infected areas in foam, while the other is a hoover that vacuums the badness up. If a wave of enemies comes when you’re doing this, you’ll have to down tools (literally) and go back to combat, but in practice it’s a remarkably creative way to change how Deep Rock Galactic plays, if only for that moment.
The other new idea is the plague hearts found within the meteors. You’re given a warning, but a huge meteor will smash through in a similar way to your initial rig entering the map. The red circle of death is huge, so you’ll need to get out of the way while it smashes into your life. Once it arrives, you’ll need to call down support and create a pipeline towards it. This plays out a bit like Publisher stablemate’s title Satisfactory does, and you need to get the pipe to the meteor.
Once done, drills attach to the meteor, and you have to keep them running and protect them. This involves a lot of running about, repairing, and fending off waves of enemies. When the entire process is over, you’ll have to navigate the lava the meteor has created and collect the strange plague hearts, delivering them to your faithful companion Molly. There will be quite a few to collect as these events are randomised, but the amount of hearts are also random. Getting them will aid your character growth, and Ghost Ship Games says that due to some of the season 3 missions taking longer, you will be rewarded accordingly.
Of course there are new enemies to go with season 3, and one of them requires you to time and place your shots to take it out quickly, otherwise it’s like shooting an armoured tank. At the core, it’s still that wonderful Deep Rock Galactic gameplay you know and love, but Season 3 takes it in an interesting direction, offering new ideas to people who have been supporting the game for a long time.
And that’s the commendable thing, really. Given the initial playable date for this was 2018, Ghost Shop is still coming up with unique, clever ideas that make Deep Rock one of the best multiplayer co-op games around. Rock and Stone, brother.
Deep Rock Galactic season 3 is on the Steam Experimental servers now.