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Grounded: Obsidian returns to its roots with Hot and Hazy Update

It’s no secret that Grounded, Obsidian’s backyard survival game, is very different from anything the prolific RPG developer has done before – something the developers have made fun of themselves in the past. But while the microscopic multiplayer adventure was already successful in the preview, the upcoming Hot and Hazy update seems to offer many fans more of what they could expect from Obsidian: lots of stats. With everything from character stats to help you improve your avatar’s abilities, to weapon upgrades that add timelessness, to new armor classes with gameplay ramifications, Grounded is getting a lot more nerdier and RPG-esque later this month.

One of the biggest additions to Hot and Hazy is a collectible called Milk Molars, which allows you to upgrade stats like max health, max stamina, how quickly your character gets thirsty or hungry, and how many mutations you can equip at the same time. In the future, not every adventurer will be the same as players can upgrade their avatars in different ways by collecting and spending this new currency. What’s even more interesting is that you can also buy group upgrades that give the whole group a boost.

Grounded: Hot and blurry screenshots

Similarly, weapon upgrades give you the opportunity to upgrade your weapon with increased damage and durability, and even apply status effects. For example, if you collect mint candies and apply them to your weapon, it will get the “fresh” status effect, which gives it unique properties.

The armor has also undergone an RPG-like makeover, and now all armor is classified as light, medium, or heavy, each with tradeoffs between stamina and protection as you’ve taught from millions of other RPGs. Wearing light armor gives you less protection in combat, but allows you to regenerate stamina more quickly, while heavy armor is the opposite – another way for players to define their own style of play and take on different roles within a group of players.

Of course, having all of these new tools doesn’t make sense unless you’re facing some new dangers, and the Hot and Hazy update adds four new environments including the new Sandbox Desert biome and an upgrade to an existing one : The haze.

The Sandbox Desert is a huge backyard sandbox where direct sunlight creates a new hissing effect on you that will kill you over time, forcing you to jump between sources of shadow before it gets crispy. Out in the desert, you will find new enemies to fight, buried treasure to uncover, and other secrets that could make the scorching hike worth your time.

Grounded – Xbox Games Showcase 2020 Screens

On the flip side, there’s The Haze, which has been redesigned to be more than just a bleak patch of toxic smog. Now you will find creepy mushrooms that are exploding, new enemies, and even a secret laboratory to explore and loot. But in order to traverse this highly toxic area, one must equip oneself with appropriate equipment such as a gas mask to make the enemy zone semi-habitable.

In our early access review last year, we liked Grounded’s survival RPG core, but complained about the lack of meaningful content. So it’s really great to see Obsidian double the RPG elements with the Hot and Hazy Update which adds exactly what the game needs. I look forward to getting in and maximizing my character when the update comes out later this month.

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