This review is based on (Build 21)
Have you been looking for the next ARPG to try? If so, this game should be at the top of your list. When I first read a Grim Dawn article from RockPaperShotgun.com a long while back, I was left with hope for an ARPG that would deliver a gaming experience akin to mashing up several characteristic of some of my favorite games:
- Diablo/Diablo 2 - Loot Variety / Qaulity, Rune/Rune word system, and the dark, mature, and savage atmosphere
- Titan Quest:IT - Graphics, Class system, Essence system, Relic system and Loot Variety/Qualities
- Games of the late 90s era - Innovation and challenge at the risk of appealing to a niche / mature audience
Thus far the game is delivering a very enjoyable gaming experience. Below i've touched on the aspects of the game I've enjoyed most. However, recently Crate overhauled their website and added a Game Guide
. This guide provides considerably more depth into the masteries and systems which build the foundation of this game. If you're on the fence about the game poke through the guide to get an in depth view of what the game has to offer, read on to get a flavor what my experience has been, or read both, but don't waste too much time; the game is begging to be played.
The current 5 mastery choices are bound to provide an option to suit almost anyones play style and to top it all off Grim Dawn uses a dual mastery system that provides excellent character building depth and game replayability.
The Component System is Grim Dawn's version of the Titan Quest Essence system or Diablo's gem, jewel, rune system, which offers the ability for players to collect components dropped by enemies which can then be combined to create components with greater stats and sometimes active skills when socketed to armor, weapons, or accessories.
The Forge system is an enhanced version of Titan Quest's Enchant system, which now allows players to craft relics, gear, and accessories from completed components, scraps, and iron bits. Relics which require formulas are Grim Dawn's answer to Diablo 2's Runeword system. The forge is a much more engading/indepth version of Diablo's Gambling system and Diablo 2's Horadric cube crafting system.
The loot system is addicating and gratifying. Loot erupts from slain enemies and chests and glistens on the ground begging to be picked up. The qualities range from ( Unique Item sets, Purple - Legendary, Blue - Epic, Orange - Components, Green - rare, Yellow - magical, White - common, Grey - broken).
The post apocolyptic dark and gritty fantasy victorian environment is splendid! I really enjoy all the detail of the graphical assets for this game so far; they are varied and really don't feel over used. The lighting and shadow system is done in a way that makes the environment come to life and feel real. The weather/atmosphere system is very appealing and includes aspects such as day/night cycle, fog, lightning, rain, etc. and the ability to mix it up to varying degrees to create climates/weather patterns for different regions within the game. I also appreciate the graphics tuning options that allow me to crank up the visual details for my desktop rig, and allow me to scale it all down for my outdated laptop.
The ambient soundstage and sound effects is probably one of my favorite aspects of this game. Between this and the grahic asset detail the immersion is top notch. Here are some examples:
- Ticking of an old grandfather clock
- Popping and creeking of old wooden floors
- Crackling of a roaring fire incinerating coffins and the dead
- The buzzing of flies over a rotting corpse
- Hissing wind and the babbling creeks
- Crows squawking and monsters growning
- Metallic reverberating undertones (sounds a little like deep church bells in the distance with overtones of ringing metal being pounded on by a blacksmith.)
The combat sound effects are extremely satisfying! The character actions/skills seem to integrate flawlessly with the sound effect in a way that just seems to "fit/resonate". For example flaming musket shots crack as they leave the muzzle of the weapon and sizzle/ignite as they penetrate the target's flesh. A landed melee attack has a solid satisfying thud the seems as if it were capable of shattering bones.
In previous builds of the game I found the soundtrack left a lot to be desired. It was distracting and felt repeative and grating. I'm happy to say the soundtrack is changing in a very positive way, now blending and interweaving into the ambient effects of the game. It's really starting to fit the atmosphere and rhythem of the game in my opinion.
Overall, I'm happy to say I have zero reget being an initial founder for this game. I'm also glad I cancelled my Diablo 3 per-orders and upped my support for this small indi developer when it became a Kickstarter project. I have full confidence Crate will deliver a highly polished finished product boasting an amazing challenging, replayable, and indepth ARPG experience that other games of this genre will be judged on. It's definitely worth the asking price of $25 as it stands, and I expect it will become an even greater value as more content is added, adjusted, and balanced.
Many thanks to Arthur Bruno and his Crate Entertainment team for continuing to deliver on his original vision dating back to 2010.