9 people found this review helpful
Not Recommended
0.0 hrs last two weeks / 31.4 hrs on record
Posted: Jan 28 @ 9:44am
Updated: Jan 28 @ 9:52am

Wish I could recommend this one, since I really enjoyed most of my time with it, but unfortunately the difficulty ramps up about 2/3 into the game in a way that's making me give up on it. Until that point, I felt able to adapt to most of the new enemies and situations the game threw at me, and the exploration loop felt pretty good. I wanted to push myself as far as I could into the dungeons to unlock the next elevator before heading back to town, and the gradual difficulty creep with monsters provided a really good feeling of tension. The beginning of the game is super well balanced and pushing myself to explore despite the danger felt rewarding.

Then, at some point, you gain access to the "free warp spell", which while super convenient, totally destroyed any feeling of tension. You can essentially warp back to town, rest to get all your spells back, and then warp back to the exact spot you just were, elevators and shortcuts be damned. The game doesn't really give you a good reason not to constantly do this, so the feeling of risk/reward was gone.

To compensate, what the game does next is start to throw enemies that are just absurdly overpowered. Every encounter will feature enemies that always go first, have attacks that instantly kill one or more party members, inflict multiple status effects, drain multiple levels, drain your magic, and on the off-chance they just do a basic physical attack, will do at least 75% damage even to my strongest characters with equipment I've found that's far better than anything you can buy in the shop. The only way I can continue to make progress is through aggressive save scumming. I save after every battle and if the next encounter has more than a couple enemies in it, I hit alt-F4 and just load my save again.

The strategy at this point, I imagine, would be to re-class my characters into something that gains agility so you have a chance of buffing your party and debuffing the enemies before they can instakill everyone. I've done a little bit of re-classing, and the game really feels like it punishes you for experimenting. Changing a character's class drops them back to level 1, and although they keep their stats and spells, they take such a massive HP loss that they're guaranteed to die in 1 hit. You can convert gold into XP to get their levels back up, but because characters have a chance of *losing* stat points every time they level up, this feels like a crapshoot, too.

For example, I wanted to get my bishop's agility up so they have a chance of getting an action before the enemy. So I temporarily changed them into a thief. I got their levels back as high as I could with the gold I had on hand, which didn't bring them up to the level of the rest of my party, didn't give them enough agility to start going first, and also caused them to *lose* so much piety that I wasn't able to turn them back into a bishop. So I loaded my save, and realized I would just have to repeat the process and save scum until I got a more desirable outcome. And finally I realized that this is ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥t and stopped playing.

So yeah. Can't see any way to proceed without hours of grinding or save scumming for better die rolls. Maybe I ♥♥♥♥ed up by not being diligent enough by re-classing my characters more frequently when the game was still "easy", but the game never stresses this as an important mechanic and by reducing your characters to level 1, massively disincentivizes you from doing so. That said, for 15 bucks I still got a lot of enjoyment out of it, and if you go into it knowing what to expect, it might be possible to have a party capable of dealing with the high-level threats, but unfortunately it's too late for me. Maybe I'll revisit the game in a couple years and start fresh, but for now, I can't recommend it after seeing the late-game balance changes.
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