The Cycle: Frontier review | PC Gamer

Need to know

what is it? A PvPvE extraction shooter.
Expect to pay Free to play
Developer YAGER
Publisher YAGER
Reviewed on Nvidia GeForce GTX-970, Intel i7-4790K, 16GB RAM
multiplayer? yes
Link Official site (opens in new tab)

A sub-genre has been brewing away amid the tide of battle royales and hero shooters. The obtuse shorthand is PvPvE, which essentially means multiple players having to occupy and fight through a shared space full of baddies in the pursuit of competing goals. There aren’t a ton of these kinds of games but they capture something of the potential for memorable stories that you’d get out of a DayZ, with the tighter structure of a competitive match. At their best they are an endless story generator, capitalizing on the scope of possible interactions while applying pressure to have players make increasingly dangerous decisions.

The Cycle: Frontier enters into this fray as a free-to-play title, arguably making it more accessible than many of its peers. You’re a prospector, a gun for hire in a sci-fi setting with a Western twang, dropped from an orbital station in little pods onto a ravaged world to scavenge resources and supplies left behind by the settlers who abandoned the dangerous world due to its terrible storms. As set-ups go it’s ho-hum as it gets, feeling like a derivative of so many sci-fi games it’s barely worth pointing to any other than Outriders—a recent game already maligned for its lack of originality. The Cycle isn’t charmless or crass but its still that uninspired trope of treating space like a literal old west frontier with little in the way of introspection to elevate it, a letdown for a studio who once got the most of out of a tired set Up with Spec Ops: The Line.

(Image credit: YAGER)

Its specific aesthetics are as worn out as the premise, with your usual combination of bland jumpsuits, aliens-esque space armor and military rifles, with the occasional cowboy hat and southern accent to lazily set the tone. That doesn’t stop its alien planet from being lush though, with vibrant colors making all its green fields and glowing mushrooms pop on-screen. None of the landscape is especially memorable but it’s pleasing to the eye while you’re running around at least.

Hazard pay

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