An Overview of Marauders
I quickly returned to the airlock at the bottom of a huge mining station after barely surviving several skirmishes. I had killed several of my enemy marauders, crawling in the shadows as they searched, listening to their heavy footsteps all around me, biding my time.
After filling my makeshift bag with as much ammo, guns, and scrap metal as I could, I had to exit the space station-turned-killbox to escape with my hard-fought loot. I walked into the airlock with guns firing behind me, either at me or at someone else I didn’t know or didn’t care about. I hastily retreated, urging my decrepit spaceship (known as the “Rust Bucket”) to pick up speed and make for the escape doors floating in the open space surrounding the station. As I approached the door, the deafening silence of space was suddenly shattered by dull explosions erupting all around me.
My Rust Bucket had already caught fire upon entering and was out of breath as a waiting marauder raked the hull with his weapons. Several direct hits later, a message rang in my ears: “Abandon ship! Critical damage!” I did as I was told, leaving my poor little garbage ship to die in the deep vacuum of space while I exploded in my little escape pod, heading straight for the escape door. I had lost my ship, but I had kept my life.
On the way to the door, I had a sudden urge for revenge. Despite the loot I was carrying, I was always ready to go on my raid, recycling my damaged starting gear with items I had confiscated from marauding enemies I had downed in the station. I quickly turned around with the escape pod, heading straight for the enemy ship that had turned my humble Rust Bucket into Swiss cheese. I blasted my way through the ship’s hull using the breaching charge from the escape pod, puncturing its exterior.
Once inside, I quickly overwhelmed the sole crewman steering the ship, making good use of my 12 gauge shotgun. I scanned the ship to make sure they were alone , and killing them, I commandeered their ship. It was also a Rust Bucket, but hey, I took a ship like a real marauder. I arrived at the emergency door with all my loot and all theirs, surviving to fight another day. It was truly one of the most interesting and organic moments I’ve ever had while playing an online game.
Then, on my very next run, I was immediately bothered by someone camping out in the airlocks, losing almost everything I had just fought so hard for. But hey, that’s the name of the game.
Marauders is an intense and hardcore FPS looter-shooter from Low impact games. It takes place in an alternate version of our reality, in the distant year of 1992. You play as a marauder – a space raider forced into a life of theft and plunder by war and oppression. The Great War never ended, which means that many of the weapons and equipment found on the various space stations are heavily modeled after World War II weaponry. Three factions are fighting for their survival, with a host of abandoned space stations and mines strewn all around the outer rim just waiting to be attacked.
Marauders wears its main inspiration on its sleeve – the gameplay is remarkably similar to that of the world famous phenomenon from Battlestate Games Escape from Tarkov. Marauders and Tarkov share a ton of the same DNA – both are hardcore loot shooters with a huge focus on survival. Each run you do lets you choose from a vast inventory of weapons and gear you’ve amassed, and if you get downed during your run (which is extremely likely due to the fast kill times of these games), you lose everything about yourself.
The main objective of both games is to get in, loot as much gear and gear as possible, and get out without dying. Both have storefronts where unwanted gear can be sold when buying new gear. Both have crafting systems that allow you to produce better gear in larger quantities. Both result in a total loss on death. Both play like a huge game of risk and reward; bring out your best gear to help you kill more enemies, but risk losing everything in the process. Both have a minimal HUD and rely on you to pay attention to your surroundings to succeed.
Marauders differs from Tarkov in two major areas: space travel and setting. Each match starts in a ship, which is yet another commodity that you can acquire and lose. There are several tiers of ships, each with their strengths and weaknesses. There’s the aforementioned Rust Bucket, which is the starter ship. The Scout Frigate is a faster and tougher version of the Rust Bucket. The Interceptor Frigate is designed for speed at the expense of armor. The Heavy Frigate is a medium-sized, heavily armored ship that sacrifices speed for durability. The Vulture Frigate is a well balanced ship. And finally, the Capital Ship, the largest and best armored ship in the game, has two weapon slots instead of one.
Each of these ships can be piloted and crewed by multiple people who can be assigned different responsibilities. One has to pilot the ship, another can use the cannons, with another focusing on running the ship’s engines by putting out the fires that spread when damage is taken. Everyone must first do it to the station to raid, weaving between a slew of asteroids, automated turrets, other marauder ships, and escape pod embarkations. In addition to this, the same airspace must be traversed to exit raids, returning through the escape doors. All of these ships except the Rust Bucket can be permanently stolen while you’re piloting them, as well as left behind if you die in stations or escape via an escape pod rather than a ship . Adding this extra obstacle really drives home the point that Marauders wants to make – space is dangerous, and you knew it.
The second unique aspect that Marauders brings is the overall setting. Escape from Tarkov takes place in the fictional city of Tarkov in Russia. Massive swaths of land separate the loot-filled buildings, with a major strategy being whether or not you decide to engage or try to hide to let enemies through. If they are obviously better prepared than you, it may be to your advantage to let them go and cut your losses rather than trying to fight back and be destroyed. The location allows for easy concealment.
Marauders, on the other hand, takes place in exclusively cramped and cramped environments. The halls of a dieselpunk market station or mining rig are much more restrictive and confined than those of the Tarkov countryside. This means the ability to hide is greatly reduced, leading to a lot more random firefights and scrambles. I found that nearly every interaction I had with PCs and NPCs ended in a desperate exchange of bullets, making every encounter even more tense. It’s much easier to see a marauder hiding behind a stack of pallets than a scav hiding in the trees of Tarkov, and I was crawling more often than not down each hallway at a snail’s pace, my heart beating out of my chest. . From the moment you set foot on a station until the moment you come to an evacuation ring, you are not safe and you feel it.
Marauders is still in development, and as such there are still some tweaks that could benefit. The steps are far too loud for their own good. I often scrambled for cover because I heard the telltale footsteps of an enemy marauder, only to realize after a few minutes of sweaty hands I heard people moving two or three stories up above me, or in several corridors.
Hit detection can be a little wonky at times, often reading body hits as head hits and vice versa. NPCs (commonly referred to as “raiders” versus PC “marauders”). The AI leaves a lot to be desired, often staring at the ground until you enter a room. That’s about all the complaints I have though, and most of them don’t detract much from the base experience. The WWII-inspired retro-future weapons and gear are genuinely interesting and unique, while the setting creates an incredibly tense atmosphere rarely bogged down by boredom and bouts of nothing like the usual looter shooters. Additionally, double-tapping the F1 button lets you yell “fuck you!” to your opponents. Everything works really well.
If you like hardcore loot shooters and inventory management, chances are you really enjoy Marauders. While I’m not really into games of that ilk, I find myself continually thinking about the Marauders and how exciting it is to sneak around a space station with the threat of permadeath looming over you. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see Mauraders gracing our trending Twitch streams in the near future, and from what I’ve played, it’s rightly deserved. It’s ultimately a very solid and satisfying experience, and I can’t wait to hop into my next Rust Bucket and try my luck against my fellow marauders in a fight to the death for the shiniest things.
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