It’s very difficult to scramble past first impressions when they’ve built such a solid barrier, and Conan Exiles constructs a beauty.

The graphics are horrible, and collision rendering utterly grotesque. Witness our muscular hero climbing a wall. Witness him reaching the top. Witness also his hands continuing to clutch thin air after pushing well past the apex.

Saying Exiles is glitchy is a statement of such under that no simile will do it justice. After one perishes, the body remains prostrate. Or so it should. Not five minutes after finding my corpse and looting it of all my old stuff, I returned again to find it had shot up about 10 feet in the air.

But destroy this wall of impression first you must, for pushing on through Conan Exiles’ foibles reveals a surprisingly rewarding survival grind.

So one does not play as Conan, although he does cut you down from your crucifix at the beginning of the adventure. Not that he continues such assistance, no sir, Conan obviously has a dentist appointment or somesuch, as he scarpers upon completion of his good deed.

Thanks – wait! Oh. Bye then.

It’s up to your loincloth-clothed self to make your own way and your own story in this harsh land. The tutorial gives you little nudges along the way as to the basic order in which one must learn. Water is important, you know. So are clothes. Food, too, who knew...

Exiles’ major draw point is the varied land into which you’re dumped. There’s a lot of stuff going on, from abandoned cites to busy ones, grumpy ice giants to irritated tribes that need whipping into shape.

You can build your own fortress, crawl a dungeon or 20, craft some fancy armour (the more involved pieces demand some needlessly cumbersome to-and-fro manufacturing), explore the mysteries of your hostile surroundings or batter your online contemporaries (up to 40 per server) into submission.

Yes it’s a glitchy, ugly son of a blacksmith but an ultimately rich romp if you’re willing to put in the effort.