When the Internet Hype Machine started talking about Meet Your Maker I didn’t pay much attention. The sense of it I got (based mostly on headlines, I have to admit) was that it was a first person corridor shooter with a level editor included. My days of running through corridors frantically shooting are behind me, for the most part.
But then at launch it came to Playstation Plus Extra, so I figured what the heck, may as well download it and check it out. My first impression was not good. First issue, the aesthetics. Meet Your Maker’s look and feel is all grunge and grotesque. This is 100% personal preference and a lot of developers go with this vibe so it must be popular. Just not with me.
The main gameplay loop is you pick a mission from a war table in your headquarters. (The image at the top of this post is your HQ…seems like a nice place to work, right?) You get transported there and you have to make your way through a base to get a MacGuffin. Early game, at least, you are armed with a kind of crossbow that has 2 bolts (which you have to recover after shooting if you want to keep using the bow), a sword, and a grappling hook. Once you grab the MacGuffin you carry it out of the structure, teleport home and receive materials and various currencies which I’m still trying to figure out. Then you repeat the cycle.
The hook is that every base you raid has been created by another player. That means some of them are cakewalks and some of them are fiendish. So back to that initial bad impression. Issue #2: It so happened that I died over and over on the first base I went to. These bases are filled with both traps and enemies. Honestly more of the former than the latter in most cases. And it is 1 hit, 1 kill. Die and you restart from the ‘front door’ of the base.
In my case a) I was still learning to deal with the traps and b) the person who built this base had a devious mind. It was difficult enough that I ALMOST rage quit the game, but then I slowed down and started thinking. The bases are not randomized so each time I tried to make it through I learned more about where the traps are. Traps can be disabled by attacking them, either with bow or sword. Many only fire once so you can also trigger them and evade to get rid of them, but destroying them grants you resources.
Eventually I got through and decided that was enough of Meet Your Maker… but maybe after I try one more mission. The second base I hit was easy as pie. I knew how to deal with basic traps, and more importantly I had gotten it through my thick skull that this isn’t a base-rush game. This is a game that rewards patience and every base is more a puzzle than a corridor-shooter. I thought “I know that was going to be my last go, but I have time to try just one more mission…”
And then I was hooked.
I have since encountered a few bases that rival that first one, but each time after trying various techniques I finally figure out some game mechanic to deal with the challenge before me.
After running missions for an evening, the next night I had enough resources to try building my own base. The building tools, on console at least, take some time to get comfortable but they work well once you get familiar. Probably easier on a PC. Bases are assigned a maximum point value and everything you add to that base adds to that point value. You have to place a minimum number of defenses for the base to be viable, and there’s a little Harvester robot that walks in and goes to your MacGuffin and comes back out. That robot needs a viable path to its destination (which in turn means players have a viable path to it).
I didn’t have any grand plan and my base, once it was finished, wasn’t much of a challenge but I “Activated” it anyway. By the end of that night 4 players had raided the base (this doesn’t cost you anything). My base had only managed to kill 1 of them. But what is really fun is you can watch a replay of everyone who raids your base. I saw the ways players were avoiding my traps, so I went in and adjusted things. It still isn’t a very dangerous place but the process of watching players beat it, then making changes to try to trip up the next player, is pretty appealing.
The meta game here is built around earning resources to buy new kinds of traps, upgrade your gear, and buy new ‘plots’ for bases (it looks like you can have 100 bases with 10 active at any one time). I’ve barely scratched the surface of this part of the game.
Overall I like it. The bases, at least the ones I’ve been hitting, are not very big. If there were no traps or enemies you could run through them in just a minute or two, which means you can visit a bunch in an evening (once you successfully raid a base you’re not supposed to ever see that base again).
And I am delighted to have an asymmetrical multiplayer game that, for once, rewards patience and thoughtfulness over bunny-hopping and moving as fast as possible. (Bunny-hopping and going fast may also be a viable technique, for all I know, but going slowly and observing is working well for me.)
I would love to see ‘more stuff’ to play with and I guess the developer is known for supporting their games for a long time (they made Dead By Daylight, too) so I’m hoping we see new tools and options added. I would love a ‘theme’ that is less grunge than what we have now, but until then I’ve come to terms with fighting in the filth against enemies who look like they were vat-grown in some dark lab tucked away in the corner of a fertilizer factory or something.
If you don’t have Playstation Plus Extra, Meet Your Maker is $30 (on Steam anyway) which feels like a pretty fair price.
I’ll end now with my one and only tip. If you see one of these, hit it with your sword: