Vicious Circle Review

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Vicious Circle by Rooster Teeth games is a new cooperative multi-player shooter that we couldn’t let it pass by without reviewing. Below you’ll be able to know what this game is all about and whether or not it is the game for you. I’m Retroark (formerly known as Godfrey) and my mission is to bring unbiased content, harnessing the power of the Geekisphere so that geeks have a place to trust when looking about information for their favorite products.

 

As a fan of Bendy and the Ink Machine and RWBY, I was very interested in what Rooster Teeth was bringing to the table with this game, though jumping in without a shred of expectation. Here’s what I found about Vicious Circle.

The Game

Vicious Circle is an (un) cooperative multi-player shooter in which mercenaries compete for loot against a terrifying monster. Dirty tricks are the key to victory, and only one player can come out on top and that is exactly what is in store for you when you decide to jump into the action.

Specs

MinimumRecommendedUsed
  • OS: 64-bit Windows 10
  • CPU: Intel Core i5 5300u or equivalent
  • RAM: 8 GB System Memory
  • GPU: NVIDIA GTX 760 or equivalent
  • GPU RAM: 2 GB Video Memory
  • HARD DRIVE: 20 GB of free space
  • OS: 64-bit Windows 10
  • CPU: Intel Core i7-8700 or equivalent
  • RAM: 16 GB System Memory
  • GPU: NVIDIA GTX 1060 or equivalent
  • GPU RAM: 3 GB Video Memory
  • HARD DRIVE: 20 GB of free space
    • Windows 10 Home 64-bit
    • OS: 64-bit: Windows® 10 (latest updates)
    • Processor: Core i7-4790k
    • Memory: 32 GB RAM
    • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 (6 GB)

Basics

I came into this game without knowing what to expect. Rooster Teeth intrigued me with their first title ever launched. I was ready to experience what they had to bring to the table. What I found was an interestingly different adaptation of the battle royale format that focuses around small groups of players rather than large servers.

But what it lacks in player count, it makes up for in many other attributes. Or at the very least, it attempts to, admirably. Vicious Circle‘s design is rather interesting. It takes concepts from the survival horror genre (Dead by Daylight for example) and mixes them playfully with concepts from the battle royale genre in interesting ways.

Focusing on small games of five players, Vicious Circle pits four prospective players against a massive monster chicken alien called Peggy Sue controlled by the fifth player. Almost every part of the game is oozing with inspiration, from story to character acting to gameplay. However, I cannot help but feel that while playing this game, it lacks many things that would be crucial to its success in the gaming world.

Gameplay

The game harnesses a blisteringly fast-paced style which forces players to run and hide, attack aliens and even each other to pinch out a victory for themselves. It is fast and fun, pitting you against the creature and other players indirectly.

The most interesting part about the game, from the survivor perspective, is the after-death gameplay. After you are inevitably “gobbled up” by Peggy Sue, you will become a Lil’ Dipper. At this point your only hope to win is to give those living prospectors a good old fashion face hugging resulting in you taking their body. This gives the game an interesting concept of balance. While living, other players are indirect opposition to you. It is only after they die that they become direct opposition to you. Friends become enemies and enemies become aliens!

There is little to no real incentive to winning a game in the current build of the game. Long-term viability is an issue that I have sensed in my time. As of now, different color variants for characters are the only form of rewards. Unfortunately, after around 15 hours of playing time, I have found myself done with it. While the game is fun at the beginning, it isn’t really appealing to play in the long-term. This will probably change given some time, but there seems to be a bigger issue with the game that may not change.

Balance

The combat so fast that it is often difficult to keep up with. This is a higher skill cap game than I had expected, pitting you against other players in the lightning fast gameplay that punishes you hard for the smallest mistakes. While this may is fun, I’ve found that both the time to kill across the board is way too fast. Lil’ Dippers take just about two shots, while they rip your character from your grasp in about four. When set upon by multiple Lil’ Dippers, your chances to survive are slim.

Most matches end far too quickly, long before I can even really get into them. I cannot help but feel that, as a gamer who enjoys games I can really sink my attention into, there is not enough in these matches to get me invested. With that said, if you don’t enjoy investing a ton of time into a single match, this game may be for you.

