I was reasonably interested to hear that a new Gauntlet game was in the pipeline BUT at that stage I didn't know which pipeline it was in. I hoped it wouldn't be coming from the same one which has blurted forth the gaming equivalent of hot, liquid turds in the name of Gauntlet since the 1980's.
It seems that instead of serving us up complete effluent they have instead managed some kind of plumbing tomfoolery which has resulted in the effluent being mixed with cool, pure water. The resulting fluid can fill a glass but it is possibly not a glass one would choose to drink from.
Some of the benefits of the game...
1) Graphics are nice and (vaguely) evocative of the original game. Nothing looks bad and the game runs well. Everything looks reasonable for an arpg, tbh. Fairly stereotypical but then Gauntlet was pretty much first on the block for this kind of thing. However, there is little to no variation within a dungeon "set", which isn't in line with the original, there are just themed "worlds" which are not unlike the crap we had to munch through with "Gauntlet: Dark Legacy"
2) Multiplayer works well, netcode seems tight. Now that the "cannot connect to Gauntlet online" random messages have ceased thanks to a post release patch, the netcode works well. Compared to something like Magicka which is still, imo, in a broken "online" state, Gauntlet runs perfectly. No real problems to report, no lag issues as such.
3) It's a good game for a little while, especially for fans of the original BUT this only lasts a short time. One of the key factors of the original was that there were a lot of different dungeons pooled randomly from a larger set, many of which could be flipped and changed in ways by the game before they were presented to the player. No two playthroughs would be quite the same. This is not the case in the new version, with only a few levels being occasionally "flipped" but they're very familiar whatever way round you do them after a very few playthroughs.
1) Skill trees have been added but instead of making the game something one would return to in order to "level up" items etc we are presented with something that's nothing more than a skin buying interface (buying skins with ingame money does nothing to your character and they are barely visible) and the option to buy "spells" (more on these on point 2). You can collect more than enough money very quickly to buy all of these things. Also, each upgrade is NOT character specific, with only 2 skills being particular to each character. This is nonsense. It just means, basically, that you're endlessly playing the game to unlock more of the same stuff (unlocks do not migrate across characters)
2) Spells are terrible. "Potions" in the original Gauntlet worked as "Smart bombs" which would destroy onscreen monsters, particularly "Death" (More on this explained in point 3) but instead of keeping them the same the developers saw fit to wangle them into some rubbish kind of "Special move" enabling fandango. Preposterous. So, basically, you have to have a potion in your possession to perform your Special move. This means players simply signpost points in levels, grind out enough potions then all just launch the same kind of devastating, battle winning special. This renders the game really boring and, as a direct result of how the game progresses coupled with this stupid idea, the "end of level" bosses actually get progressively easier as the players become more invincible (in chosen situations). It's a really stupid, crappy system. They should have based these Special abilities on kills or a rage meter or something like that and kept potions the same. In the original game, the wizard could clear a screen by firing off a potion, with the other characters doing progressively less damage with them (warrior being least proficient). Potions were more rare, usually, whereas I feel the new version gives too many, with everyone able to just blast out specials by the time you reach the end of a particular dungeon set.
3) Death is rubbish in this game. People who play/played Gauntlet will know what I mean but for the benefit of those not familiar, Death in Gauntlet is a physical character. In the original he would chase the players and steal health unless someone used a potion. Using a potion "killed" him, for the time being. There could be multiple "deaths" on one level, though. They were quite fun and an interesting alternative to ploughing through loads of "nasties". Anyway, "Death" is nothing like that in the new version. Instead of being in the main levels, he gets his own set of levels which really DO NOT WORK. They're not much fun and get old very quick. He appears, chases you for a bit, then disappears. This happens as you're pushed through a linear set of rooms and, yeah, gets old. Death is not remotely troublesome, either, and you can simply run round and round him. He even smashes crates/pots by passing over them so you can use him to collect money. He's basically rubbish in this version of the game, pushed into a sidequest of sorts (which is short and lame YET counts as a "main level")
4) GENERATORS. GENERATORS, FOR CHRISTS SAKES, NOT "SUMMONING STONES". JESUS ! WTF !? The summoning stones are a BAD idea. They even sound rubbish. "GENERATOR" sounds so much more malevolent and directionless. "Summoning stones" take the place of generators in this version of the game but they're a really lame replacement. In the original, Generators were in place in the level anyway. You could see them from far away. In this version you will usually walk into a room, the doors will shut, and a Summoning Stone will appear. From this, enemies will come and you smash them up then smash the stone. Doors open. Proceed. Pretty lame, tbh. There are no "levels" of summoning stone, either, whereas the original game had varying strengths of Generator that spewed various strengths of creature. Also, there were ghost generators in the original game. In this game, ghosts are confined to just appearing on the "death" mini-levels. They just appear in tiny groups, following him. Useless. Gone are the days of masses of monsters (including ghosts, see LEVEL ONE IN THE ORIGINAL GAME FFS) generating and pushing at the backs of doors, instead we get the occasional room that's been "set up" with standing monsters but nothing like the original dungeons, creaking with scum to be destroyed. It's like everything in this game is just waiting for you to turn up before it'll appear, which takes away from the "world of absolute violence" vibe that many so loved about the original. Then again, that might just have been me. I'm asian.
5) This is a SHORT game. It's not got anywhere near the replayability of the original and in a couple of playthroughs (or less) you'll most likely have enough gold to max everything on your (not very unique) character. It's really hurt by not having random levels of the kind offered by stuff like Full Mojo Rampage (and many other such games). With no real need (or, perhaps, desire ?) to replay for more xp and to enjoy some different levels, there's little to return to this game for and we, once again, encounter the same problem that has plagued all of the more modern Gauntlet updates. NOT ENOUGH GAME. Why, when the original paved the way for randomising such a large amount of gameplay elements do we have to put up with this NONSENSE ? We were even promised such things in this version of the game but there is no such thing (99% of the time) here.
6) Price. It's too expensive for what it is and the new character should have been free DLC. The base game doesn't contain a fair few things that were promised and just feels, well, way too short and shallow. It's good fun and the engine is sweet, the characters "play" well and all the new moves are fine but there need to be many more levels to make this worthwhile.
I recommend Full Mojo Rampage instead.