Deliver Us The Moon Review – PC

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Deliver Us the Moon has been out since early October, and while I did dabble with the game when it debuted it was clear the developers had plenty of patches and updates planned including their most recent update that adds the much-anticipated RTX ray-tracing support. The moment I saw my game updating in Steam I cleared my schedule and prepared to blast off!

RTX support is a game changer, adding real-time lighting and shadows and some ultra-realistic reflections, which normally wouldn’t be that big of a deal until you factor in that most of the game takes place on this futuristic moon base constructed from metal and glass with lots of shiny floors and some incredible direct source lighting. Ray-traced lighting and reflections offer an added level of realism to what is clearly a futuristic sci-fi setting, yet somehow makes you feel that all of this could be real. But even the best graphics can’t make up for a poor game. Thankfully, Deliver Us the Moon is an outstanding adventure on its own, worthy of your time and money even if you don’t have a fancy RTX card to dazzle you with shiny effects.

It’s worth mentioning that there are still some graphics issues during initial setup. There is no dedicated full screen mode and it was a real challenge to find a resolution that was playable with RTX enabled. My 2080ti card crumbled when the game forced me to use 4096×2160 in Windowed/Full screen – the game was simply not playable; especially in those zero-G sections where anything less than 60fps will make you sick. Ultimately, I had to go to windowed mode and choose 2560×1440 and combined with DLSS, the game ran flawlessly after using ALT-ENTER to force a full-screen window. A patch is in the works to smooth out these issues, but be prepared to do some experimenting before jumping right into the game.

Deliver Us the Moon tells a forward-thinking story dealing with climate change and dwindling planetary resources. The Earth is dying, turning into a desert wasteland where massive sandstorms scour the landscape. The World Space Agency was created to explore new energy alternatives and found a new source on the moon. Helium-3 could be converted into raw energy and transmitted to the Earth via this massive relay station attached to the moon via a space elevator, and for a while things were going smoothly until one day the energy stopped flowing. Years have passed and you are Earth’s last hope; the last astronaut flying the last rocket capable of reaching the moon. Can you save the planet?

The gameplay in Deliver Us the Moon doesn’t stray far from the classic adventure genre where you explore your surroundings, read various collectibles, listen to various recordings, and scan noteworthy objects to check off a massive list of database entries as well as flesh out the engaging backstory and various bits of personal drama for people you will never meet. The game uses a unique blend of first and third-person camera views to draw you further into the experience, and there are moments where you might even wish the game had a VR option.

Your epic adventure begins on Earth at the launch site for the last rocket to the moon. You’ll need to do a little prep work to get that rocket ready to blast off before the approaching sandstorm wipes the place out, but there is always enough time for some exploration and a short tutorial on the basics of gameplay. Interactive objects will be highlighted when you get close and database items will glow blue indicated they can be scanned. Puzzles are mostly environmental manipulation. You have no inventory and can only carry one item at a time. Everything is designed with the intent on smooth story flow and progression.

Once you arrive at the transmission tower the game takes on an entirely different feel with lots of zero-G environments that make things very exciting, and when you finally reach the moon base your gravity might be restored but you will still have to keep an eye on that O2 meter. While most of the moon base is pressurized there are plenty of moments when you are outside the station and your suit only has three minutes of air, forcing you to be on the lookout for O2 canisters or air refill stations. The game is pretty generous with the air but there were at least two moments in my game where I was one second from dying before reaching my next refill.

Deliver Us the Moon could have easily become a survival horror game but thankfully there are no aliens, spirits, or even human enemies in this game. There is virtually no combat or violence and the only real hostile encounter with some security robots is handled through stealth and avoidance, making this a great game for the entire family. Your only encounters with moon base residents are in the form of these holographic echoes that playback these ghostly images of events surrounding the time when the station went offline. Fans of Tacoma or even Tom Clancy’s The Division will know exactly what I’m talking about.

What started off as a lonely experience got much better when I found my own personal ASE unit. Once I got him all fixed up my trusty drone followed me everywhere and I could even take remote control over him and fly him around to solve various puzzles or do some recon of upcoming areas. He was the perfect fit for various ventilation shafts, able to reach new rooms and unlock doors so I could continue or interface with various control panels. He was the perfect companion; never in the way and always available when I needed him, and always able to find his way back to me.

Deliver Us the Moon only has a few gameplay devices going for it and arguably, it did start to reuse several of them almost to the point of annoyance. Things like cutting through seals with your laser or finding and switching batteries got repetitive, yet oddly seemed realistic to me in the back of my mind. The whole power relay station and lining up of the multiple laser transmission towers seemed overly complex, rooted more in gameplay puzzle design than any intelligent real-world function, but it did make for an epic cutscene near the end of the game.

The presentation for Deliver Us the Moon is outstanding. I originally played the non-RTX game up to launching the rocket back in October and was impressed even then with the graphics and overall design. Admittedly, this game is futuristic sci-fi but everything in it is rooted in smart science giving it that added air of believability.   The launch pad, the orbital transmission tower, the space elevator, and the incredible moon base with monorails and lunar rovers were totally convincing. Even the science behind the scenes with power and air and the whole helium conversion plant seemed like real scientists had a part in making this game. But beyond the environmental design was the outstanding camera work with sweeping cutscenes and moving cameras during the echo playbacks as well as the great decision to mix first and third-person cameras.

There is one particular sequence that I will never forget where I was “flying” through space, full of wreckage, desperately following a trail of O2 canisters trying to make it back to the space elevator. It was like I was Sandra Bullock in Gravity. The graphics were near perfection before the RTX update, and with the enhanced visuals Deliver Us the Moon achieves new levels of realism, standing toe to toe with Remedy’s game, Control, as one of the greatest RTX achievements in 2019. Words can hardly describe the ultra-realistic lighting, shadows, and reflections, so feel free to checkout our RTX playthrough of the game.

Deliver Us the Moon has an amazing audio package with great sound effects and a dynamic soundtrack that fuels the emotion and intensity of each and every scene.   This is one of those games where silence can often add to that feeling of solitude and Deliver Us the Moon isn’t afraid to pull back on the music for great atmospheric effect. The game also makes great use of muffled audio when you are playing from inside your spacesuit helmet, and they even enhance your heartbeat audio when air is reaching critical levels. The voice acting is limited to radio chatter between you and your contact on Earth and the various story echoes you discover, but all of it is excellent quality.

Controls were great and it was easy to move around and interact with objects. There is a bit of platforming in the third act that will have you running and jumping around to stay alive. The game can be played with mouse and keyboard or a gamepad. I chose the latter, as the game seemed designed for such a device. I appreciated the “read” function that converts graphical documents into plain text and I really appreciated the passive audio logs that you could continue listening to while exploring ahead. There is a nice pause/summary screen that shows your next objective as well as a growing list of collectible tallies. It’s worth noting that areas of the game will eventually get locked off, so if you miss an item you might not be able to go back and get it. Perfectionists will need to be very observant or plan to play the game again, and the designers even throw a few Easter Eggs in for the truly adventurous.

Deliver Us the Moon is one of the best adventures I’ve played this year, and not just because it has amazing RTX graphics. Those only enhance the already-great game that lies below the polished surface. Deliver Us the Moon offers a great mix of action, exploration, discovery, and even some enjoyable puzzle-solving, all perfectly designed to keep the game flowing. The entire game is around 6-8 hours, and while there is no real reason to replay it after you finish, that first experience is going to be one of the best adventures you take this year. And if you have an RTX card it’s going to be even better. 

You can check out our full six-hour play-through of Deliver Us the Moon in our two-part YouTube series to see this stunning game running with all the RTX effects.