Early access? What early access? This game is amazing as it is... oh, man, I can't even begin to imagine what will it look like when finished!
I bought the game during the summer sale 2 days ago and I easily clocked in close to 17 hours already, and that is already telling, don't you think? But let's not get ahead of myself. As usual, I will take a look at the good and the bad. This review is as of build 9007, with the man at arms and the arbalest included, along with the new bosses.
1. Ironman - this game is for true rogue-like genre fans, the ones that do not whine and complain in the face of adversity and overwhelming odds, but for ones who seek options and avenues of advancement to combat this adversity.
2. Rogue-like at its best - you never know what the game will offer you. You need to cope with the resources at your disposal. For example, you may be forced into weeks and weeks of hardships simply because the game won't pity you enough to give you another Vestal or Occultist character, but instead shower you with tanks and pitiful healers.
3. Procedurally generated dungeons - while you could try to assume and predict, based on the area you chose to explore, layouts they are still largely random, so you need to plan ahead big time. Fight or flee has never been a bigger wrench of a choice before.Or that What if... queston on the back of your mind...
4. Memorable stories - the game creates stories on its own, for example, how you got wiped twice, forced into meager runs but managed to get back on your feet and actually complete all the objectives, or, say, how you were forced into a 4 highwayman run cause you had nothing else to use, or, how your cleric went crazy and abusive and started britching(:P) about anything others do, which tunred into an avalanche of abusive stressed out individuals who care not about each other? Those things are in the game. This is one of the few games that makes you go to the forums or post a status about what happened just to vent off or share with your friends.
5. Various missions - every time you complete a mission you get a different set of consequential encounters for you to choose, all of them with various objectives and varying rewards.
6. Bosses - there are a number of bosses in the game, each one with different mechanics, meaning you need to bleed, boil and hurt till you learn what the boss does best and how to best combat him/her... it.
7. Your very own mini-village for you to develop as you see fit. Will you neglect armor and weapons for the sake of more skills and buffs during camping? Will you choose to be skilled and better equipped and protected, but suffer everything the RNGesus throws at you cause you didnt upgrade the amount of new heroes who want to join you and the means of reducing stress through the abbey or the tavern? All up to you, and my, it is a big deal to select a good path of advancement. This alone creates memorable stories to post and share.
8. Varying areas each with its own enemies, expectations, and bosses.
9. The Light system, which alone makes for very interesting gameplay. More stress, but more loot, a normal run, or a safer run with less loot but little stress and lots of happy characters? Up to you!
10. Wonderful level progression system with a set number of skills per character and quirks you gain for completing dungeons or various other conditions.
11. Being dark and moody, making you crigne when something happens - it only enhances the experience.
12. Value for the money - I like judging my game hours like 1 for 2, or 1 for 3 for bigger games. So, for every 1 euro I pay I expect 2 to 3 hours of gameplay. I can tell you, I could do 10 times the price I paid for this game.
1. Early access - yeah, many features are still missing, even if the game is great as it is.
2. Ironman - the game is extremely punishing, sometimes to the point of frustration. Some enemies can crit you out and kill a character while you're gaping at the screen with a "holy crap" ready to roll out of your mouth.
3. You get to work with what you're given - you may find yourself sorely lacking in resources, passable heroes, meager parties, and worse.
4. Cheesing out - the game can be cheesed out to make more money and save yourself from a dire situation, or to win a mission somehow.
5. Items cannot be sold at shops - I havent found a way to sell an item that I have no use of still. Might be me, though.
6. There is a stupid caretaker that may occupy the only freaking place where your most valuable character has to go to relieve stress.
7. Dungeon layouts may completely foil your plans.
8. Wipes and bad stuations - yeah, it can happen, especially while you still dont know what you're doing and what each thing does.
9. Character balance - characters are not perfectly balanced as of yet. Then again, this game being a rogue-like, dont mind having an underdog in my party just because I dont have anything else to use.
BUY THIS GAME - simple as that. You will spend lots of gameplay hours on it in its early access - I would say 30+ to complete all the caretaker's goals, and lots more when the game gets fully released. That being said, while I am a tad generous with the play time for a single run, I have 2 separate play-throughs (as I wanted to see the game from 2 different standpoints) and I can easily say that those play-throughs are as different as the sun and the moon. This is downright amazing, and I sure as hell hope they will continue adding content this way. There are still 2 more areas to unlock in the future, and they are surely going to be amazing.