The unpredictability of the map and an emphasis on environmental danger makes Fear the Wolves feel unique within a genre that sometimes struggles to feel diverse, and we really appreciated the extra thought and effort that has to go into exploration and personal care. Another thing we liked was the maps found while foraging for supplies that would, in turn, lead you helpful stashes hidden out in the world, giving you a side-objective (and a potential lifeline if things are looking grim) on your way to extraction.
There's a lot to like about Fear the Wolves, but it's still not above criticism. Low player counts can be a problem and the experience of going up against 10 players just isn't as interesting as going up against 30. Moreover, communication between allies isn't streamlined and there's also very little to stop your buddy shooting you in the back once you've gathered lots of resources (this happened to us once when we were downed by an opponent, and after the fight our teammate decided to finish the job rather than help us back up). Another issue is the lack of progression - apart from a few cosmetic items that you can unlock with points earned while playing, there's no way to track your progress in general.
Then there are the bugs and glitches. True enough, it's in a much healthier place than it was last year, but there are still some nauseating moments just waiting to hit you. We've been kicked from several games, and we've also encountered a bug that stops us from picking up weapons and opening doors (and in a game like this that's pretty much terminal). We've praised the map, and it's true that it offers variety and personality that a lot of other studios should take note of, but it's also got a few unpolished areas such as unnaturally positioned pieces of scenery, and that kind of oversight can work against the atmosphere that has been so expertly built elsewhere.
Having said all that, we don't want to end on a down note, because we had a much better time with Fear the Wolves than we thought we were going to. It's still not perfect and it could have done with a bit more spit and polish, but Vostok has built a battle royale that dares to be a bit different in a genre that's somewhat stifled by its own conventions. It could have done with more time in development and there's a good chance it's going to struggle considering the wealth of options gamers have in this area, especially considering it launched in the same week as Apex Legends, an altogether more polished experience that has a much more tempting price point. That's a shame because, despite the technical issues that undeniably hold it back, there are interesting and well-implemented ideas here that deserve a larger audience than they're likely to get.