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Garshasp: Temple of the Dragon
You start the game with a cut-scene between Garshasp and his much more cowardly brother. They’re talking about trying to find a mace in the temple of the dragon when an orc-looking creature rushes past them. Garshasp derides his brother for being afraid, and the two split up to search the forest.
Garshasp is controlled by the familiar WASD combination, and there doesn’t seem to be a way to change the control keys, which was the first ding for the game right off the bat. In Steam, you can change the keys by accessing the Configuration when you start the game, but I only came across that by accident, it doesn’t give you that information anywhere. Garshasp moves sort of drunkenly across the screen, it takes a bit of micromanaging to get him to go in a straight line. He can interact with objects in the world, which enables him to solve puzzles, earn power-ups and kick down levers to open new areas to explore. It was interesting that Dead Mage, the developer, decided to use a kick for the switches. I think it gives Garshasp more of a barbarian feel, and I like that. Puzzles aren’t limited to interactive objects though, they even make their way into the combat. One of the best fights early in the game takes place in a chamber where spikes rise up from the floor, impaling Garshap’s enemies (as well as him if he’s unlucky enough to be standing on them) and eliminating them for him if he can get them to be on them when they rise. There are also moves Garshasp can perform while fighting if he manages to knock his enemies to the ground, like stabbing them with his knife or the blade attached to his forearm.
Garshasp has some flaws, which are noticeable right from the first cut-scene. The dialogue is very awkward, and sometimes doesn’t make a lot of sense. This is especially noticeable in the pages Garshasp finds lying around that he can read to give him more information on the world in general and some specific things for his quests. But a lot of the pages don’t make a lot of sense, and there’s no way to access them later to read them again. Since no big clues are hidden in the pages, it’s not a big deal, I just wish they’d been a little more understandable. The world gets dark sometimes, and it makes everything very hard to see. I’m not sure if there’s a day/night cycle or just a bug that needs fixing. There were points I wasn’t sure how to proceed from one space to another, especially early on in the game. At one spot, you have to jump up and grab the ledge to escape from one section to another. I didn’t even know that he could climb ledges, so it took me a bit to figure out how to leave that area. There are other places like that, and sometimes the jumps he’s supposed to make seem like dead ends instead of something you can get across.
That being said, the combat is where Garshasp becomes a fun game. He’s almost always attacked by multiple tough enemies, and there’s sometimes a certain way he needs to defeat creatures. One of these is the orc-looking creatures shaman, who raises the dead warriors to continue attacking you until you figure out you need to kill the Shaman and then the others will stay dead. There are combos galore, some easier than others to perform, some just awkward. I mean, how do you press the middle mouse key/wheel and the left button at once? There’s plenty of vicious ways to eliminate opponents, and he keeps learning new moves throughout the game.
It’s the camera that really sinks the game, given to switching angles and making it almost impossible for you to see where you’re going and what’s ahead of you. This can be a real game killer, and there were certain points where I had a hard time moving forward because the camera was at such a bad angle.
Garshasp has some interesting ideas and moves, but is held back by its flaws. While I didn’t encounter any game stopping bugs in my time playing, I know that there are some associated with this game that should be fixed.
Garshasp is available on Steam for PC.