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Legend of Grimrock 2 – Ten Tips for New (and Returning) Players
Like the first Legend of Grimrock, the sequel is filled with brutally difficult puzzles, harrowing monster battles and cruel traps. It’s also incredibly fun.
While individual puzzles and walkthroughs can be combed through via wikis, forums and guides, these tips are more generalized and spoiler-free. Knowing is more than half the battle in Legend of Grimrock 2, and even veterans of the first game will find lots of useful new information and tactics to utilize while adventuring on the island of Nex.
1) Create a balanced party of specialists. There are only so many weapons and armor on the island, it would be supremely difficult to outfit four warriors, especially in the early game. Instead diversify your party as much as possible to cover different skills and different weapon styles. You’ll also want at least two frontline fighters to wear the majority of any found armor and take the majority of the hits. I suggest at least one Heavy Weapons and one Light Weapons user.
2) Alchemy may be the most important skill in the game. You don’t necessarily need an Alchemist (though I’d highly recommend it if you want to wield firearms) but do invest in the alchemy skill. Unlike the first game you do not need an empty flask to make a potion, only the proper herbs. And the island is chock full of them just lying around. At 4th level you can brew Greater Healing and Energy Potions, the former which also heals injuries, and several new potion types are introduced that require high levels of alchemy, like Potions of Resurrection and even the ability to brew permanent attribute boosters. Alchemy is amazing.
3) Either max the Firearms skill or ignore them. Even with an Alchemist firearms malfunction at an annoying degree, essentially removing them from the current combat encounter. The firearms themselves are rare and fairly powerful, and though ammo is decently plentiful you do not recover them like arrows and quarrels. If you’re firing your gun as often as possible, you will quickly run out of pellets, so invest in a backup weapon skill.
4) Save skill points if you can, and pay attention to traits. Many weapons and all spells have prerequisite skills, and you won’t know them until you find them. It’s aggravating to put a precious skill point into a skill only to immediately find a new weapon that requires a different one. Try to save new skill points for as long as you can to meet any requirements you may need. The incredibly powerful fireball spell, for example, requires 3 points in Fire and 1 in Air, while weapons will require higher levels of the Heavy/Light Weapon skill. By the end of the game you’ll be in the early to mid-teens level wise, so every skill point is precious.
5) If you run out of food, go fishing. It wasn’t until I was embarrassingly late into the game before I realized you could ‘fish’ by simply clicking on any fish in the water. Free food! Some dungeons, like the crypt, have very little food and you’ll want to prepare accordingly. Another quick way to grab food is to use the Hub to return to Shipwreck Beach and beat up on the low level turtles for their sweet sweet steaks, as many creatures respawn after a time. Also obviously useful if you dared to try out the crazy Farmer class. Eat to win!
6) Use the map annotations to keep track of clues and locations. Legend of Grimrock 2 is much more open than its predecessor; if you get stuck on a puzzle you can easily return later, and same goes for if you run into monsters that are continually destroying you. Make liberal use of the map annotations to make frequent notes around the map to mark locked doors, confusing puzzles and dangerous areas. It’s also a good idea to write down everything the stone philosophers say (the statue heads with glowing eyes) as most give hints and clues to various puzzles and secrets, including how to access certain areas around the island.
7) If you can’t figure out a puzzle, the solution may be found elsewhere. Expanding upon the previous tip, the open nature of the island means you can wander into different areas, but some of them may be gated off in ways you don’t understand. The moving block puzzle outside the cemetery gates is a great example, and a nearby stone philosopher will tell you where to look for the solution.
8) Gold Keys are a precious resource, think hard before spending them. Most areas have at least one locked door with some really spiffy looking loot behind it, and all it takes is a gold key. Early on you’ll find a vault with no less than four locked areas, all containing good loot and each requiring a gold key. The solution is obvious – save and try each one until you find one you want to spend it on. Don’t expect to find more than half a dozen gold keys in your 30hr+ adventuring, but do expect to find over a dozen places to use them. Just one more agonizing decision you’ll have to make.
9) Ladder hopping is the new square dancing. I touched on this in my review, but I’m going to officially coin the tactic of quickly going up and down a ladder to attack and avoid retaliation as ‘ladder hopping.’ If you’ve played the first game you should be intimately familiar with ‘square dancing’ – the art of moving around a 2×2 grid with a single opponent so that your enemy never faces you and never gets a chance to attack, while you pummel them mercilessly with your fine-tuned art of strafing and turning. In many areas of the game you can take full advantage of foes that can’t use ladders, enabling you to quickly step up and unleash an attack or two before dropping back down. It’s particularly effective in areas that have a lot of otherwise fairly powerful opponents that can quickly overwhelm you, such as the sewers.
10) Quicksave is still your most valuable tool. Just like in my Divinity: Original Sin Tips, and assuming you aren’t playing on Ironman mode (which you really shouldn’t for your first playthrough), use your quicksave at every opportunity. Pushing a mysterious button? Quicksave. About to lift a lovely new item from a pedestal in an empty room? Quicksave. Entering a new dungeon? Probably deserves a hard save, then quicksaving throughout. Nothing beats having foresight on the dangers that lurk around every corner. Abusing it too often may cheapen the experience so your mileage will certainly vary, but remember that Quicksave is your friend, unlike the creatures that roam the island.