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Desolate is an Indie-budget First-Person Wide Open Survival Sandbox game for the PC. It was released under Steam's Early Access program in February 2018, with the full game finally being released in January 2019. It is based on the developer's previous game, Beyond Despair, which was released in 2017 only to be a commercial failure resulting in the closure of the development studio. The dev team reformed under a new studio and heavily overhauled Beyond Despair into Desolate.
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The game is heavily inspired by the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series, taking place during the Soviet era on the island of Granichny, the research hub of the New Light Conglomerate. The island is overrun with mutants and paranormal phenomena in the wake of Day X, when New Light's founder Victor Ognin went rogue and deliberately plunged the world into chaos releasing monsters and anomalies across the world. Players take the role of a Volunteer, an agent of New Light tasked with exploring Granichny in search of a means of reversing the horrors Ognin has unleashed upon the world.

Desolate has a significant emphasis on melee combat, with firearms and the ammo for them being very rare and hard to come by. The game also supports up to 4 player co-op.

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Desolate provides examples of:

  • Back Stab: You can purchase a skill that gives you this ability. It one-hit kills regular enemies and does decent damage against Elite Mooks. A second skill lets you Dash Attack enemies from behind while stealthed; it deals less damage but can be initiated from a longer distance.
  • Bears Are Bad News: The Grutch is a mutated bear; it's one of the toughest mutants on the island and is generally best avoided unless you have a specific side quest to kill one. The Grutch Alpha, a King Mook version of the Grutch fought at the end of the Biologist's hunting sidequest, is even tougher.
  • Bonus Boss: The game's two full-on boss fights, the Butcher and the Blindman, are part of optional side quests. Because of the game's quest structure, it's also extremely likely that you won't fight the Blindman until after finishing the main campaign.
    • Puzzle Boss: The Butcher and Blindman have 60,000 and 80,000 hp respectively, compared to just 700 - 1000 hp for most standard enemies. They're so tough that it's not really practical to kill them with normal combat alone. Fortunately, there are ways to deal massive damage to them using the environment in their boss arenas.
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  • Boss in Mook's Clothing: The Hunter, Wanogah, and Grutch mutants are quite rare, but extremely dangerous. Enough so that it's often justified to spend your precious bullets in order to kill them before they kill you.
  • Continuing Is Painful: Every time you die, you lose all of your accumulated money, with no means of re-retrieving it. There's a high-level perk that gives you a 15% chance of keeping your money whenever you die, but those are still pretty crappy odds. You also have to retrieve the contents of your backpack from your corpse after respawning.
  • Defector from Decadence: 400, your Mission Control, defects from New Light after learning they murdered his wife and daughter. He's replaced by another Mission Control who's more loyal to New Light.
  • Diesel Punk: Similar to Bioshock and the Fallout series, Desolate has art deco architecture combined with sci-fi elements such as gauss rifles and glowing energy cells.
  • Downer Ending: When you finally confront Victor Ognin, he turns out to be a super anomaly and reveals that he accidentally destroyed the world on Day X when he turned himself into an anomaly, and that Grenichny is simply a reality he created, with everything on the island (including everyone you interacted with) being nothing more than a reflection of his mind. He also reveals that you are the embodiment of his conscience trying futilely to set things right, explaining your Protagonist Without a Past status. The Ognin anomaly then makes you kill yourself, causing you to wake up back at the safehouse and realize you're stuck in an infinite loop for the rest of eternity.
  • The Dragon: The New Light Officer seems to be this to Ognin, given that he has the keycard to Ognin's heavily fortified bunker.
  • 11th-Hour Superpower: You don't get the ability to harvest anomalies for artifacts until the second-to-last mission of the main campaign.
  • Elite Mooks: Marauder Thugs and New Light Sergeants are tougher and better armored than the regular mooks, and use more advanced melee attacks.
  • Hand Cannon: The game's 3 pistol models appear to be cut-down 7.62mm rifles modified for usage as pistols, similar to the real-life Russian "Obrez" pistols of World War 2. They deal quite a lot of damage per shot, but ammo is also quite rare.
  • King Mook: The unique quest targets Maniac, Reverend, and New Light Officer all have a little over twice as much health and armor compared to the Elite Mooks.
  • Luxury Prison Suite: Victor Ognin is supposed to be the world's most wanted man and living in exile hunted by the New Light Conglomerate and the Soviet government. Except in the very final mission he abruptly turns out to be secretly ruling Grenichny island with his own private army from a massive luxury art deco doom fortress in the northeast edge of the island.
  • Mêlée à Trois: The mutants, the Marauder bandits, and the New Light soldiers are all hostile towards each other as well as the player. Predators such as the Dorgs will also chase after herbivore creatures such as Gorlans and Quackers.
  • Mook Lieutenant: Marauder Chieftains and New Light Captains carry pistols, making them a greater threat than their melee weapon wielding subordinates.
  • Mooks but No Bosses: At no point in the main quest do you ever fight a full-on boss. You occasionally have to fight a Boss in Mook's Clothing enemy like the Wanogah, or a King Mook like the New Light Officer, but none of them rise to the level of a full boss fight. The game's 2 actual bosses, the Butcher and the Blindman, are both encountered solely in optional side quests.
  • Non-Indicative Name: One mission involves infiltrating the island's underground tunnels, which are infested with deadly humanoid mutants who are individually weak but come in significantly larger numbers than any other enemy. Likely due to quirky Russian-to-English translation, this swarming pack of legion-like enemy hordes is called... the Mob.
  • Regenerating Shields, Static Health: Enemies with "psy" armor (Sapsys, Hunters, and Wanogah) can regenerate their "psy" armor over time if you don't press your attacks against them.
  • Sanity Meter: Goes down when near enemies, you can restore it with cigarettes, alcohol, or "medicinal" joints. When low, you'll experience sanity effects such as strange noises off in the distance or red sky whales swimming through the air.
  • Unique Enemy:
    • Acolytes are found solely in the Church area; they're mostly identical to Marauders, except they use electrified weapons and throw electric grenades instead of Molotov cocktails.
    • You only fight about 3 Wanogah in the entire game; 5 if you really wander around in the Mob-infested Underground tunnels.
    • The Mob itself is only encountered in one main quest and one side quest.
  • Vengeful Ghost: Besides the mutants and anomalies, Granichny is also haunted by an angry child ghost named Lily who will periodically jumpscare you while you're exploring various key locations around the island.
  • The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: The massive New Light doom fortress isolated in the North East corner of the map turns out to be the location of the game's final mission.
  • Viewers Are Geniuses: Completing the main quest involves solving puzzles that require you to know Morse Code and Binary. Of course, you can always just google a translator.
  • Was Once a Man: The Hunters and Wanogahs both appear to be heavily mutated humans. This is also true of the Butcher and the Blindman. Towards the end of the game you learn that all anomalies are created from humans.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Ognin's Voice with an Internet Connection Donell is never seen or mentioned against after the prologue chapter in which you play as Ognin.

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