Legend of Grimrock: Quick review

2012-04-14 21:48

Haven’t finished the game yet, but having a great time.

Legend of Grimrock is a Dungeon Master clone. If you like video games, and you never played one of these, I commend it to your attention. If you think this is the same genre as Wizardry, Might & Magic, etcetera? No. Different genre. Other games in this genre were Dungeon Master, Chaos Strikes Back, Dungeon Master 2, the original Eye of the Beholder series, Black Crypt, and… uhm… drawing a blank here.

Basically, this is a dungeon simulator more than an RPG. You don’t have a character who has a “disarm trap” skill. No, the dungeon has mechanical qualities which you can figure out by study and observation, and use to bypass or defeat traps.

One of the reviews I read attacked this game because, by a few levels in, it was hard to stand toe-to-toe with the monsters. This is missing the point. The reason the game moves in discrete intervals is so that, if you’re agile, you don’t have to stand toe to toe with the monsters. You dance around then. (Roguelike players will recognize this as pillar-dancing; only difference is, you don’t need a pillar.)

Grimrock isn’t, I think, quite as polished as DM was — but it makes up for a fair bit with the massively improved speed, responsiveness, and graphics. No more minute-long load screens. :) The character system is comparable, though quite a bit different; both games give you a fair amount of freedom in what your characters will be like, the big difference being that DM let any character master any class, while Grimrock requires you to pick classes in advance.

Honestly, the single biggest difference is this: Doors don’t take up a square, rather, they are between squares. The “drop a door on them” strategy is tragically gone. And that is the most significant difference, by far, between this and a game that was released in 1987… And is still one of the best games I’ve ever played.

Rating? Let’s call it a 9.0/10. But ratings don’t tell you what you want, because they presuppose that you have the good taste to enjoy the same kinds of games I do.

If you liked DM, or EotB, or Black Crypt, you want this game. Even if you never play it, $15 to support devs and make more games like this happen is a good use of money. If you have never played any of those, but you have ever liked dungeon crawls in any format (tabletop RPGs, etc.), you should seriously consider trying this one. Just… Be ready for the learning curve to be a little steep. It’s not supposed to be particularly easy.

If you thought DM was too hard, or EotB was too complicated and the puzzles got in your way, skip it.

And if you ever wanted a level editor for DM, buy this so the devs can afford to work on that.

Peter Seebach

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Comment

  1. Lands of Lore too! That game ruled :)

    — Vvian · 2012-04-26 09:47 · #

 
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