Demons Age is a cRPG coming to PC, PS4 and Xbox One sometime in the next few months. Developed by BigMoon Entertainment, the dark fantasy title aims to serve a dose of the good old days.
Disclaimer: I played the trial/preview version of Demons Age (PC). The final version should have improvements (specifically performance).
Inspired by D&D projects such as Baldur’s Gate, Demons Age delivers a somber experience infused with turn based combat. Presented with an isometric view, that allows for a fair degree of control, many of the typical tropes associated with those above games. Although BigMoon proudly showcase their influences for all to see, a few fresh additions allow it to stand on its own two feet.
The plot is not one of these additions. Pitched as a block of exposition by a bland narrator in the opening cinematic, all the standard cliches are represented here. Set in the demon infested war ravished Moragon; Humans, Elves, Dwarves and Halflings attempt to regain the peace they once knew while fighting off a demon army. After a storm, your shipwrecked character washes ashore and sets off on a new adventure to save the world. Obviously.
The narrative is further exhausted by the rather lackluster voice acting. Although I appreciate the effort put in by the developers to voice most of the dialogue, the acting tends to feel out of place and emotionless. The slew of lines the enemy fodder fire off during combat are, also, way too limited and silly to add anything to the content.
Great graphics, (so far) uneven combat
Visually, Demons Age is satisfying. I loved seeing the little detail put into the environment (with the zoom in function). There is a relatively consistent tone reflected throughout the game. Although the design of most locations is similar, the use of weather effects and color allow each to feel unique while firmly existing within the same universe. This is not a Dragon Age Inquisition, connectivity is important.
.My version did not seem to allow a change in graphic detail (despite four being available on the menu). Though the final version should have that little issue fixed.
The combat is fun but currently quite unbalanced. Your character is often joined by other adventurers (story based) or hired guns found at the local inn. As you step into a dungeon, you’ll occasionally run into a group of enemies triggering a grid to appear. At that point, an option to move forward, delay turn or attack is presented (with magic/long range/short offering some choice). Picking the perfect order for your group to attack plays a crucial part on how successful each encounter will be.
Due to the D&D influence, luck plays a role. An attack’s strength is dictated by the stats of the two enemies (reflex is very important) and an off-screen dice role that decides the final hit points. This system is not really an issue BUT on higher difficulties attacks miss more often than they hit (on both sides). This leads to a lot of time wasting. On the easiest difficulty (three in all), your team seems to suddenly transform into the Flash as they barely ever get hit.
One of the most interesting mechanics within Demons Age is that hired guns are not necessarily loyal. That means picking the two strongest warriors available might not be the best option available. I love this idea, although it is made a bit too obvious which fighters should be avoided (mostly racism). Still, this variety allows catering a team for any specific situation since the different races/classes all provide unique benefits/weaknesses.
Your created character also levels up and gains new skills and/or spells. Each starting class specializes in a different style of combat (one hand, dual, magic, long distance). That must be taken into account before setting off on a quest (be it main or side). A fighter can not suddenly be changed into a wizard half way through, so once a choice is made it is final.
Technical issues abound in this preview build
This version was riddled with technical problems all around. An unresponsive menu, inconsistent frame rate, frustrating camera, even crashes during loading screens. Hopefully, these problems will be sorted came release. I also had no access to the configuration of the controls so some time was spent fiddling in the dark.
Despite the technical flaws and by the numbers plot, I can not wait to experience the completed version of Demons Age. Once a bit of polish is applied, there is a lot to love here for those searching for a classic turn based RPG.
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