Grand Class Melee 2 Preview | MOUSE n JOYPAD

Grand Class Melee 2 Preview



Simplistic bit styled gameplay is the core of Gigatross Games’ RPG arena fighter, Grand Class Melee 2. While still not released in its full capacity, the developer has created a solid platform to build on as the gameplay is tight and responsive, and other features and tweaks added later can turn it into a fleshed out and grand experience. Dubbed a ‘RPG arena fighter’, the premise of Grand Class Melee 2 consists of taking players through 8 lightning rounds, 2 minutes in length, of 4 vs 4 action as classes are adapted fluidly after each round, with new abilities unlocked and combos triggered as the sessions get hectic near the penultimate 8th round. Add to that customizable game tweaks that add a lot of replay value and Grand Class Melee 2 has the potential to be a solid title when it hopefully comes out of the black hole of early access that so many games never pass.

From a mechanical level, Grand Class Melee is standard fare with tight movement controls and simple button commands like a basic attack, be it a flaming ball of fire or a sword strike, a cool thrust that throws you forward while striking, and your primary and secondary abilities. After each round, your primary ability is swapped which forces you to adapt your play style according, as well as advancing your character class from something like a bowyer to an archer. During the interval is also where you select your secondary ability, which can be an ability earned from a previous round. This constant switch of play really keeps each round fresh instead of bogging it down with repetitiveness and running to the same co-ordinate on the map to execute the same plan as the round before. These abilities range from an increase in overall health, a specific hit type with added bonuses, and, my particular favorite, a teleport command that only launches the player a few meters forward, but is vital for getting out of and strategically choosing battles. Higher classes also facilitate more abilities at the players choosing that have higher risks and rewards.

The aforementioned combos are a mix of primary and secondary abilities and the game encourages experimenting with them to find awesome fusions that fit your play style. These combos are crucial to winning games against quite aggressive AI which is sadly one of the faults found in Grand Class Melee 2. Instead of smart AI that play with a certain style or independently choose who to fight, matches end up becoming run away sessions as the AI relentlessly rushes at the human player with no regard to other opponent’s locations. They even go as far as completely ignoring CPU controlled enemies as they aimlessly walk right past them and towards the human player. Higher level CPU’s tend to go for melee attacks while their lower level counterparts use long range abilities like balls of fire or arrows. In terms of the variation of game modes, only the standard tournament mode makes it into what the developer calls ‘Local Battle’. In this mode, points are scored primarily through surviving a round whereas in the death match mode, only kills matter. Again, this provides more variation and truly forces the player, in a good way, to switch up their style of combat. At the end of each round, points are tallied and winners are chosen. In the standard tournament mode, 10 points is given to players and teams who accumulated the most damage and kills which stops those who strictly ran away to the edges of the decently sized pixel map, to not win unfairly by avoiding enemy engagement. The point system seems to be suited more for team play where you can choose variations of 4 player action like 2 vs 2 or, if you fancy a challenge, 3 vs 1. Here again is where the aggressive AI issues are brought to light when I would try to pick my battles and my team mate would be going in head first forcing me to abandon my previous tactics and make sure he doesn’t die early.

From a more cinematic side, Grand Class Melee 2 looks decent with tiny pixel sprites and a clean overall look. The menu is top down and easy to understand with not many options in the current build. The music consists of emphatic violins and medieval era trumpets, giving an evocative and appropriate tone to the arrows and swords clashing on screen. The art, as previously mentioned, is elementary and doesn’t overcomplicate the procedurally generated map with easy to see trees, grassland, and streaming rivers that don’t interrupt the combat visually. Character animations could use some work but are fine in a game like this but all models look the same bar some hair changes, differing only in body color depending on what team they are on. I’d like to have seen a #IDARB style character creator from the types of bows the player equips to his characters armor sets just to give the players a unique look.

While Grand Class Melee 2 is limited in its scope and execution, it is undoubtedly fun. With the full version, the developer can flesh out the content as of this build with more map sets and player customization although sessions can be adjusted with tweaks to time per round, the starting map biome, and even the general speed of the game. The AI needs tweaking to be more strategic about its play and more of the awesome soundtrack would be a welcome addition to Gigatross Games’ latest adventure.