Postat: 19 mai
An unusual and intriguing little game that I came to like a lot. This is a title you will either love or hate.
What type of game is it actually?
I think of it as a hybrid of action, RPG, hack&slash, strategy and brawler.
The problem with these hybrids is usually that people see one type of game that they like in the list and then complain that it is nothing like their favourite game (see all those peeps comparing it to Dragon Age, Dark Souls, ... and then state that OOAM is rubbish? Yeah well ...)
But, this one really is a mix of action/RPG/hack&slash/strategy/brawler. Don't ask yourself if you like one gamestyle in that list, ask yourself if you would like a mix of all those styles.
You have command over the orc Arkai and goblin Styx. You always control one of them and the other one will either be handled by the AI or by commands from you.
When not in battle, Styx can sneak around and assassinate enemies, which is incredibly fun.
In battle, at any point you can enter "strategy mode
", which slows down the game a lot and allows to give commands. I found this a much better option than the pause-mode of pure RPG-titles, because it keeps you on your toes.
In strategy mode, you have the option to enter one or more commands
. For example, you can tell Arkai to taunt an enemy to grab its aggro. But you can also have him first taunt and then follow up with a stunning strike.
This goes for both characters, so in addition to Arkai's taunt and stun, you can order Styx to first poison his daggers and then attack the stunned foe with a destabilizing slash.
It will take a while to get a hang of this combat system, but once you do, you reach a breaking point and are set for the remainder of the game. Be prepared that it will probably require an hour or more to even start to appreciate this title.
You can also give commands by means of hotkeys in the real-time environment, a nice option once you are confident in your abilities.
There is an inventory system
but it does not add a lot to the game, as there is actually only very little to loot.
The game comes with experience points for battles won: by the end of the game you will have gained around 22 levels this way. Levelling grants you ability points and skill points.
The skill system
allows you to suit the 2 characters to your preferred playstyle, for example using Arkai as tank and Styx as backstabber, or Arkai as berserker and Styx as ranged support. Skills come in all styles, like light attacks, heavy attacks, stunning attacks, ... This is where the brawler parts kicks in.
However, the freedom in attributing skill points is limited because there are a couple of skills that are absolutely required to win the game. If you don't have a stunning attack on one of your toons by the final level, you have no chance to win for example. The game expects players find such things out on their own.
Also the freedom you have in attributing ability points
is only a farce, because basically you need to dump almost everything into stability (= constitution) to survive the higher levels. Again something that the developers assume you will discover yourself.
Not that all this is actually bad, mind you! In a way the gameplay reminds me a lot of a game of the nineties, where such experimental hybrid of styles, lack of handholding and assumption that the player is smart enough to pick the correct skills were very common. Just ask yourself if that is something you can live with or not.
The biggest negative point is probably that fighting does get repetitive: once you have build your 2 characters as you want them, you are stuck with only a few strategies to handle any situation. Still, the game throws more and more challenging fights at you to keep you interested.
Not a walk in the park but actually not too difficult once you get a hang of the combat system. There are a few parts where you have to solo a bit with one character and you will struggle with a poorly built toon there.
Other than than the only really frustrating bit is the end fight but even there it is a matter of “this needs better strategy” rather than “this is unfair”!
Acceptable. While there are some optional missions or choice-points, you have very little control on the outcome of the story.
The story is developed by means of cutscenes in or between missions and dialogues. Most can be skipped with the escape key, except for one rather frustrating bit at the end.
Extremely linear. There is typically only one path through a level. There is also a map that tells you what to expect in level design from the start of each mission, so getting lost is simply put not possible.
I would have preferred a little bit more freedom in levels, but so be it ...
The levels are all fairly short, which is actually a big plus. You do get some variation in settings and enemies this way.
There are a total of 37 levels. Completing the entire game once, including all optionals, will take about 10 hours at the easiest difficulty. I found this just enough seen the repetitive fighting.
Unfortunately you cannot rebind keys except for shortcuts to skills. Since the combat is for a large part based on cueing commands in strategy mode and not so much on real-time fighting, I don't object at all. You can also use a gamepad.
Note that you can save at any point when not in combat. The game will also save automatically before every fight so you will barely need manual save option. Only exception is the final level, which strangely enough does not autosave at all.
No doubt that we are dealing with a console port. The engine itself is nice and really shows off its quality in backdrops or the glistening of skin for example, but the character models are low-polygloned, texture quality is meh, textures are repeated a lot and lip syncing is awful. On the other hand, this is not a triple-A title so it would not be fair to expect an A+ visual fidelity.
I did find the game surprisingly taxing on my graphics card despite the average graphics. Note that nevertheless I was able to pull the game easily with all setting maxed out. My CPU-use barely rose over 5% at any point. Even video-rendering while playing this game turned out possible.
I also did not experience any crashes, bugs or any other problems running the game.
Basically, any setup with good GPU and VRAM and updated video-drivers will probably be able to run this
Note that the game has a rather small FOV, but you can easily change this yourself (check the forums).
Sound & music:
The voiceovers of Arkai and Styx are great - sure Styx is a nasty, backstabbing little coward, but you will come to like this character. The other voices in the game are bleh.
Soundeffects are pretty good although never stand out. The fighting was a bit too quiet to my liking.
The music is fantastic: a combination of raw, tribal rhythms and intense cello!
At one point in the game you have to make a decision as to how to progress your 2 characters. That is basically the only reason to replay this game, because all the others choices you have to make are not really relevant.
- Unique setting and mix of styles
- Controlling 2 characters that complement each other is satisfying
- Very interesting battle system that mixes real-time and paused combat
- Sneaking and assassinating are fun
- The character of Styx is great
- Music: we need moar cello in games!
- Little handholding: the game requires you to think and adapt
- Fighting does get repetitive
- Very linear story and levels
- No rebindable controls
- Graphics are underwhelming
- Lack of autosaves during endfight is a kick in the nuts
- Little handholding: it is easy to screw yourself horribly with poor choices