Grim Dawn Preview – MOUSE n JOYPAD

Grim Dawn Preview



There was once a time when – being a young, impressionable gamer – I played nothing but hack ‘n’ slash games. Trying to cope with the legendary Diablo 2 and being utterly hyped for its then upcoming successor, I jumped into Titan Quest in hopes of getting another fix for my throttling addiction. To this day I remember it as a thrilling (if disappointingly lacking in blood and gore) ride that made me a huge fan of the series. Now, Diablo 2 is still sitting on my hard drive, with the very same save games I used almost six years ago. So you see, I’m a huge fan of hack ‘n’ slash and can weigh out if one such title is going to work or not.


The poor thing doesn’t even know it’s about to explode.

Firstly, rest assured that the Titan Quest’s legacy is strong in Grim Dawn. Being built on the very same engine that ran its spiritual predecessor, it’s only natural that this game is fairly similar to the famous ARPG title. Visually, this is no ancient Greece. There are no roguish imps nor skirted heroes bickering on the road. In Grim Dawn, the players are thrown right in the middle of an apocalyptic event that threatens the existence of the human race. It’s a dark, muddy and grisly environment reminiscent of the Fallout and Wasteland games, just with blunderbusses and magic instead of handguns and nuclear engines. This madness was wrought upon the world by two equally malevolent forces whose goals differ only slightly in execution. The more prominent side is looking to use the bodies of fallen humans as a resource – a goal that isn’t far from completion. The more nuanced evil, however, wants to destroy all of humanity before its takeover could happen. And we’re left to cope with it all the best we can. Strangely, the storyline is surprisingly original and actually makes sense, in the same way the story of Diablo 2 was somewhat important. It won’t matter much while slaying piles of zombies, but it’s good to know that the background of this hellish world is standing on its own two legs.

Taking a quick glance at the technical side of graphics reveals some nice textures and pretty visual effects, but nothing that would blow your mind away. That’s good, though, as Grim Dawn doesn’t require a powerhouse PC to run properly. I’ve experienced some frame rate hiccups here and there, but this will surely be smoothed out for the final release. With the old engine upgraded and all that, some very cool additions are in place. Since the universe in which the game takes place is as grimdark as it is, there’s no avoiding blood and gore this time around. Those of us who appreciate a more visceral take on fantasy combat will be happy to hear that there’s an abundance of flesh and blood thrown around once the swords start slicing and hammers begin smashing. Also, the physics are cranked up to eleven, so expect limbs and corpses flying all over the place when enough brute force is applied. Honestly, as ridiculous as it might look from time to time, it also provides thrilling hit feedback that makes combat extremely satisfying. Let’s face it, there’s nothing quite like kicking door so hard that it explodes, only to proceed with half a dozen terrifyingly awesome monster executions that would make Jason Vorhees himself proud.


Yep. It’s a fire enchantment alright.

Now, gameplay will be familiar to just about every gamer who played any ARPG title ever. The game makes you control an average Joe who suddenly wakes up with no recollection of previous events. With the cool bit being the fact that you wake up right after your own botched hanging. Your character was actually infected and nearly turned into one of the undead, but regained consciousness just before the deed was done. This makes you a liability and a potential danger to the village’s already dwindling population, so you’re sent on a suicide mission to destroy whatever is constantly reviving the undead in the hills. This is your first quest, and the beginning of the trip in which you’ll destroy monsters, build up your relationships with people, join factions and rebuild the dilapidated village you reside in. At the moment of writing, the game is sporting two out of three acts and takes about 20 hours to complete during the first play through. Now, it’s expected that you won’t even scratch the surface during your initial run so don’t worry about content as there’s plenty to go around. Multiplayer will also be implemented soon, but isn’t available at the time of writing. Another thing to look forward to!

Once you hit level 5, you can select your first specialization. The game offers a Soldier, a Demolitionist, an Occultist and a Nightblade. These are all very different one from another and require a specific approach, although you’re free to build your character as you please. At level 10, however, things get more interesting with you being able to select your second specialization. Yes, you can mix and match however you like and every class works wonderfully in conjunction with every other. The system works exactly as it did in Titan Quest, and the horizontal skill trees are back too. If you’re wondering why I haven’t mentioned the mage class, Arcanist, that’s because he/she isn’t playable just yet. At release, you’ll finally be able to build that fire-crazed assassin you’ve always wanted to play as, so stay tuned!

Naturally, there’s much more to cover than I’ve described here, but I’ve got to leave some stuff for the actual review, too. If you’re planning to buy, expect dynamic weather, crafting system, fully modifiable camera, more skills than you’ll ever be able to unlock and mountains of glorious loot all waiting for you to delve headfirst into. I cannot recommend this game enough, especially if you enjoyed Titan Quest. Naturally, you might want to wait until it wraps up its Early Access quest first, but this title isn’t much of a lottery, really. Expect a quality ARPG title that will keep you hooked for quite a while in the exact same manner best games of the genre always have.