Deep Rock Galactic Season 3 is upon us and is scheduled to launch this November. The new season adds biome-altering special effects to Hoxxes IV, as well as brand new grenades and a new activity waiting to be discovered in the monster-filled mines. Prior to the start of Season 3, I played through an instance of the new activity, which has two stages.
In the first phase, you’ll clear Rockpox nests, while in the second, you’ll mine the Rockpox-infested asteroids that bring the contagion to the planet. Of the two, I liked the former the best, where you must work with your team to track down and then clear nests of Glyphid Grunts and Glyphid Praetorian that have been infected with the Rockpox contagion. The disease causes bulbous growths on the creatures – these are the only weak points in their otherwise impenetrable outer shells.
Deep Rock Galactic has always been a swarm-based cooperative shooter, similar to Left 4 Dead or Back 4 Blood, but with more clearly defined classes and roles per player within the team. Compared to previous seasons, the new enemy types don’t really add anything substantial to the gameplay experience. You’re still shooting at a bunch of enemies, only now you have to be careful to only shoot specific spots at the enemy instead of wantonly spraying everywhere. I did enjoy the spooky new designs for the infected though.
What I enjoyed most was the accompanying nest mechanic that comes with these new enemy hordes. The nests that spawn Rockpox-infected enemies must be cleaned in order to be destroyed. As you approach the nests, you will also slowly become infected, meaning you’ll need to keep an eye on your Rockpox infection level as you delve into the mines. Decontamination of them is a cooperative process, requiring part of your party to coat the bright red nests with gel-like goo while the rest vacuum the nests’ now weakened tendrils. While this is happening, enemies will continue to spawn and fight back, so it’s good to have someone on duty for Glyphid Cleansing as well.
I really like the collaborative nature of the activity, which has always been Deep Rock Galactic’s forte over similar experiences. The abilities associated with each of the individual classes – Engineer, Gunner, Driller, and Scout – already encourage players to take on specific roles during each field trip, which helps make everyone feel somewhat useful. Unfortunately, many of the new activities that have been added in recent seasons have strayed a bit from this, focusing mostly on shooting and subsequently favoring the Gunner. It was nice that the more supportive roles felt more useful during the new nest clearing activity, where it helped to have teammates focused on exploration and movement to find the farthest corners of a given nest and eradicate them entirely.
That praise doesn’t quite translate easily to the other half of the new activity, which requires your dwarven team to dig into a giant crystallized asteroid to access the valuable Plague Heart resources hidden within. This activity seems to favor the shooter, as you’ll have to fend off waves of enemies while protecting and maintaining the drills penetrating the asteroid.
Of course, these new activities aren’t the only missions you can take on when you join an Expedition. They are assigned to your mission objectives alongside several others, which usually describe a specific mineral that you must collect as well. For these other objectives, Engineer, Driller, and Scout still shine the most. And that’s great, don’t get me wrong, but I just wish the objectives for these new seasonal activities provided more opportunities for the more supportive classes to shine. In the end, the seasonal activities always seem to come back to shooting, which is the whole Gunner class thing. I want more activities focused on exploration and exploration so the other classes can shine a little bit more.
At the very least, every class in Season 3 is getting a little bit deadlier thanks to the new grenades coming into play. The Engineer gets my favorite, the Shredder Swarm, which when it explodes scatters a horde of hostile Blades darting through the air in search of loot. The Scout’s Voltaic Stun Sweeper is also quite fun, as it booms through the air to hit enemies multiple times. Alongside these two, the shooter gets the Tactical Leadbuster, which fires bullets in all directions on detonation, and the driller acquires the Spinloaded Ripper, which fires three rows of razor blades in an explosive shotgun-like blast.
Deep Rock Galactic continues to be quite a bit of fun, and the new offering of content in Season 3 should keep fans excited for another season as they work their way through a brand new Battle Pass and collection of cosmetics to unlock. Or, if you’re like me, the new content offers a good excuse to hop back in with friends for a few rounds, even without having to buy into the Battle Pass. Much like Mark Delaney, Editor of GameSpot Guides, I feel like I’ve already reached the pinnacle of the Battle Pass between all the live service games I already play regularly. I don’t think I can reasonably invest in anyone else at this point. But having a reason to jump back into Deep Rock Galactic is always good in my opinion.
Deep Rock Galactic is available for Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PS5, PS4 and PC. Season 3 will launch first on PC and release for Steam on November 3rd. It will then be released on November 17th on Xbox and PlayStation consoles.
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