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New open world game Once Human crawls to life with mixed reviews

NetEase’s Once Human is offering new players free rewards, but the huge post-apocalyptic survival game is already proving to be divisive.

Once Human reviews: An image of a pink haired woman with review logos behind her.

We all love gigantic open world games, don’t we? Exploring lands beyond our imagination and meeting a wild cast of characters is exactly what NetEase’s Once Human intends to deliver, as the studio’s new post-apocalyptic title has launched globally. While players can get their hands on some lucrative gifts from the get-go, the game’s less-than-stellar reviews might be a signal not to bother in the first place.

With over 3,000 user reviews and counting, Once Human’s critical consensus sits at a stern ‘mixed’ on the Steam marketplace right now. The recently launched open world game draws inspiration from Lovecraftian fiction, delighting players initially at Steam Next Fest as it became the most-played demo there. Despite the good will it garnered beforehand, the soon-to-be free mobile game is drawing criticisms levied at its privacy policy conditions, lackluster character creation, and server-related issues.

The latter is to be expected when any massive online action game launches, but the game’s hollow character creation suite isn’t raising any eyebrows. According to a recent developer FAQ thread, Once Human’s customization is limited “due to technical limitations, [and] only one character can be created per account.” It is certainly a gut punch, as experimenting with different character builds is part and parcel with any of the best mobile RPG games.

Once Human reviews: An image of the Once Human reviews on Steam

You only have to take one look at titles like the ARPG goliath Warframe to see how variety is the spice of life. Should you fancy giving Once Human a chance regardless of its initial reception, the good news is that NetEase has some freebies tucked away to claim. The developer clarifies that Once Human will offer the following fits to players who pre-registered when they log in:

  • AKM skin ‘The Call of the Giant Octopus’
  • Meta’s Cap
  • A piece of furniture
  • A pair of Dragon Fist Gloves

Meanwhile, NetEase says in a recent press release that newcomers “can complete missions or invite friends to join in order to receive gifts, including cosmetic items and accessories.” It is likely that the pre-registration gifts will remain exclusive to this pool of players, though.

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However, that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to get any goodies in the future. Be sure to check out our Once Human codes guide as more rewards are added to the game.