Personal Rating: "Classic - Must Buy"
Traditional Rating: 9/10
Genre: Isometric Action Role Playing Game
**This is a review of an early access game which I don't generally do , I prefer to review a fully fledged product since so much can and will change in the course of it going gold and getting ready for release - so please be aware of this before purchasing. This review will change as the other acts are released. There are four acts planned and currently you can fully complete ACT 1**
***If you have read my previous reviews you will see I very rarely hand out 9's or 10's to games. A game needs to be truly something special to aquire such a score and Grim Dawn is truly one of those games, even though its still early access and this score could very well change***
Titan Quest and its expansion pack offered me endless amounts of gaming joy when I played it a few years back having missed it originally when it released in 2007. I absolutely adored the Greek setting and ancient Greek lore so it was a total blast to hack and slash my way all the way down into the depths of the underworld to face off against Hades himself. I was deeply saddened to hear that Iron Lore had gone defunct since at this juncture Iron Lore was the only company making aRPG's that successfully mimicked Diablo (this was obviously way before Torchlight arrived and the f2p Path of Exile).
When I heard that some of the ex-developers from Iron Lore had created their own company called Crate Entertainment and through Kickstarter where funding a new aRPG called Grim Dawn, I was on it like a hawk following every news story and anticipating its release. Then magically, without much fanfare, it released to Steam as an early acces game. Needless to say after having now successfully completed the first chapter (which roughly ran me around eight hours - not sure what's up with my Steam stats as it didn't seem to record them), I can confirm that I am utterly in love with this title. In fact just based on the first act alone (which is dark, bleak and depressing but utterly fantastic to experience), I am going to go on record now and say it's streets ahead of all its other paid-for competitors (here is looking at you Torchlight II and Diablo 3).
You begin the game in a land called Cairn - a place that had been torn asunder through war and now is in total rack and ruin where humanity is almost on the brink of extinction. The reason for this is that two other-worldly super powers are magically using Cairn as their training grounds for the war they are waging on each other which is having devastating consequences for the human population. With one power seeking to use human bodies as a supply resource and the other simply seeking to eradicate humans from the system for good, Grim Dawn thrusts its players into a world where both options offer bleak outcomes for humanity. This war has also had cataclysmic effects on the wildlife that make up Cairn resulting in it warping all fabrics of life making it an incredibly hostile and dangerous place to roam. At the start of the game you join a motley crew of survivors who have holed themselves up in a prison and as it turns out iron, the metal, is the key - but the key to what? You will have to play the game to find out!
Skills and stats are fun to play around with. I decided to follow the Pyromancer route (which falls under the Demolitionist class) which I found immensely enjoyable and rock solid. The game controls beautifully and the battles are suitably hectic with some really amazing creatures and monsters encountered not in just packs of one or two but twenty or more. There are also a vast amount of elite creatures to take down and they are all suitably powerful and a definite challenge to beat. It all accumulates with an end boss fight that is more than just a nod to Diablo. Suffice to say by the time you reach him he will definitely give you a run for your money. I found him utterly brutal and it was such a joy to finally see him succumb after he stole my life away from me on the first three occasions.
Apart from my anticipation being almost off the charts for Dark Souls II, my second most anticipated gaming experience for 2014 would have to be when Chapter 2 finally drops (which according to the website should be any day now). The game looks utterly stunning and sounds awesome and is the most addictive fun I have had in ages (to give you an idea - I completed the first chapter in one single sitting which is something I never do - so this game literally grabbed me by the balls and just never let go).
I have all faith in Crate that they are not only going to deliver another 3 epic chapters in the coming months but they are going to deliver an aRPG for the ages for as it currently stands, aRPG's just don't get any better than this. Get it now and get in on the action. I assure you , you will not be disappointed.
Posted: February 3rd, 2014