On June 8th, The Cycle: Frontier finally appeared on Steam. The shooter from Germany sees itself as a competitor for Escape from Tarkov, which also wants to target more casual gamers. The beta was well received, but after release only 52% of the reviews on Steam are positive. What happened?
The shooter year 2022 is sluggish. The big releases from the end of the previous year – like Halo Infinite, Battlefield 2042 and CoD Vanguard – disappointed almost across the board. In addition, service games like CoD Warzone are in a kind of crisis of meaning.
The Cycle: Frontier was therefore for many perhaps the biggest shooter hope of the year, next to Modern Warfare 2. After 2 beta tests, which were very successful and where the game received a lot of praise, many thought that this was the big shooter -bearers of hope for 2022.
But now the release is going differently than many had hoped. Currently, after almost 3,500 reviews on Steam, only 52% of them are positive (as of June 10, 9:51 a.m.). Why is that?
Check out The Cycle: Frontier gameplay trailer below:
The Cycle: Frontier is a “Free Tarkov But In Space”
What kind of game is this? The Cycle: Frontier has had a turbulent development history. German developer YAGER had little success with an original version of the game that was a battle royale.
The game has been switched to a PvPvE gameplay, which is most closely based on Escape from Tarkov. In this form, the game got the addition “Frontier” in the title, and is supposed to be a F2P alternative for Tarkov. In addition, The Cycle: Frontier is less aimed at absolute hardcore players than the military simulation Tarkov.
In an interview a few months ago, the developers revealed to us the philosophy with which The Cycle: Frontier was developed:
In a shooter hope from Berlin you have to take big risks – “That suits Germany very much”
How do players find the shooter? In the two closed beta tests that were available for a few months, the game received generally positive feedback. This was rewarded with strong player numbers and great success on Twitch.
Accordingly, many eagerly awaited the full release, which was only announced when the developers had the feeling that the game was ready. It finally came out on June 8th. But the positive mood could not be carried along smoothly.
Only 52% on Steam: That’s what the players say
The player numbers are strong enough to often be at the top of Steam trends, and the all-time record of around 27,000 concurrent players isn’t bad either. It’s doing pretty well on Twitch too. But only about half of all reviews on Steam are positive.
What are the players praising? If you read through these reviews, you will see a clear trend. There are some things that go down well across the board. This includes:
- Solid gunplay.
- Good sound design.
- Comparatively long time-to-kill (TTK) ensures exciting, strategic gun battles.
- Exciting balance of risk and reward.
- Hardly any waiting times when joining the match (which is a big shortcoming, especially with Tarkov).
Players call The Cycle: Frontier “Free Tarkov, but in space” and take it as a huge compliment. But there are also many things that disturb the community. This includes both bugs and fundamental design issues.
What do the players criticize? There is criticism for some glitches, bugs and crashes that are in the game and sometimes “steal” the players their hard-earned loot. Many negative reviews read as if frustrated players let off steam because of lost gear.
But more fundamental problems are also often criticized. The game is not supposed to be fun, especially for solo players, because the long TTK gives them a big disadvantage and people with better loot have a much too big advantage.
As a user writes in the Steam reviews:
The amount of duos you encounter as a solo player makes the game incredibly frustrating BECAUSE the TTK is so long. Long TTK creates very exciting 1v1’s but makes a 1v2 annoying because you just get destroyed if you can’t surprise the opponents.
Gear balancing is non-existent. Weapons and armor improve drastically with each level and there is almost no variance to allow for counterplay. Weapons that are blue or better don’t have trade offs to balance stats and armor is a very perfunctory “X amount of shield”, no one is going to trade shield buff for stamina recovery, it just doesn’t make sense.
Jon San in the Steam Reviews
Beta players are also frustrated. Many of the biggest bugs that the community felt needed to be fixed for release are still in play. The fact that there are expensive DLC packages in the shop instead is particularly annoying for some. As one player on Steam puts it, “They didn’t do anything to improve the game, but hey, at least they added €100 of DLC” (via Steam)
How are the developers reacting? on Twitter the developers at YAGER have already communicated that they are keeping an eye on the bugs. A hotfix is scheduled for release today, with a larger patch at a later date.
It is currently unknown if and when the major design issues that have been addressed will be fixed.
This kind of Tarkov-esque shooter is becoming something of a trend in the industry right now. According to Leaks, the upcoming CoD should also have a mode that plays like The Cycle or Escape from Tarkov. Here’s what’s known about it:
Leaks to CoD Modern Warfare 2 give professional players hope: “If they do it right, it could save CoD”