The first thing I want to say is if you enjoy Dark souls, Lords of the Fallen or any other similar game, you know what you’re getting into with this game. It plays very similarly in a lot of aspects. Although simpler, and not in a bad way.
When it comes to melee combat, you can choose between a weak but fast attack, or a strong but slow one. On top of that, you can charge both to unleash a deadly combo of very powerful hits.
However, none of that is free. You have a stamina bar that recharges very quickly, but slow enough to not allow you to spam attacks. As you sprint, jump and attack your character will become exhausted. This reduces the size of your stamina bar, and in turn reducing the amount of stamina you can recharge. You can increase your stamina bar back to normal by eating food. Depending on the food, you will increase more or less stamina. You may also take a risk and eat rotten food, which will not grant you much stamina, and has a chance of making your character vomit, leaving you vulnerable to attack, but it’s a good option for desperate situations.
You also have the ability to dodge attacks, as well as block them with you shield, or shield bash enemies to knock them over. You may also replace your shield with projectile weapons.
As mentioned earlier, this game is simpler than most, and I personally enjoy it. You don’t have to spend time upgrading yourself, or checking the stats of weapons and gear. Everything is split into tiers. If you find a sword that is tier 2, it’s better than your tier 1 weapon. Simple as that. Now you can simply decide based on looks, or small custom attributes like fire effects on the weapon.
So the game is relatively rogue-like in the sense that every time you die, the entire world is reset and randomized. This doesn’t mean you find completely random layouts. It’s more like the developers created a set number of rooms, and the game randomly puts them together, and then fills them with random enemies & weapons. It’s good enough for a few playthroughs, but then can get stale after a while.
Even though you technically lose everything when you die, you can get credits for completing quests that the game gives you, which you may then use to purchase permanent items that will carry over playthroughs. Things like dyes for your clothes, or a codex. A codex is a passive upgrade that you can equip onto you character to do minor things like cheapen prices on stores, or jump higher. Barely game changing, but it’s nice to feel like you haven’t lost EVERYTHING when you die.
If you play the game in Co-op, it’s much more fun in my opinion. If you lose all of your health, you will be downed. Your partner has a bit of time to fight off some enemies and then come revive you for no cost at all for both of you. This can happen as many times as you want. However, if your partner does not revive you in time, you will lose all of the gear you carried, as well as your money, and re spawned nearby. I personally think this is a pretty good system, as it’s a decently balanced penalty. Although you can easily find some good gear again, it punishes you in case you found a super rare weapon or armor, and it will take you quite a bit of time to regain all that money you lost, which was quite valuable. It can also create for more co-operation between teammates because they can craft and drop items for you since you lost all of your stuff.
Speaking of crafting, it’s quite a simple system. When you kill enemies, you gather money and crafting materials. Simply clicking on a recipe in you inventory will craft that item, as long as you have the needed materials. That’s it. You can craft any item as many times as you want. As long as you have the recipe and the materials. There are tonnes of unique potions and bombs you can create to tide the battle over to your side.
Something I love about the game is that when you pick up a magic scroll or potion in the world, it won’t be identified to you. You have no idea what it’s attributes are until you drink/use it, or use a “scroll of identification”. This means that you could drink a potion and gain super strength, or be paralyzed right where you stand. It adds an interesting aspect where you aren’t sure if you want to risk drinking an unknown potion during battle because it could help save or ruin you.
The game isn’t as difficult as it makes itself sounds. You will die a few times, and it isn’t easy, but I beat it with one friend of mine in around 5 tries. It was a super fun playthrough, and I can’t wait to play it again with even more friends, but I won’t be getting back to it immediately due to the fact that it does need a little bit more variety in between multiple playthroughs. I’m hoping the devs will add even more monsters, rooms and loot in the future. It’s by no means empty, as it has quite a good variety, and a lot of surprises that will really come out of nowhere. I jumped quite a few times when I wasn’t expecting something.
I need to mention the stylized aesthetic. I personally love it. It’s got a dark atmosphere and the world and characters look very cool. Despite that, the game actually manages to sprinkle in a bit of humor too. The lore you find on walls, or descriptions of items can have a few jokes, which can be funny, but sometimes slightly frustrating. The point is to make you try figure out what some items do without being too straight forward, and I like that, but I felt like some descriptions were a little bit too vague. Just a little.
Also I love the soundtrack of the game. It really sets me in the environment and mood. Really great job!
Overall, I am really surprised to see the “mixed” steam store reviews at the time of writing this. Sure, the game has a few problems but overall I really had a blast playing it.
I personally got a review copy for this game, and want to mention that it in no way affects my opinion. I’m always honest, and have given countless negative reviews to games.
I want to point out though, that if I hadn’t gotten that copy, I probably wouldn’t have played this game so soon, as I think the full asking price is a bit high. 30 Euros or your regional equivalent is a little bit too high in my opinion. I’m sure the amount of work put into this game justifies it, and it really is a great and polished game for the most part, but I just didn’t get enough time out of it to justify that price.
Another issue is I don’t think I would have had anywhere near as much fun if I played through solo. It’s a fun game, but can get repetitive at times. It’s definitely not often, but sometimes you will find yourself grinding just a bit. I didn’t get bored for a second playing with my friend, and it’s not just because of his company. It’s an entertaining game, but I’m sure I would have felt a bit worn out on my own.
Finally, my biggest complaint. When playing in Co-op, you can’t both access shops at the same time. It’s just a big waste of time. Me and my friend need to take turns waiting for each other to browse the shop selection and make our purchases. I would love if they updated the game to allow all players to talk to the store owner at the same time.
Overall, I really had a blast playing through the game and look forward to my next playthrough. If you enjoy Dark souls or any other game that plays similarly, then you will enjoy this as long as you know going into it that it is simplified in a few aspects.