Rise from your grave...
The game starts appropriately enough telling the tale of your demise. Nekro, is the heartwarming tale of a newly risen necromancer's love affair with his newly chosen god, and his slow descent into his lust for power. Along the way you'll have wonderful adventures with your skeletal friends as you embrace villagers and teach them the error of their ways (namely, living), and show the world that a life less lived is indeed the better option.
... it's also a really good excuse for a lot of blood, fire and brimstone. A lot of carnage. A lot of cartoony death and destruction, and quite possibly the most interesting take on FPRTS (First Person "Real time Strategy") since Sacrifice. Whilst it lacks the absolutely insane non-linear story of Sacrifice, it most definitely makes up for it with the sheer breadth and depth of your necromancers suite of customisation, more on that shortly.
You're the leader, that's not to be confused with hero or 'unstoppable force' though...
Much like Summoner, whilst your necromancer is a powerful unit, and when used correctly, can pump out an inordinate level of damage, you're also vulnerable. A concerted attack by a few units will kill you in short order, and as a direct result, using your main hero to charge in to the front lines is almost always suicide (almost, picking off weaker, isolated units is entirely feasible).
Instead, your job is to act as a support and extra damage and healing to your main army, which you will grow over the course of each level. In the early levels you might only have a handfull of zombeefs or skeletons, but later on you'll be commanding impressive numbers of all kinds of undead monstrosities, including things like the Crust King, a unit which alone can decimate entire bunches of units all by itself (and once upgraded, can tank whilst the rest of your army goes in and does the wrecking).
In addition to the summons, you also have scourges (one type of three picked at the start), along with your abilities which you can purchase and upgrade (class specific based on your necromancer flavour). Each of the three necromancers bring wildly different playstyles to the table, and there's almost certainly one that's going to suit your personal preferences. Me? I'm an alchemist, I work to support my summons and keep them alive and in play longer.
The literal bones and spine of any good army...
The options for your army are wide and diverse, being made up of mutually exclusive options that you can pick at each tier, so you can select from either Zombeefs or Skeletons at the first, you can only take one of those into battle, not both. Additionally, each unit type has specialisations, which again, are mutually exclusive, so the skeletons have a melee type, which comes with a cutlass, and is a versatile all rounder, or the archer, which is a low HP unit but can deliver withering fire at a distance. This incredible level of depth to the customisation, combined with the choices you make about your necromancer mean every game can, and quite possibly will play out extremely differently.
There's a lot of replayability as you explore the different options and playstyles available, and the developers have done an impressive job of crafting *meaningful* choices at each tier. Some demons serve as exceptionally powerful traps, limited by the fact they are immobile. Others are all rounders, jacks of all trades but masters of none. Others yet are rapid scouting units, able to get ahead of the main army so you can see what's coming up ahead. With so many solid choices, you're never left wanting and more often than not you'll be scratching your chin and puzzling over which choice you feel is the best one for you. There's rarely a "wrong" choice, it all depends on your playstyle.
The foes are no pushover either...
Once into the game itself, you may notice that the game plays out something like a cross between a MOBA and an RTS, with your abilities on set cooldowns and a lot of them having "skillshot" style interfaces, namely that you need to use good positioning to make the most of them, and accurate placement to get the most out of them. For the hero, there's definitely a lot of MOBA-esque controls to get the hang of, albeit with direct WSAD control over movement. For the units, it's RTS style commands, with waypoints and control groups allowing a good level of control over your ever expanding army of minions. If all else fails, the "Send all" waypoint is a good fallback for rolling the doomball over whatever needs killing.
As long as your core competencies with the necromancer are up to spec, this works at least reasonably reliably, provided you don't go charging into fights you can't win. Enemies aren't too smart, but they ARE tough, quickly ramping up and gaining specials and hitting fair hard, so working out the proper order of killing becomes important, prioritising what to kill, then consume to keep the health of your minions up, that is important information you need to get down pat in a hurry.
It's never been such a good time to be so bad...
Nekro is an extremely good example of Early Access done right, the initial release was very raw and content light, but it did show people where the game was going. As time has gone on, it's slowly layered on the depth, complexity and content, and now we're well into the beta and approaching the final stretch, despite the fact it's still in Early Access, I feel comfortable enough submitting this review as I can't see anything that will fundamentally change what I say now. This game harks back to the good days of Summoner, and in a sense it's a love letter to that game, and it does it proud. It brings it's own sense of style and a unique twist on the FPRTS approach to the table, and it does it extremely well at that.
Verdict : Highly RecommendedIf you liked this review or want to see more recommended games, be sure to follow our curator group: Follow Original Curator GroupCheck out the Original Network Groups. Win free games, make new friends on Steam, & more!
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