Grim Dawn Preview
There was once a time when âÂ beingÂ a young, impressionable gamer âÂ I played nothing but hack ânâ slash games. Trying to cope with the legendaryÂ 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, Iâm a huge fan of hack ânâ slash and can weigh out if one such title is going to work or not.
The poor thing doesnât even know itâs about to explode.
Firstly, rest assured that the Titan Questâs legacy is strong in Grim Dawn. Being built on the very same engine that ran its spiritual predecessor, itâs only natural that this game is fairlyÂ similar to the famous ARPGÂ 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 thrownÂ right in the middle of an apocalyptic event that threatens the existence of the human race. Itâs 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 â a goal that isnât far from completion. The more nuanced evil, however, wants to destroy all of humanity before its takeover could happen. And weâre 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 wonât matter much while slaying piles of zombies, but itâs 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. Thatâs good, though, as Grim Dawn doesnât requireÂ a powerhouse PC to run properly. Iâve experienced some frame rateÂ hiccups here and there, but this will surely be smoothed out for the finalÂ 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 grimdarkÂ as it is, thereâs 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 thereâs an abundance ofÂ flesh and blood thrown around once the swords start slicing and hammers begin smashing. Also, the physics are crankedÂ 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. Letâs face it, thereâs nothing quiteÂ like kicking door so hard that it explodes, only to proceedÂ with half a dozen terrifyingly awesome monster executions that would make Jason Vorhees himself proud.
Yep. Itâs a fire enchantment alright.
Now, gameplay will be familiar to just about every gamer who played any ARPGÂ title ever. The game makes you control an average Joe who suddenly wakes up with no recollection of previousÂ 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 consciousnessÂ just before the deed was done. This makes you a liability and a potential danger to the villageâs already dwindling population, so youâre 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 youâll destroy monsters, build up your relationships with people, join factions and rebuild the dilapidatedÂ village you resideÂ in. At the moment ofÂ writing, the game is sporting two out of three acts and takes about 20 hours to complete during the first play through. Now, itâs expected that you wonât even scratch the surface during your initial run so donât worry about content as thereâs plenty to go around. Multiplayer will also be implemented soon, but isnât 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 requireÂ a specific approach, althoughÂ youâre 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 withÂ every other. The system works exactly as it did in Titan Quest, and the horizontal skill trees are back too. If youâre wondering why I havenât mentioned the mage class, Arcanist, thatâs because he/she isnât playable just yet. At release, youâll finally be able to build that fire-crazed assassin youâve always wanted to play as, so stay tuned!
Naturally, thereâs much more to cover than Iâve described here, but Iâve got to leave some stuff for the actualÂ review, too. If youâre planning to buy, expect dynamic weather, crafting system, fully modifiable camera, more skills than youâllÂ 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 isnât much of a lottery, really. Expect a quality ARPGÂ title that will keep you hooked for quiteÂ a while in the exact sameÂ manner best games of the genre always have.