in the traditional beginning circulate for the sort of evaluate a number of you may typify as “the traditional 7/10”, i will say this: I favored The Dungeon Of Naheulbeuk: The Amulet Of Chaos a ways greater than I expected to. it’s XCOM by way of manner of Order Of The Stick, however with the battles related via wandering approximately inside the ‘accumulate your birthday celebration and undertaking forth’ culture of Baldur’s Gate.
don’t assume Baldur’s-Gate-style roleplaying, but, ‘cos this ain’t an RPG. it’s a satire of one – broadly speaking the tabletop kind, though it takes goal at CRPGs too – and whilst the tactical bits are performed straight, not anything else is. there’s my largest caveat approximately this game, then. Its humour is relentless. And even as it ended up hitting the mark often sufficient for me to heat to it, it become a close call. Your mileage, as they are saying, may additionally vary.
I think it’s wherein we have got to start, surely, considering that Dungeon’s tone is its defining feature. The processes bits are a definite thumbs up from me, however they may be fairly unsurprising if you understand the style in any respect, with stable design and little inside the way of innovation. No; the humour will likely be the component that determines whether or not you may experience it or not
entering into, it was really a supply of trepidation for me. A fantasy-themed XCOMmer, I concept, appeared a cracking concept. but a myth-themed XCOMmer… tailored from a French audio drama and comic collection, with a Steam page describing it as “wacky”? Hmm. additionally, the fact it changed into made by Artefact Studio, the creators of none other than Garfield Kart livid Racing, lent the whole prospect a sure dark electricity.
It makes feel that Dungeon is based on an audio drama, because it has a large script. Your birthday celebration of adventurers (all of whom are set in stone, I should warn, with handiest talents and equipment customisable) rabbit on for ever and ever. And to be fair, the voice appearing is brilliant. furthermore, if some of it’s far lifted from John Lang’s original Donjon de Naheulbeuk, then it’s genuinely properly-translated. all the jokes make feel. it’s just that some of them just happen to be entire piss, is all.
as it’s self-aware D&D parody, yeah? you realize the territory. I might not deny that it is able to be simply humorous. Even surreal, now and again, within the authentic sense of the word. The Dungeon Of Naheulbeuk itself, at the same time as added as a forbidding region that no adventurers have breached and lived to inform the tale, seems to be weirdly gentrified, like a growing kingdom infested by means of backpackers after being touted as “off the crushed track”. there is even an enormous, Wetherspoonian boozer for visitors. I in reality preferred stuff like that. additionally, there may be an exceptional amount of flavour textual content in the game, attached to every manageable little bit of statistics, and a variety of it turned into respectable fun. Oh, and there may be an ogre who’s like a sort of Poundland Shrek, and i truly loved him notwithstanding myself.
but then, there is all the stuff this is “surreal”, but within the experience that fools use the phrase. The running jokes approximately ker-ayzee chickens, for instance. And the common, drunken swerves into the fringes of the “monkey cheese RANDOM” humour purveyed with the aid of garbage “geek culture” webcomics inside the mid-2000s. There are fart and fizz gags. there may be reference humour (“i was an adventurer until I took an arrow to the knee”, in 2020. yes, truly). there may be lots of swearing for the sake of swearing, that is humorous even as it is clean and sudden, and barely grating thereafter.
It in no way turns into obnoxious, and as I say, there are a few gemstones in there. To be sincere, i’m able to consider masses of friends who’d experience the stuff that made my eyes roll. simply be privy to it getting in. really, my biggest trouble with the dialogue, and in fact the wandering-around-a-dungeon framing tool in standard, is the volume to which it dilutes the preventing. because the battles have been outstanding, and i simply desired to keep having them.
after I fell in love with Gears strategies earlier this 12 months, it turned into primarily as it turned into a no-frills, non-prevent red meat delivery system, which allow me mainline fights, with just sufficient Gears flavour in between to wash them down. however with Dungeon, I needed to interpolate every mouthful of fisticuffs meat with a heaping portion of dialogue veggies. And for the reason that story is mainly linear, fight-stumble upon-combat-stumble upon stuff, I truely were given my 5 an afternoon.
