Grim Dawn is now availabe on Steam for the pricey sum of $30. It seems the developers of this game think their Alpha is worth that much money.
Before I go on I must explain something — as a reviewer it is sometimes easy to become complacent about the “price of games” when you are getting review codes for nothing. Occasionally, I like to buy a game myself to make sure I don’t lose touch with that fact and will remember to factor price into my scores.
Now, some will bleat about the fact I am previewing an “Alpha” of game. As far as I am concerned if you are charging for your game then it qualifies as something that can be written about. If you expect people to part with their money for your product, it falls under my remit.
Grim Dawn is an action RPG (think Diablo, Torchlight, Path of Exile) and has been hyped as something really special by its fanboys. In fact, so far, it is merely another ARPG with little in the way of original ideas. The plot comes so close to a certain game that one wonders if they won’t get a call from Blizzard’s lawyers if they don’t go off on a tangent with the next act.
Graphically, it looks decent but nothing special. Of course, that should be improved as the game moves through development to final release (which is quite a ways off). Currently it doesn’t even look as good as Path of Exile (which is free) in its early beta. Crafting in the game, so far, is anything but interesting.
What most concerns me besides the weak plot, is the complete lack of variety in mobs you flight, gear that drops, and combat. The vast majority of mobs in the first act are zombies of some sort. Yes zombies, that new and original idea for enemies in a computer game. Their varieties are predictable as well, as if little thought has gone into their development. With this release, the first act is meant to be mostly complete, and the second act won’t be available for a few months. It is possible that the second act will see this game really open up, or rather, that is what the developers are promising.
Your character, one of four archetype professions, can get to level 25, but once you finish the storyline I can’t see the point of levelling up any more. Levelling 1-15 is pretty dull currently and more a slog than a pleasure. The skills on offer pale in comparison to what is offered in Path of Exile, and the gimmick of allowing you to choose another profession to add to the one you start off with isn’t anything special.
Sadly, at this stage, this game is Grimly Dull and unimaginative. By all means keep an eye on this game as it develops, but don’t spend a penny on this yet. That said be wary of the “early access” method of developers getting your money before the game is anywhere near finished.
Oh yes and whomever runs their Steam forums has, more than once, locked any thread on the forum that address “value for money” or negative opinions of the game. This sort of censorship of valid discussions of the viability of the game does not bode well for its future.
editor’s note: we will hold off on offering a score for Grim Dawn as it is still in testing and things within the game (good and bad), as noted in the preview, can change drastically. If and when it goes through alpha and beta to a final release, we will attempt to do a review of the final version of the game.