Abiotic Factor (Early Access)

Posted:  May 03, 2024
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Abiotic Factor was provided by Playstack for review. Thank you!

I am a sucker for survival games, and Abiotic Factor has hooked me. Some of my first moments in the game consisted of creating my character, cutting my survival partner (I played with Cryobyte33), accidentally eating irradiated meat, throwing up from it, throwing up on Cryobyte, and both of us dying from losing too much fluid from throwing up. It was a wonderful way to start our descent into the game, and it set the bar high for what Abiotic Factor can be, and for the most part, it succeeds wonderfully.


Abiotic Factor takes a bit of a departure from the traditional survival game. Instead of it being an open-world experience, the entire game takes place in a factory that you have to escape from. It's very different from the norm, but I love it. Because of it, the game feels more contained and reliant on going up and down the floors of the facility, figuring out exactly where you need to go next and where materials will be that you need.

It looks and feels like Half-Life 1 in a lot of ways. From the aesthetic of the facility to the character design and the overall feel of just moving around, it just brings back those fond memories I had when I first played the original Half-Life. The story is even semi-similar, as it takes place within a facility experiencing a paranormal event with aliens all around.

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The gameplay structure is a bit different than the norm too, which is wonderful. You will start off essentially choosing the scientific job that you had before this event. Each one gives different effects and points to different skills. The skills can be leveled up as you play through the game, but the early boost can help when you and your buddies are trying to work together and focus on different jobs. After that, you will have leftover points, which you will use to choose positive and negative traits that influence how you play. This can range from faster sprinting and losing fluids more slowly on the positive side to learning skills slower or getting hungrier faster. It's a balancing act since negative traits give you more points to use for the positive ones.

Once in Abiotic Factor, you will start from scratch and learn how to play to find your way out into the open area of the first floor. As you go through, you will have to solve puzzles and figure out how to unlock the other floors while dismantling furniture and finding materials to craft a base for yourself. All of the items you can craft are semi-makeshift things like an iron pipe bar and wall torch, but you can craft other machines like a Vacuum to suck up materials that are on the ground and repair benches. There is a day/night cycle, and you will have to manage your time, temperature, hunger, thirst, and body if you get scratches or broken bones.

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As a scientist, it makes sense that you are able to learn new recipes by just picking up new items you find around the lab. I love that it just makes sense, considering you are an intelligent worker and that all the items look like something a scientist could put together. It's extremely fun to go out, break, or take furniture to craft and build your own base, to kill monsters, and to do it all with your friends is awesome. It's hard to fully explain just how fun it is, but it's a joy to play.

Now, Abiotic Factor is a bit unoptimized in its current state, and it seems to be like this in general for others too. But, it doesn't take away from how fun the game is and the possibility that it can run better, especially on the Steam Deck.

Abiotic Factor - Steam Deck Performance

While I love Abiotic Factor and what it's cracking up to be so far, it isn't the greatest experience on the Steam Deck yet. Regardless of the settings, consistent pop-ins and framerate drops exist, especially when loading in areas. The loading does happen consistently and can become an issue, and it dips to around 27 to 28 FPS when trying to play above 30. 30 doesn't have as many noticeable drops, and while I feel Abiotic Factor can one day hit above that, it isn't there yet. And, since it can handle it at 30, I would keep Medium quality with around 70% Render Resolution to keep things looking decent. If it gets any lower, it gets blurry with some flashing surfaces.

When starting the game, you can also choose between the normal game (using DX12) and a DX11 for lower-end PCs. I didn't notice a huge difference in visual quality or performance between the two, so I primarily played on DX11.

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The pop-ins can also be noticeable. The game's default sensitivity for turning the camera left and right is a bit on the slow side, so I increased the Gamepad X/Y sensitivity to 16. Still, in doing so, it is easier to see the world popping in as you turn around. It looks like little white flashes in certain parts of the map, which can be quite obnoxious.

One other issue I would like to mention is the menus. To navigate, you must move a cursor around using the joystick. I will say that the game does have a nicer implementation than other games, with the cursor slowing down over prospective options and going around the menus quite fast, but it is still a bit of a nuisance to work with.


As for accessibility, we can change the language, toggle prompts and change camera shake, toggle sprinting and crouching, turn on a colorblind mode for Deuteranopia, Protanopia, and Tritanopia, and change subtitle size. you can also toggle Arachnophobia and Misophonia filters if you have a fear of spiders or turn off certain sounds. You can also change the Field of View and temperature to Celcius and change audio settings.

Abiotic Factor supports 16:10 resolutions, and some controller support. Controls work alright mostly, but menus use a cursor to scroll through instead of the Dpad to highlight different options. There are no HDR settings or cloud saves.


Abiotic Factor shows an exceptional amount of promise by turning Half-Life 1 into a survival game. Going around a broken-down scientific facility, fighting monsters, building a base, and trying to find your way out while managing your health is way too much fun, especially with friends! The optimization could be a bit better, especially on the Steam Deck, but it is playable at 30 FPS and exceptional when everything is working. As this is early access, I am a bit more cautious with giving a definitive score, but I am very confident this could be an awesome game on Deck as development progresses!

Our review is based on the PC version of this game.

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SDHQ's Build Score Breakdown

Abiotic Factor is off to a fantastic start, even with some optimization issues, and it will be wonderful on the Steam Deck.


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Noah Kupetsky
A lover of gaming since 4, Noah has grown up with a love and passion for the industry. From there, he started to travel a lot and develop a joy for handheld and PC gaming. When the Steam Deck released, it just all clicked.
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