Story & Characters

As far as the story goes, the game doesn’t have too much going for it. Vicious Circle doesn’t bother spending much time on story development. The game opens with a standard tutorial before throwing you into the fray. The sense of humor is very strong, the game not taking itself too seriously and telling you immediately that this will be a funny game rather than a serious one. However, this sense of humor dies pretty quickly.

The characters themselves are rather shallow, only really spitting out one liner jokes as character gameplay archetypes. They don’t have the Overwatch charm, which is one reason the characters in Vicious Circle are so forgettable. It’s not bad, but not particularly attention grabbing. it’s just okay.

Viability & Monetization

Something to keep in mind when deciding to invest in this game is that the game is being updated. The current state of the game is probably less than ideal, especially on the community side of things. As balance and content patches continue to flow into the game, it may very well turn out to be worth buying and playing extensively.

Unfortunately, it just is not there yet and I can not say I could recommend it given the tough competition there is in the same price range and similar genre.

Final Verdict

At $19.99, Vicious Circle is an interesting little game. Its core gameplay is interesting, but ultimately produces nothing that would keep you invested in it. The gameplay heavily depends on luck, even for the best players. It attempts to invoke the battle royale genre but without true PvP it feels rather muted. It feels like it is meant for playing with friends, but with very little content and gameplay to offer I can’t say that it can compete with the catalog of available games in the genre.

Personal Opinion

Personally I think this game would’ve been a lot more fun as 4 vs 1 vs 4 instead. If you had teams and tactics to work with and Peggy Sue running around, it would’ve had more meat. In my time playing, I realized that aside from Peggy Sue and the Lil Dippers; you have no real reason to be carrying a gun. For a game taking place in the first-person shooter genre, there is often an odd lack of real shooter elements in it. Everything you shoot is one of three things:

  • Melee aliens
  • A giant chicken monster
  • Nugget piles that sit rather still

Compounded on this, the inexplicably high skill cap and the oddly competitive style set up for the game, just makes the whole thing feel off. I can only hope that this is not the case and that this system is more so trying to be open to season by season updates for content unlocking.

Whether it is gameplay, menus, strategy, balance or unlocks, something just feels slightly off about everything in the game. Honestly, the game feels like a beta concept for a competitive game, which is fine I guess, but I don’t particularly believe that the concept behind it is strong enough to be competitive by any means. I may be wrong in this assumption however.

It feels like a party game in some aspects but competitive in other ones, leading to it being oddly frustrating to play. I feel as if I shouldn’t take it seriously during gameplay but with a brutally high skill cap. Sadly, without the community needed to allow you to get better. It can be extremely frustrating. Especially when half or more of the deaths in the game happen in less than three shots. During this time I have concluded that the game should go free-to-play. And I have to agree with that statement. I believe that Vicious Circle would have a stronger community and stronger gameplay without its initial payment. 

Update

In the time it has taken me to write this review, the community that existed seems to have dropped off severely. I planned on making a video for this game so I jumped into the game to capture some footage for it. I sat in the queue for about 3 hours before finally deeming it a lost cause. Because Vicious Circle is an online only game, there is no gameplay at all without other players. If even at only five players per match, there is difficulty finding matches, I have serious concerns about the state of the games survival. Because of this, I cannot recommend buying this game unless you have four others you know will play it with you.

Good

  • Interestingly designed gameplay
  • Quick paced and fun at times
  • Very good sense of humor
  • Easy to learn
  • Quick matches with no time investment
  • Plenty of skins, sprays, emotes and more to unlock
  • Free battle pass

Bad

  • The gameplay never really feels satisfying
  • So fast it is hard to keep up with at times
  • Most humor dies off hard after the tutorial
  • The game feels unfinished/lacking
  • The community is small
  • $19.99 for something that feels like it should be FTP
  • Matches end fast, hard to get invested in a match
  • Punishing skill cap early on
  • Battle pass seems arbitrary compared to a simple unlock progression system
  • In its current state, only about 28 hours of gameplay
4.5

Poor

Story - 2.5
Characters - 5
Gameplay - 5
Balance - 3
Viability & Monetization - 4
Soundtrack - 6
Graphics - 6
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