Deep Rock Galactic offers more than just danger, darkness and dwarves

June 8, 2023

By Esteban Ramirez
Staff Writer

Deep Rock Galactic is a cooperative first-person shooter, released on May 13, 2020. Developed by Ghost Ship Games and published by Coffee Stain Publishing. Deep Rock Galactic manages to take itself seriously enough for the combat to be engaging but also thrives in its laid-back, free and silly nature.

Deep Rock Galactic is both the name of the game and the name of the company in the game that players work for. Players will take control of one of four different classes of dwarves in various mining expeditions across an alien planet in squads of up to four. Additionally, the Mission Control guy will alert players when swarms are coming or just poke fun at the players. Solo players have the option of bringing Bosco, a small flying robot that can be given instructions by the player. The four classes each have their own unique primaries, secondaries and two equipment tools. Deep Rock Galactic does the class system well in that none of the classes feel necessary to bring on missions, but they each fulfill a role within the team. Where the driller lacks the ability to reach high places, the scout excels at reaching the roof of the cave quickly. Similarly, where the scout lacks the tools necessary to create alternate paths, the driller can effortlessly tunnel through the cave.

SCREENSHOT BY ESTEBAN RAMIREZ The game begins in the hub.

The caves are infested with swarms of insects that thwart missions constantly. A large number of bugs, which are small and weak Glyphid grunts, come in significant numbers, while the Glyphid Oppressors come more rarely but require more coordination to take down. The flying Mactera spits at players and sometimes even abducts them from their team.

Players are dropped into a mission with three random people they’ve never met with a friendly fire going on, so anyone could ruin it for everyone. Nonetheless, 99% of the time, players get paired with refreshingly fun and nice people.

Deep Rock Galactic thrives in its cave generation. They are full of rare or common minerals. Nitra and gold are the most common, as they can be found anywhere. Gold rewards more credits and experience at the end of a mission. Nitra allows players to call down a resupply pod once enough has been collected. Only certain rarer minerals can be found in certain areas of the planet, and once they are mined, they can be deposited permanently into the players’ inventory. 

SCREENSHOT BY ESTEBAN RAMIREZ A team protects the drilldozer while it drills the Ommoran Heartstone.

Several parts of the planet can only be available at certain times, and each has its own unique ecosystem. Some caves are vibrant and colorful, while some will be dark and full of giant red vines. Caves also have chances of spawning certain optional events for rarer and extra rewards and extra seasonal events like Plaguefall that have players clean the Lithophage infections. Unfortunately, after a while, the missions get repetitive, with little variety in the main missions. They tend to vary from waiting on objectives to mining glowing rocks in the wall. These are fun, sure, but the missions can be more creative. Mining liquid Morkite leads players to build pipelines around the cave to certain areas where the Morkite is exposed. It goes from an empty cave to full of pipes that players can surf back and forth to avoid damage, get around or just to look cool.

SCREENSHOT BY ESTEBAN RAMIREZ A player fights two Dreadnought level bosses

While each class has a handful of its own primaries and secondaries, they can be modified with overclocks. These can either completely change how a weapon is used, such as the scout’s boomstick launching them into the air when shot at their feet or changing them slightly with an increased magazine size at the cost of limited damage. There are many weapon overclocks and each provides the player with the chance to get creative and specialize their loadout.

Deep Rock Galactic has succeeded where other games fall short. The community and players that play the game are so sociable and connected. Players are dropped into a mission with three random people they’ve never met with a friendly fire going on, so anyone could ruin it for everyone. Nonetheless, 99% of the time, players get paired with refreshingly fun and nice people. 

It appears as if everyone you play with is thinking the exact same thing almost all the time. Communication is made easy with the laser pointer, so you don’t need to use game chat, and completing objectives often leads to an uproar of “Rock and Stone.” This phrase is iconic among players for being so universally applicable and funny. If you are lucky enough to find a gold chunk hidden away behind some rock, gathering the team and pointing at it with the laser pointer repeatedly will prompt the phrase “We’re rich!” and later an annoyed message from Mission Control. 

SCREENSHOT BY ESTEBAN RAMIREZ A team points at a chunk of Bittergem, We’re Rich!

The game has an entirely free battle pass with weapon cosmetics, armor cosmetics and extra resources. Scrip earned by doing seasonal events or by progressing through the pass can be spent to get the cosmetics you want for the class you like to play the most.

The game balances fun and tricky exploration and combat with an almost universal sense of happiness from doing things that ultimately do not benefit your progression at all, yet it’s so core to the experience that it makes the game a joy to play.

I give Deep Rock Galactic a 9/10 and highly recommend playing it with friends. While the game is very silly, it allows for more strategy and coordination on higher difficulties. But then again, one must remember it is a game about dwarves in space digging holes, shooting bugs and yelling “We’re rich!” when met with a mass of gold.

SCREENSHOT BY ESTEBAN RAMIREZ A player shoots a Glyphid Praetorian.
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