There’s never been a better time to delve into Deep Rock Galactic

There’s never been a better time to delve into Deep Rock Galactic

In the years since the rampant success of Left 4 Dead back in 2008, we’ve seen many solid co-op horde shooters. Few of these games have garnered as loyal a community as Deep Rock Galactic, a dwarven twist on the familiar four-player formula that came out a decade after L4D. Not only is Deep Rock Galactic still in a strong place, with season 5 set to debut in June, but the franchise has also expanded into successful spin-off titles. Deep Rock Galactic: Survivor is an auto-shooter in the vein of Vampire Survivors, and Ghost Ship Games has announced a roguelike called Deep Rock Survivor: Rogue Core. It’s a great time — maybe even the best time — to get into all things Deep Rock Galactic.

The original game is about a space corporation called Deep Rock Galactic with lax safety regulations and a voracious thirst for profit. The corporation sends teams of dwarves to alien planets, and those teams must excavate valuable resources while being assailed by endless hordes of bugs and beasties. There are four classes: Scout, Engineer, Driller, and Gunner. Each class has its own abilities — for instance, the Engineer can create new platforms, the Scout can use a grappling hook to reach high locations, the Driller tears through terrain and creates new tunnels, and the Gunner is especially proficient at bug murder.

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Season 5 will come with a few new fun additions, which I tested during a play session with Ghost Ship Games. The new mission type is called Deep Scan, and it sends dwarves searching for Morkite Geodes deep within the mines of Hoxxes. Once the team has triangulated a position, they can call in an enormous Drillevator, a portmanteau that explains the function of the tool wonderfully. It’s fun to have horde shooter mechanics applied to vertical spaces, and it’s thrilling to plummet down through the core of the planet, occasionally halting and allowing waves of furious bugs to catch up. Once the dwarves reach their destination and collect valuable Morkite seeds, the corporation is generous enough to gift them with some Jet Boots, which allows them to rocket up into the air with minimal risk of injury or death.

There will be a new season event involving Core Stores, which are giant, dark, crystalline-like structures that glow with a menacing purple energy — but are extremely valuable to our higher-ups back at the corporation. The new season also adds Overclocks, a modifier that dramatically upgrades certain functions of a dwarf’s base weapons.

For those who haven’t caught the past seasons of Deep Rock Galactic, in season 5 Ghost Ship Games is adding the ability to select any season and play through it at your leisure. This includes the old season rewards and cosmetics, as well as any conditions or complications from that season’s story. It’s similar to World of Warcraft: Classic, in that it allows players to sample past offerings without any FOMO.

Players can expect more from the larger world of Deep Rock Galactic in 2025, when Ghost Ship Games launches Rogue Core into early access. After Rogue Core, Ghost Ship Games intends to release Season 6 of Deep Rock Galactic. Of course, there’s a wealth of content to dig into already — especially if you’ve never given Deep Rock Galactic a shot. Auto-shooter spin-off Deep Rock Galactic: Survivor has also sold over a million copies, which suggests the franchise has legs. This new season is the best chance to jump aboard the base game and dig into everything the horde shooter has to offer.