Game Review: Shadow Of Kurgansk

Do you like zombies, do you like crafting, do you like the survival game sub-genre? If so then Shadow Of Kurgansk could very well be your cup of tea. Developed by Yadon Studio and published by Gaijin Distribution Kft, Shadow Of Kurgansk is very much like so many other survival games out there but can it do anything new and creative to stand out from the crowd?

The short answer to that question is no. What we have here is a survival game much like every other on the market right now. Everything here is just so bog-standard that you’ll struggle to find much reason to keep on playing. Lots of gathering and looting for resources. An all too fiddly inventory system, crafting of basic tools and weapons and so on. Shadow Of Kurgansk’s biggest issue is that it is just so cookie-cutter.

I love a good survival game, that’s exactly why I requested a review code for this game. But what is here is just so ‘meh’ that you begin to question why it even exists. There are times when I was playing Shadow Of Kurgansk when it felt as if it hadn’t been finished, just little details that made me think the dev got about 85% into making the game, then just put it out and said ‘fuck it, that’ll do’. It almost feels abandoned or pre-release. 

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Graphically, Shadow Of Kurgansk isn’t a great looker, but it’s not bad either. It has that Borderlands cel-shading art style, only not as refined. There are a few little graphical glitches and some serious examples of obvious pop-in. The whole thing feels very two generations old. I’m playing on an Xbox Series X and really shouldn’t be having these kinds of issues. I think that perhaps ‘optimisation’ is a dirty word to the developers?

Gameplay-wise, I really have very little to say. It’s a survival game and at this point, if you’ve played one, then you’ve played them all. Start out by gathering resources like sticks and stones, make basic tools to gain better resources, craft increasingly better items and so on. This is why devs really need to start bringing new and exciting ideas to the sub-genre and Shadow Of Kurgansk fails to do anything to stand out. Am I being a little too harsh on this game from a small indie developer? Yes and no. I’m a huge fan of the indie game scene and have played a lot of them over the years. I know indie devs are restricted by very small tight budgets and use very small teams, sometimes even one person. But here’s the thing, a new and exciting idea doesn’t cost a penny and you don’t need dozens of people to implement them either. Shadow Of Kurgansk doesn’t have anything new or exciting. If anything, it just rehashing what other games have done so much better before it. 

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Look, I honestly can’t describe Shadow Of Kurgansk as a bad game. Just that it’s a perfectly average and competent one that never really does anything that you’ve not already seen dozens of times already. Looking at the price, the game is selling for around £15 on consoles and just shy of £5 on Steam. For £15, I’d suggest you avoid this and put that cash towards a different and better survival game. For £5… it may be worth a go if you think you’ll get something out of it. But for me, Shadow Of Kurgansk really is a very mediocre title that’ll be lost in the sea of other and better similar games on the market.

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