Rust Console Edition Review: An Uneven Survival Experience

Rust Console Edition is a solid survival sim that refuses to fix some of its biggest issues.

Who doesn’t love a good survival game? If you are anything like me, you’ll find yourself in the occasional daydream, wondering how well you’d manage on a stranded island or what you would actually do in the post-apocalypse. Well, maybe we don’t wonder so much about the second anymore...

 

However, the survival genre negates the need to focus on these what-if scenarios, providing us with the satisfying sensation of being stripped of everything and surviving off the land.  

 

Now console players will be adding another survival experience to their line-up with Rust Console EditionAnyone that has even dabbled in the likes of Ark: Survival Evolved or The Forest will immediately recognize the game's gather, build, and survive structure. However, like a tired Walking Dead trope, it is the people who are the real monsters here. And they're both the game’s biggest issue and its largest saving grace. 

 

While this console port may have some issues, it manages to capture the tension-ridden essence of survival, and making it out alive will take wits, gumption, perhaps some negotiation skills, and a whole load of patience. 

 

Rust Console Edition Review: An Uneven Survival Experience

Rust Console Edition arrives on PS4 and Xbox One a full eight years after its initial introduction on PC back in 2013. Following that PC release, the game quickly garnered an avid community that merrily chopped down trees, chipped away at rocks, and barbarically murdered one another; and for the majority of that time, I was blissfully unaware of its existence.

 

As I woke up for the first time in Rust, with such little knowledge of the game, I was relatively surprised by the calming sight of a tranquil coast and the easing sound of water lapping nearby. A rusted boat laid askew in the distance, and a couple of half-naked but innocent-looking bystanders jumped enthusiastically as I approached.

 

I was greeted through in-game comms, and I quietly got excited over the prospect of this social survival experience. It was almost…nice. Then one of those bystanders took out a rock and beat me to death with it.  

 

From that first bludgeoning, it's clear that Rust Console Edition has maintained its unforgiving (and popular) approach to survival. While elements such as food, water, and the external NPC attacks are relatively simple to handle  at least in the earlier hours of the game those half-naked wanderers elevate the tension surrounding gathering by placing value on the resources you hold. 

 

Too often would I be obliviously hacking at some trees when I’d hear the all too familiar thud of a blood-soaked stone. Why gather the resources yourself when you can just kill someone that’s already done it for you?

 

For my first few hours with the game, I found myself in a brutal cycle of collecting wood and crafting the essentials, then being struck from behind with a hastily formed arrow, impaled with a spear, or worse yet, shot by a geared-up player with an actual gun. 

 

 

Luckily, rather than become utterly frustrated by this endlessly circular process, I leaned into the simulation aspect of Rust Console Edition as I began to hide in the bushes to avoid detection, scout open plains before charging across them, and yes, even hunting a few hapless souls myself.

 

I hadn’t realized how much I was enjoying this approach until I found myself stooped behind a rock, watching one survivor flee from two bow-wielding hunters that pursued with obvious hostile intent. As they looted the corpse, I made a run for it, and my heart skipped a beat as through the comms I heard: “I think I just saw someone up that hill!”. 

 

It was an exhilarating experience that culminated as the two surrounded me. I tried to explain that I didn’t have much to steal, but of course, this did little to dissuade either party, and I swiftly found myself full of arrows. 

 

However, even though a majority of those you cross paths with will kill you without hesitation for a measly pack of wood, there were the odd occasions where that social survival experience I had hoped for began to rear its head. 

 

My first night was spent huddled around a campfire with four other survivors. I later bumped into another survivor — each of us with spears drawn — and after I asked for help, they gave me valuable tips on how to get set up quickly.

 

While the world of Rust can be incredibly hostile, it also contains moments of levity and community, which captures the sense of survival far more than any other game in the genre.

 

 

Sadly, by capturing a very real-time sense of survival with growing plants, a day/night cycle, and decaying buildings, Rust Console Edition ignores one of its biggest flaws. Whether you are a half-naked newbie with nothing but a trusty stone and torch, or someone sitting on a mountain of supplies, everything you own is left in the server lobby the second you log out, just waiting to be looted. 

 

It’s not just your supplies that are left behind, however, as Rust also abandons any semblance of a fair experience for those who only have a couple of hours to play on the weekend.

 

If I decided that I wanted to play something else for the week, I would first need to ensure that my hut had the needed supplies to stay supported – which requires a daily resource fee of whichever materials your building is made of. And if I didn’t have the time to mine hundreds of rock and wood, I’d be left with nothing but that torch and stone once again.

 

Quite often, if I found myself without shelter, I would question whether to push on or not, knowing that I only had the time to build a hut that would be invaded the second I logged off. Then there were the times I did prepare a solid hut, with locks and upgraded stone walls, only to find it completely missing when I next logged into that server. 

 

 

Many of the server issues could be overlooked if the gameplay translated well from PC to console, but as many will surely expect, that is simply not the case. Running feels sluggish, and mining for materials is tedious. Get into a match against a hostile, and the flip of a coin might as well decide the outcome because of the imprecise, dull, and weightless attacks. 

 

Base building, on the other hand, is approachable, quick, and simple. Upgrading and fortifying your shelter is merely limited by the supplies you hold, so when my gears began turning on the sorts of bases I could build, it was easy to envision exactly how to do that. 

 

Gameplay overall, however, leaves much to be desired and asks the player to put in too much work – whether that be through role-playing or relying on Rust's social features – to create an immersive experience. 

 

Rust Console Edition Review —The Bottom Line

 

Pros

  • Excellent social chat implementation
  • Robust survival experience
  • Unforgiving online players

Cons

  • Sluggish gameplay
  • Unforgiving online players
  • Penalizes players that can’t play constantly

Ultimately, there is a great game somewhere in Rust Console Edition. Mixing its social aspects, which allow you to approach and talk to anyone, with such a formidable survival experience is a neat inclusion that makes for some of my most memorable moments in a genre game. I don’t think running into a fellow Scot and chasing down a pumpkin-headed individual together will ever get old, and spotting the ominous glow of a nearby survivor at night continues to give me goosebumps. 

 

However, with an unforgiving logged-off state and other players constantly murdering and looting you, it feels impossible to imagine having a fully equipped save for any real length of time  at least not within dozens if not hundreds of hours in the game. 

 

While the console port has no immediately noticeable issues for someone like me (who has never played the PC version), there is an almost indescribable slowness to Rust Console Edition, whether that be through menu management, traversal of the map, or combat. 

 

However, compare it to the console port of something like Ark, and you’ll begin to see that Rust manages to translate to consoles without ever feeling too much like a PC game. With that said, if you’re looking for a robust survival sim mixed in with sometimes immersive, occasionally hilarious, and often infuriating social aspects, Rust Console Edition may be worth your time.

 

[Note: Double Eleven provided the copy of Rust Console Edition used for this review.]

Our Rating
6
Rust Console Edition is a solid survival sim that refuses to fix some of its biggest issues.
Reviewed On: Playstation 4

Contributor

I am a freelance journalist from Scotland, writing, debating and sometimes video making about all things film and games.

Published May. 26th 2021

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