Game Review: Legend of Grimrock
Legend of Grimrock is a first person role-playing dungeon crawler developed, and published by Almost Human. The game was released April 11, 2012, for PC and Mac. Grimrock is simply remarkable. Not only does it look enticing, but the game fully gives you an experience that goes down to the core of why RPGs are amazing, and goes back to games such as Elder Scrolls 2: Daggerfall, or Eye of the Beholder.
Legend of Grimrock stars 4 criminals who are sentenced to death in order to absolve their sins. You then begin the game with either making your own 4 characters, or utilizing the 4 preset characters that are given to you. As you progress, the lack of cut scenes are easily noticed, but are made up with a very ambiguous voice that greets you within dreams. This voice gives you useful information, and keeps you interested until the end of the game. However, the real objective of the game is to survive, and find an escape from Grimrock.
The gameplay on the other hand is simply stupendous, and action packed at all times. Combat is done in real time, where you have to align your party of 4 strategically. If you place a mage as the beginning party leader, he will have a harder time trying to survive, while if you place a soldier with a sword in the back row, they will miss a great deal of attacks more often. However, the ability to change where the characters are can be done at any time. Another factor that comes into play is because of real time- there’s quite the danger when your characters are sleeping. All enemies are relentless, and even when you are sleeping, they will attack in groups. There are a great variety of enemies, from snails, to knights, to mushroom-like enemies. Each one has this distinct sound, and many have weaknesses and advantages, for example, the shield protects the knight from damage a great deal more from the snail, but they attack slower.
Even though the combat is very fun, the main focus is the incorporation of puzzles, and the usage of items. There are a great deal of levers, portraits, hidden doors, and loose stone within walls that are used to access weapons, and armor. The best thing about these puzzles is the ramp in difficulty. From start to finish each puzzle becomes a little bit more difficult than the last, some utilizing keys to open doors, or killing an enemy to drop a key. Sometimes there are trap doors that need to be shut, or some that are just plain hazardous. But keep in mind; every time you complete a puzzle, there’s this gratifying feeling of really solving a puzzle. The player also unlocks an abundant amount of achievements. Achievements mostly consist of killing a certain amount of enemies, or solving a few puzzles.
Other things that make this game great are the atmosphere that it gives off. Sure, when you first see a first person dungeon crawler, the game looks very boring, and most player predict them to be monotonous, and everything but fun, but this game proves you wrong. Furthermore, there will be support from the developers for the player to create mods, dungeons and other fun things for other players to get their full money’s worth. Not only that, but this game is not one of those games that are fully expected be graphically enticing, but it truly is. There are a large variety of different enemies, and the dungeons change a great deal as you progress through them. There are also many different items that can be found, along with shadow effects, and little to none graphic issues. Furthermore, the last little detail to touch upon is the sound. Simply put, the sound is great. The soundtrack is well balanced, and never becomes old, and the sound effects are nice, and add a creepy atmosphere, which makes the player focus on the environment, and the enemies that could be behind the next hallway.
On the other hand, there are some down sides to this game. The story itself feels very boring at first, which is not expected out of an RPG, but is definitely a turn-off. Other problems occur with the gameplay as well. For example, some corridors are extremely small, and a bunch of enemies have the tendency to surround you. The magic combat system is never properly introduced in the tutorial. Sometimes the difficulty spikes are random, from simply fighting snails, to fighting an unexpected knight, or enemies that are ridiculously strong do make this game somewhat frustrating.
Overall tough, the game has so many positives; the negatives seem to just disintegrate. Almost Human delivers a game that does not hold your hand; it does not try to make RPGs different from what they were back then, but still provides a game that is simply amazing. I would go as far as to say that this game has shown all those RPG hardcore fans that dungeon crawlers still got what it takes to be on your top ten list without trying to add anything else into the mix. So overall, do I recommend this game? Yes, I definitely recommend this game to any RPG fans, because they truly will not be disappointed.