I assume half the trouble is what I noted on the top of the evaluation – it is not an RPG. If the communicate branched notably, or you made huge picks about who to assist, or what have you ever, i would have been greater invested inside the exploration/dialogue segments. but because it became, it had the feeling of being trapped in a cutscene, in which I needed to do the paintings of shifting the characters round.
it is worth saying, but, that the environments you’re wandering via in Dungeons are lovely. it is a lovely recreation with an exquisite level of polish, and constantly remarkable artwork direction. there has been a second where my birthday celebration walked out of a chunk of dungeon onto a rampart on top of a dizzyingly high wall, and the mixture of attitude and cognizance blur made the view certainly awe-inspiring. I did now not expect that in any respect. it is nearly a disgrace there isn’t always greater overall range in the environments on show, due to the fact i might have cherished to have visible that artwork team unleashed on a few more unusual stuff.
past the script and the artwork, the alternative location wherein I could see the sheer quantity of work that went into Dungeon – and which actions the game to ‘recommend’ from ‘lukewarm hand-waggle’ – was the layout of the real turn-based combat system.
again, there may be not plenty it really is wildly divergent from what you’d anticipate from whatever put up-XCOM, and i clearly hate spending paragraphs and paragraphs describing regulations. I suppose there are three matters that made the combat stick out for me, and the primary of those changed into the importance of positioning. With this being a fable placing, melee fight is extra not unusual than ranged, and so issues like backstabbing, attacks of possibility, and individual adjacency take precedence over overwatch and cover.
the second one element I cited turned into the ruthlessly green presentation of information. the game gives you each bit of data you can probable want to glean about your characters and their opponents, and places it in a sensible, intuitive place. A processes sport can best be as top because the facts it offers you, and in that experience, Dungeons has the raw substances for excellence.
but it really is exceptional from being remarkable. procedures video games ought to be approximately tough selections among limited options, all of which have clean risks and rewards. partially due to the fact you’re constantly fighting with a huge birthday celebration, and in part because you’re given a lot statistics to work with, fight is freighted with masses of “wager i will just try this” moments, where you can’t be arsed to run the numbers on six distinctive spiders, as it might make the combat go on for hours.
I think there is a bit of a tonal problem there, too. due to the sport’s basic silliness and experience of knockabout harmlessness, and the shortage of permadeath, there’s no real anxiety to make you sweat over choices. “Who cares if the barbarian dies,” you suspect. “he’s going to be back later, so i’d as nicely simply run him into that load of skeletons and see what happens.”
This butts awkwardly towards the third thing to notice about combat in Dungeon, which is that it’s bastard difficult, even on its default putting. multiple hours in, fights commenced turning into ludicrous tag-team affairs, in which my major efforts were towards keeping as a minimum one healer alive, in an effort to resurrect the four-or-so celebration members lying subconscious at loss of life’s door at any given moment. but howdy, I experience a tough tactics game, and there may be an easy putting if you’re extra in it for the journey.
Oh, and in case you’re the type of person who gets without a doubt angry at Ye Olde RNG, be warned: human beings seem to get very indignant approximately it on this game, and i will admit it did feel like my birthday party had a awful case of butterfingers at instances. From developer responses to salty Steam opinions, it appears a number of that is an intentional dovetail with the sport’s slapstick tone. but it could be annoying all the equal.
So there you go. If you like XCOM-ish things, The Dungeon Of Naheulbeuk must be on your library – just so lengthy as you do not mind a bit of hamfisted zaniness. I don’t suppose it’s one you’ll want to replay over and over, however it’s a full-size, well-crafted effort this is truely worth some time. Admittedly it is no Garfield Kart, however it’s unreasonable to expect a developer to produce as soon as-in-a-technology masterpieces on the trot, in spite of everything.