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Marauders Closed Beta Preview - A Sci-Fi Spin On Extraction Shooters

Find out if a new extraction first-person shooter has given Tarkov a run for its money in our Marauders Closed Beta Preview.
Marauders Closed Beta Preview - A Sci-Fi Spin On Extraction Shooters

In the past, extraction shooter games have proven that diverse settings are paramount to a game's success, and Small Impact Games' newest looter shooter, Marauders, finally brings a sci-fi setting to the genre. Raiding bases as a space pirate encapsulate the game's theme and define what the genre can pull off in a deep outer space environment.

My hands-on experience thus far has been restricted to Marauders' closed beta. In this regard, more development is still underway, something that is certainly needed for some of the game's more basic mechanics. Still, Marauders' design and concept are sound, but the gameplay may suffer because of recurring issues. Some are clearly fixable, while others are more concerning.

What is Marauders?

Locker management is a part of the genre. (Picture: Team17)

The idea of a sci-fi tactical shooter that melds WWII and modern weaponry into outer space combat was intriguing. Somehow, there were MG42s and spaceships in the 1990s; we'll permit this creative license. It's an interesting mix of weaponry and aesthetics.

The goal in Marauders is to take your ship to a center map and dock in the area. Then, with your weapons and equipment on hand, your objective is to go in and loot what you want or can. On the way, taking out enemies is usually the most lucrative option; it's also your only way to survive.

Before you enter a match, you must navigate to your locker and choose your equipment; you'll use these when you're in the game. For example, you will use your choice of weapons to fight in PvPvE situations, a staple in extraction games. However, if NPCs or players kill you, you will lose any gear you had on you.

Escaping the area and extracting through a gate with your ship is the only way to take your equipment back to a locker. You also only have 25 minutes to get in and out; otherwise, you will suffocate. All of these mechanics define the genre, and they are present here as well.

What sets Marauders apart from other extraction shooters?

Ship Combat
Every player enters the match in their own ship. (Picture: Team17)

At a first glance, Marauders is in the same ballpark as Escape From Tarkov and Hunt: Showdown. It's pretty clear that much of the inspiration comes from the former, especially in terms of mechanics. However, there are a few reasons to play the sci-fi version of the contemporary theme everyone knows.

First and foremost are the ships. Everyone will begin the match in a spaceship that they can pilot or escape from in a pod. This ship must be taken to the center of the asteroid field where the main map is located. There are a few different maps appearing in the beta, each offering entirely different layouts.

Before docking your ship, you can choose to shoot enemy ships. If you happen to disable one, you can even breach their ship and attempt to kill them. If all ends well, you'll bag tons of additional loot. But other players can (and will) do the exact same thing to you.

Ships can be extremely frustrating. For example, players can have better ships than you if they built or stole them. Better earned ships are one thing, but sometimes, your ship will spawn directly on another ship. Before you know it, your ship is disabled before you could even move. Within a moment, your whole run can end without a start.

The general sci-fi setting also separates the game from other extraction shooters, but beyond that, it's incredibly formulaic. The gameplay is slightly faster and less tedious than Tarkov, albeit not by much. However, there is a significantly greater streamlined feel to Marauders, and it may be more approachable than other options.

Combat and progression in Marauders

Marauders Fight
Fights in Marauders are intense and high stakes. (Picture: Team17)

Gameplay and the loop within are what hold an extraction shooter together. Marauders have some great gameplay and plenty of reasons to come back round after round. There are a ton of guns to unlock, new crafting unlocks, new ships, and the idea of finding better equipment.

Couple that with some tactical gameplay, and the game is golden. Just like Tarkov, every movement you make has purpose or weight. Footsteps are loud, doors might as well be alarms, and shooting an enemy can mean death by someone else as soon as they've heard the shot. Learning when to make any kind of move is part of the gameplay.

Weapons are also incredibly deadly. Most weapons will one-shot kill to the head unless it's a low caliber or an enemy has a ton of armor on. But most of the time, high accuracy is rewarded with an instant kill. However, getting that kill is something else entirely. Weapon control can be tough, and it takes practice to understand how movement affects your shots.

When the game is at its best and you've found some powerful loot, you're nervous until you finally make it out alive. All that gear is the true progression in the game, allowing you to go back in with better equipment (and odds); unless you get one shot, of course.

Bugs that could hurt Marauders

Escape Gate
Use the Escape Gates to successfully extract in a match. (Picture: Team17)

Before delving into this topic, keep in mind that the game is in a closed beta. As a result, many of these bugs could be fixed in future patches. During most of my time with the game, the graphics were good, and the framerate was super smooth. I have no doubts that the game can run well.

However, among the most glaring issues comes from the hit registration. Sometimes shots simply won't connect, even when they clearly should have. For example, I have been planted shooting at a stationary target, and nothing would connect. Then, the target would suddenly move an inch and only later register the shot - just in time for others to hear the entire clip needed to register one shot.

The side of that issue which happens more often is hit registration against surfaces. I have had instances where I shot about a foot or two away from the wall and the bullet still clearly hit an invisible barrier in front of me. This happens far more than bullets simply not registering.

Aside from the bullets, the ship spawns I mentioned earlier were the only other glaring issue. My game crashed once, and I lost all my gear in that run; however, it didn't happen again. Everything else in the game has been smooth.

Verdict for Marauders Closed Beta

Player Model
Marauders is full of different gear models. (Picture: Team17)

Within the extraction shooter genre, Marauders is simply a good game. It has a few unique aspects, but it does the basics really well. For those who have always wanted Escape From Tarkov in space, this is certainly worth a try.

Does the game offer a ton of reasons to leave other entries in the genre? Not really. It's another option that does the formula just as well. The gameplay is fun and the loop is addicting. Each round is intense and full of excitement, and that's what matters. I'll definitely be back in for more matches to get that MG42.

Disclaimer: This preview reflected the author's opinions and was not manipulated financially or otherwise. Marauders was previewed on PC, and Team17 provided the code for the game.

And that's all. For more related content, head to our section dedicated to Marauders guides, news, tips, and more.


Featured image courtesy of Team17.