This is a game I am very conflicted about. I bought it because I wanted a really good metroidvania type game, and trust me that there is some great metroidvania content in here, but there are a few things about this game that just grated on my nerves too hard and soured what could have otherwise been a very positive experience.
Character Building: 9/10
- Huge 2D metroidvania style map to explore
- Lots of items to find (adds a D&D element to the metroidvania formula)
- Lighting the torches in each room makes for a surprisingly fun gameplay hook
- Boss battles feel satisfying
- Contains secrets (mostly behind secretly breakable walls)
- Lots of sidequests and bonus challenges
The ranged combat is decent (though not being able to aim more vertically to hit flying/floating enemies can be a slight annoyance), but the melee combat is an exercise in frustration. You won't understand how frustrating when you're first starting out and merely hacking slow, passive slugs to death. But once you start encountering toughter, faster, more aggressive enemies, that's when the problems begin to truly rear their heads. Here is a bulleted list of the issues I had with the combat. They are bad enough in isolation, but in aggregate they are even worse:
- Every attack by every enemy inflicts knockback on you no matter what. Yet none of your attacks inflict knockback on any enemy ever. They are solid as a rock, while you are batted around like a cat's toy.
- Enemy attacks interrupt every action you take, whether it's swinging your weapon or drinking a potion. Your attacks can stun an enemy if they are not currently attacking, but your attacks do not interrupt enemy attacks.
- If you are fighting a melee enemy, sword vs sword, you'll find that for some reason the protagonist swings much more slowly than most enemies, which further allows them to easily interrupt your attempts to attack them. Add the knockback and interrupt to this, and you're in for a real pisser.
- Nine out of ten enemies in the game inflict a status effect on you if they hit you (poison, burning, frozen) and status effects stack, exponentially increasing the effect. Status effects are a key element of RPGs, but it's usually a little more rare.
Given all of the above, you'll find yourself trying to use tactics that avoid direct melee combat (e.g. backstabbing and ranged) specifically because the double standard on the knockback and interrupt is such a pain in the ♥♥♥♥ that it's frankly not fun nor cost effective to use direct melee. Add the enemies that explode in a huge blast radius when they die, insta-killing you or instantly inflicting 4x status effects, and you'll begin wondering why you even carry a sword in the first place.
You could, of course, drink yourself silly on health potions. But I feel like health potions are a thing you use to compensate for mistakes or missteps, not something you drink to damage sponge your way through knockback city.
Oh yes, I am most definitely putting it in quotes. The protagonist you'll be forced to play in this game is the most annoying and repulsive tw*t you will ever meet. Prepare yourself for a lot of poop, fart, and d*ck jokes of the most childish and puerile kind. And don't get me wrong. I like childish humor and silliness as much as the next person. For example, South Park has a lot of jokes about poop, farts, and sex, but the difference is that South Park is actually funny. When UnEpic makes its poop, fart, and sex jokes, it feels like a literal third grader's attempt at humor. It wants very much to be a funny game with funny dialogue, but instead it just comes off as annoyingly immature. Even worse, the intolerable a*hole of a protagonist fancies himself the cleverest man on earth and insists on making "funny" quips at every juncture (while congratulating himself on his own brilliance, of course), meaning you'll have to listen to his "jokes" (or tediously tap the skip button) fairly regularly.
Maybe I wouldn't mind the protagonist if he actually seemed like a character. Like if he actually seemed like just a character who was written to be puerile or written to be an arrogant, self-satisfied prick who you would rather punch in the face than speak to. But what makes the problem worse is that he's not a believable character, because he is so inconsistent. One second he's making a joke about how he just farted or whatever (real comedy gold); then the next minute he's asking a female NPC seven times in a row if she wants to have sex, telling her how horny he is, how hot she looks, commenting on her genitals or whatever; then the next minute he sees a plant and makes what he thinks is a clever joke about growing marijuana, etc. Then after all of that, a dialogue where he brilliantly outsmarts his demonic possessor with reverse psychology and an Odyssean wit. The end result is that he seems less like a cohesive character and more like a vessel into which so many painfully immature fantasies have been dumped.
I might have thought this character was my kind of guy in the 7th grade, but I am a grown man. How am I ever supposed to beat this game when nothing makes me happier than killing this unlikable ♥♥♥♥ over and over again? He's the worst.