Cyberpunk has been the subject of many games recently and I for one am all for it. The past couple of years have been very good for the cyberpunk genre with the release of VA-11 Hall-A and the soon to be released Cyberpunk 2077. The worlds that are painted for the player to explore are always super interesting. The cyberpunk motif brings a brief look into what people used to think the future was going to be like. Any time a studio does anything remotely cyberpunk I get very excited. This led me to Conglomerate 451, a recently released cyberpunk first-person dungeon crawler from RuneHeads. I was super excited because Conglomerate 451 combined two of my favorite elements into one game, cyberpunk and dungeon crawling. However, as I started playing the game my excitement went away and I found something that was just a bleak as the cyberpunk setting that it takes place in.
Conglomerate 451‘s core gameplay is a first-person roguelike dungeon crawler that has the player work as the head of a specialized task force to eliminate crime in the city by any means necessary. The player controls a squad of three clones to take on the causes of unrest in the city. The play can choose to play through the 75-week story or in true roguelike style to just keep going without an end. The tutorial is really helpful and after that, you are introduced to your hub where you can clone new soldiers, research new gear, and other aspects that will help you against these gangs.
After you assemble your first squad you are tasked with exploring the city and completing your first mission. After completing the first mission you’re given the option to just start from where the mission is and bypass the city. It is nice but why even include the city to begin with? I understand that you can buy new items in the city but most of them aren’t as good as what I already had. I didn’t really feel the need to go back to the city as I wasn’t having any issues with any of the missions. The enemies and their animations feel stale and very robotic. Characters that you control are customizable in terms of skills and backgrounds but not their looks leaving to you see the same NPCs over and over.
The biggest thing that I believe holds Conglomerate 451 back from being a truly must-play game are a few quality of life aspects that are normal to the RPG genre. The battle HUD is very bare. In order to actually see your stat points like HP, Shield, and Battery you must hold a button that will open another menu in order to view them. Otherwise, all you have when you’re in the middle of combat are just bars that deplete. The resource management in battle is a chore that took me out of the experience completely. I’m red-green colorblind and it was very hard for me to even tell where my health bar was during battle which caused one of my operatives to die. Another part that made me mute my sound is how your droid partner constantly talks during missions. It is not something that’s informative either, it is all “RAWR XD” one-liners that are repeated over and over again. Sometimes they say the same thing not even 10 seconds later. Luckily the developers patched in the option to mute droids so they are listening to feedback.
Hopefully the developers add more quality of life fixes to create an experience better for players. I do believe that Conglomerate 451 can be a truly amazing experience but I don’t believe its anywhere near that as of yet. I believe RuneHeads truly wants to make the best experience possible and I will revisit Conglomerate 451 after a couple of patches to see how it has evolved.
*Please note the screenshots are taken from a pre 1.10 patch of the game.
Conglomerate 451 Review
Some less than optimal choices prevent Conglomerate 451 from being a truly amazing experience.
Amazing cyberpunk setting
A lot of customization options
Repetitive gameplay even by dungeon crawling standards
Unable to customize operatives.
Unable to view HP/Shield/ Battery stats from battle screen