Opening with a cheerful title, The Black Death takes us back to a time when simply being in the same space as the majority of the population was a sure-fire ticket to a dirt nap.

It's a great concept for a game. The paranoia is high as you roam around Skyrim-style looking for resources to craft from and picking up bits and bobs along the way to help with survival. Just like at the grocery store, when you hear a guttural pensioner cough--instinct is to about face and high tail it out of there. Infection is high and you're right in the way of catching the bullet.

The Black Death does put a very clear note about being in early access. Sometimes you'll get games in this state that are far along, other times not so much. The Black Death is so ambitious that I think it's difficult to fault it completely at the early access level in it's development. There's some lofty goals there, and plenty of work to be done--but I would say the huge take away from the experience I had was the atmosphere. You can tell there was a lot of effort put in to making the player feel uncomfortable about simply existing in this time period. Just playing it for a minute or two (doesn't take long to get a feel for what they're going for here!) makes me want to wash my hands and just open my downstairs medicine cabinet to stare thankfully at.

Now, in terms of where the work needs to be done. Almost all the animations are in a half state right now. For being in the same arena as Skyrim, there's undoubtedly going to be some comparison in how well the game plays. Things are choppy, and right from the get go there's no real clear path to what do you do? Walk around and start exploring. Nine times out of ten, this will cause you to run up on a lethal bandit camp, where as a unequipped newbie, you're bound to bite it hard. The game runs in the sense of "You've survived X amount of days in the plague" and that's it. Time to start over again, which can be quite infuriating. Oh, and don't bother asking the cesspool of locals--you'll just tick your clock down faster that way.

It temps with open world, survival and an MMO feel, but with the multiplayer online comes a whole new set of issues. Like I said before, the goals for this title are quite lofty and if pulled off, this can really be one for the ages. Syrin Studios and Small Impact Games have a lot of hard work on their hands and if they can get a solid community on their side, will have a good chance at success. I will most certainly be keeping a close eye on this one as it comes (ironically) to life. Right now though? Pop on the wishlist and have a little wait.

Keep and eye on this one -- the atmosphere strikes true, but the gameplay is not quite there yet. Will it dazzle as it develops?