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Review: Legend of Grimrock
In the Legend of Grimrock four prisoners are thrown into Mount Grimrock for crimes unknown. The premise of the game is to adventure through the dungeon and make it to safety. Almost Human Productions’ indie studio gives flash backs to old d20 based roleplaying games. This Adventure/RPG is packed with all types of dungeon crawling goodness. There are plenty of monsters to combat between the puzzles, random encounters and hidden passages that are seeded throughout the levels of Grimrock.
Your party consists of four characters that you’re allowed to customize at the beginning of the game. Just like the characters are thrown right into Grimrock, you’re thrown right into the game. There’s no tutorial, although there are notes on the walls to help out at first. On level 1 you fight enemies with your fists looking for armor and weapons and eventually your wizards first spell book. Whenever you find new equipment you have to throw away the old stuff. There is no reason to hold onto loot when you’re fighting for your life.
The graphics in the Legend of Grimrock are fantastic for an indie game. The combat, environment, and menus are all professional looking and flow well. Of course, you’re in the same dungeon for the whole game, so the environment doesn’t change much. The game plays like a classic PC RPG, but the sleek 3D makes it stand out as a new title. Each monster moves and attacks in a unique and smooth way. The graphics and sound aren’t flashy, but they do a good job of sucking the player into the Grimrock world.
The Legend of Grimrock uses unique controls that take some getting used to. Players use their mouse for just about everything but movement. However, in combat it’s vital for players to not just move around but also change the characters formation while attacking and inputting spells. Multitasking numerous actions and with four characters at once gets confusing in the heat of battle. However, once you get a hang of it the combat is interesting and unlike any other game I’ve played. It takes strategy and timing, not just button mashing. Almost Human Studios did a good job of making combat unique and challenging.
Usually, this type of dungeon crawling games lacks a good story. The producers could have left us with “Four prisoners were thrown into a dungeon,” but surprisingly the story has depth. Even though there has to be a lack of friendly NPCs in order to keep to the story, the game finds ways to interact with the player. You find notes and clues that you have to piece together. Every once in a while you’ll find the skeleton of an adventurer of Grimrock that came before you. And I won’t spoil it, but it seems like someone’s watching your every move. By making you piece together information for the story you get sucked into the game even more.
The main problem with the Legend of Grimrock is its lack of customization. You get the option of customizing your four man party, but there are only three classes. There are four races to choose from, and four attributes that all characters share. But for this kind of adventure game I’d like to have more choices between what my party is made up of. At least make it so each character in your party can fulfill a different role. This hurts the gameplay and the replay ability.
All in all it was a fun game. I got lost fighting through level after level of their well-designed dungeon. Currently the Legend of Grimrock is just the one dungeon, however Almost Human Productions has stated that they are looking to create additional dungeons and maybe even make a player dungeon builder. The game is worth checking out and is now available on Steam or directly from their website here.