Curse of the Dead Gods Review – A Test of Skill and Patience

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GAME INFO

Curse of the Dead Gods

February 23, 2021

Platform PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch

Publisher Focus Home Interactive

Developer Passtech Games

The Roguelike categorical exhibits no indicators of slowing down. The once-niche style has exploded in recognition lately with numerous video games from builders each massive and small flooding the market. The novelty of dying and retrying arguably wore off some time in the past, and but, simply once you assume you couldn’t probably hack one other dungeon, a sport like final 12 months’s Hades comes alongside and proves the style nonetheless has legs. Curse of the Dead Gods is the newest sport hoping to change into the sizzling new roguelike factor.

A back-to-basics action-roguelike from Masters of Anima developer Passtech Games, Curse of the Dead Gods has spent the final year-or-so percolating in Early Access. The sport has collected its share of followers throughout that point, however will the full model have the ability to hack it with a wider viewers? Grab your torch, it’s time to delve in…

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Curse of the Dead Gods casts gamers as the questionably-named British explorer Caradog McCallister, though you wouldn’t essentially know that from enjoying the sport itself. The story right here is so simple as it will get – whereas looking for treasure you get trapped in a temple and have to seek out your manner out, even when it means beating the crap out of just a few gods in the course of. Don’t anticipate any dialog, cutscenes, or characters apart from ol’ Caradog. Codex entries for the sport’s enemies and bosses are about all you get.

At least the sport does good job of setting the temper, with a easy, but sharp visuals. The sport options three temples to work by, every of which presents a special tackle the sport’s total Mesoamerican theme – the Jaguar Temple is fiery and imposing, and Eagle Temple is earthy and overgrown, and the Serpent Temple is a diseased cesspit crammed with eldritch horrors. Each temple is full of enjoyable little touches, like piles of skulls that roll away as you hit them or vines that may be burnt along with your torch. Still, I do want the total presentation was rather less dry. Games like Hades have proven you are able to do a roguelike with out forgoing character or story.

Curse of the Dead Gods’ fight is easy but satisfying. You can carry three weapons directly — one in your major hand, one in your “off” hand, and one which requires each fingers to wield. Each of these weapons is assigned to a face button in your controller and you may swap between them immediately, permitting you to chain collectively lethal combos. The fourth face button switches to your torch, which is essential, as darkness will increase the harm you’re taking and makes traps invisible (it’s all the time a good suggestion to ignite any braziers you see once you enter a brand new space). Finally, the proper set off makes you dodge and the left set off permits you to parry, offered you time it correctly. And that’s about it. Thankfully, the whole lot feels very easy and responsive, and whereas the barrier to entry isn’t excessive, there’s lots of room for mastery.

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There are all kinds of weapon sorts in the sport, from swords, to hammers, to whips, and bows, simply to call just a few. Each weapon sort has its personal distinctive really feel and strengths, and you may mix them as you see match to forge your individual play kinds. Wade into the thick of the melee with heavy hammers and shields, stick and transfer with razor-sharp claws and whips, or rain down loss of life from afar with throwing knives, pistols, and bows. Who is aware of? Roll with the weapons the sport throws at you and you could discover some sudden favourite combos.

Each temple run requires you to make your manner by a collection of “rooms” (really consisting of a number of rooms or battle arenas generally), punctuated by boss battles. Between phases, you may select your path by way of a easy map, with every node indicating what sort of bonuses you may anticipate. Plotting your course properly is essential – do you recharge your well being or seize some gold in a treasure room? Do you decide up a brand new weapon or improve your present one? As you’re employed your manner by the rooms, you’ll steadily level-up your stats and gather Relics that may grant you essential buffs, however changing into extra highly effective isn’t a easy one-way avenue.

The major factor that units Curse of the Dead Gods other than different roguelikes are its titular Curses. Every time you cross between rooms or take in harm from sure enemies, you’ll obtain Corruption. You can even decide to pay for upgrades, relics, and weapons with blood as a substitute of gold, which is able to elevate your Corruption. If your Corruption reaches a sure threshold, you’ll obtain a Curse. The first 4 Curses you get aren’t that devastating, as they normally inflict each a detrimental and constructive impact, however your fifth Curse is a nasty twist of the knife that just about all the time spells your doom. During longer runs, ensuring to not decide up that fifth Curse shall be your best problem.

Of course, it is a roguelike, so that you will be dying. A lot. It’s essential to notice Curse of the Dead Gods is not an RPG, it’s a extra conventional motion roguelike, so there’s no strategy to maintain onto stat will increase or your favorites weapons after you die. That mentioned, there are some methods to enhance your possibilities for future runs. You can unlock and equip as much as three buff-granting Blessings, broaden the pool of weapons you’ll find in temples, and construct and enhance the altars that give you weapons at the starting of a run.

Unlocking everlasting upgrades feels good at first, however ultimately they cease feeling significantly significant. Beyond a sure threshold, you’re going to want to depend on your fight expertise, which isn’t a nasty factor, though the addition of the Curse system could make for a very punishing expertise. Getting to the finish of the sport with out getting that lethal fifth Curse requires nearly good play – get hit with a pair Corruption-inflicting assaults early on and you could as properly pack it in. What looks like a reasonably accessible sport at first is definitely one of the most tough roguelikes I’ve performed not too long ago.

But hey, roguelikes are presupposed to be onerous, proper? Getting to the finish must be a uncommon, hard-won achievement! I get and agree with that, however the truth is, beating Curse of the Dead Gods goes to require a lot of runs, and the sport simply doesn’t have the selection to help that. While the sport shuffles the order of its rooms and randomizes loot and enemy placement to a sure diploma, the structure of each is pre-determined. You’ll shortly change into very conversant in each temple’s rooms, particularly the ones you encounter early on in a run. Also, there simply aren’t sufficient completely different enemy sorts, with sure grunts showing over and over advert nauseum. Elite-level roguelikes like the authentic Rogue, NetHack, and Spelunky totally procedurally generate their ranges, so that you get a totally authentic journey every time. Alternatively, Hades takes a extra conservative method to randomization, however serves up an unusually participating world and characters. Curse of the Dead Gods doesn’t actually provide deep variation or story.

Of course, whether or not a sport is just too grindy or repetitive is subjective. Some individuals discover studying the structure of each room in a sport like this calming and satisfying. Some people will love Curse of the Dead Gods, I’ve little doubt, however there shall be others who don’t discover it as participating long-term as the finest video games in the style. I didn’t. But hey, if you happen to’re down for the grind, there’s definitely quite a bit to maintain you busy right here – anticipate to take a great 20 to 30 hours (relying in your expertise) to beat the sport, and after that, there are more durable modes and extra challenges to sort out. Whether you may tolerate watching the similar temple partitions for that lengthy, is as much as you.

This evaluation was primarily based on a PS4 copy of Curse of the Dead Gods (performed on a PS5) offered by writer Focus Home Interactive.

7.5

Curse of the Dead Gods is a enjoyable, polished, and mechanically-sound roguelike with just a few good twists. Unfortunately, a scarcity of persona and selection means it’s additionally a sport that will get much less attention-grabbing the longer you play it. Hardcore roguelike followers will get pleasure from their time with these Dead Gods, however much less devoted gamers could discover themselves praying for reduction.

Pros

  • Slick, accessible motion
  • Clean, engaging visuals
  • Well-conceived improve system
  • Curses combine issues up in a wise manner
  • Good bang on your buck

Cons

  • Very little story
  • Starts to really feel overly repetitive
  • Curse system maybe too demanding

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