Kyn is an interesting game. It seems to have taken notes from Divinity: Original Sin yet brings about a more dynamic gameplay. It seems to be witty and funny but isn’t afraid of being dark and grimy when necessary. It’s a concoction of elements that make up a team-focused action RPG – a borderline RTS if you will, and form the entirety of what Kyn is.
The preview build’s obviously been focused so as to introduce us lucky few into the game and then present us with a more advanced situation that is supposed to paint a picture of how the software will perform once it’s out and about. The initial level is a tutorial quest of sorts, where I learned all of the game’s mechanics and systems. As I mentioned, in Kyn players take control over a small band of characters and prowl about the game world in real time. Even though things often get quite… bombastic, the game offers little in the way of time to think and act carefully or slowly once the action gets going.
Players control their heroes in a manner that’s heavily reminiscent to that of your average RTS game – by looking down at them from a hawk’s perspective and issuing commands via the mouse pointer. It’s a classical setup, for sure, but works nicely in the given context. There’s obviously no telling on how large the final game world will be once the game is out, but what I’ve had the chance to play makes me look forward to the amount of content in the final build. Even though I’ve only played through two of the game’s missions, whereas one was a tutorial in and of itself, there was plenty to do and see, and I didn’t actually feel overtly limited in my endeavours. Combat aside, I was able to accept all kinds of quests as I trudged along the game’s HUB-ish areas, as well as go out and explore on my own accord. Now, there may not be much of an incentive to do so at first, but once you sign a pact or two (the game’s equivalent of quests), things start heating up.
Kyn’s universe is one that’s rooted primarily, as it would seem, in the Nordic culture. This is a fantastical world the game is set in, for sure, but you won’t be finding any elves, orcs or similar high-fantasy stuff here. Do expect skeletons – these are the enemies I found scattered randomly across the overworld. Magic is also a fairly rare occurrence here, with nary a few people being able to cast spells at all – this is clear from the moment you meet your first NPC, a villager who’s mourning his recently deceased daughter. The two heroes jump in and cast a powerful rebirth spell which, essentially, revives her – this sets the overall tone and atmosphere of the game. It’s a funny and grim universe at the same time. Some of the dialogues is wonderfully witty and is sure to entice a cackle or two while some of the quests require you to visit awfully morally grey areas. One might argue that the game doesn’t know what it wants to be, but I found myself having fun more than anything else.
Gameplay-wise, this is your standard real-time strategy fare, with fast-paced combat (for an RTS), lots of shiny stuff going on and a fair number of enemies to slog through. At any given moment, you can hit ‘SPACE’ to slow down time for a bit and give yourself a breather once the going gets really tough. The feature might seem trivial at first but is quite helpful when you get cornered. Other than that, everything else is pretty much straightforward, as you control up to six heroes as you would in a strategy game, clicking left and right until there’s no more threat in sight. I greatly enjoyed combining spells and various skills in the second mission, as it would seem that everything synergizes with everything else quite satisfyingly. It’ll be interesting to experiment in combat with the full array of skills that’ll be available in the release build, and that’s what I’m looking forward to doing.
Graphically, the game is fine if a tad plain – it almost seems as if there’s a layer of postprocessing missing. All of the assets do look quite nice though, but I don’t believe Kyn will be played for its graphics anytime soon. The gameplay systems lend themselves to the player nicely though, I’ve mentioned combat above, but character upgrades, skills and such are a lot of fun when each system comes into play. I do like how the devs shifted focus away from murder sprees by distancing XP from killing enemies. See, mobs will only ever drop loot – loot you can gain by means other than being a mass murderer. XP is gained by completing quests. Non-violent options are always welcome, so that’s a nice change of pace from all the XP mobs we usually kill in similar games.
With all of what I’ve just mentioned in mind, I’d like to wrap up this preview on a high note. Kyn is looking to be quite an interesting game and from what time I spent with it, plays quite nicely. Optimization seems to currently be a major issue, as I never broke through the 60 FPS even on the lowest settings, but there’s time to work on that yet. If the release doesn’t get postponed, we’ll be able to play Kyn on 28th of this month, so stay tuned for our review of the game too!