Legend of Grimrock
Legend of Grimrock from Almost Human is a retro-styled first person dungeon crawling RPG that borrows liberally from the classic genre and updates everything for modern gamers to enjoy. From the visual overhaul to the lax but somehow intriguing storyline to the stripping of complex menu screens and stats, Legend of Grimrock will easily capture your attention and hold it for hours on end, whether you're an old school RPG master or a casual gamer looking for a little diversion.
Back in the late '80s and early '90s, the computer role playing game was going through one of its most golden ages. A sub-genre of RPGs emerged during this time and gained a strong foothold with titles like The Bard's Tale and Eye of the Beholder. These games featured party-based combat and a first person viewpoint that allowed players to see things through the character's eyes. Even though you only "moved" one still image at a time, taking notes, drawing maps, and sifting through mounds of treasure was somehow twice as exciting in this brand new first person world.
Legend of Grimrock styles itself like those RPGs of old. You move one scene at a time, turning and walking using on-screen controls or the keyboard. Your party is shown on the right, with equippable weapons slots below their health and hidden menu screens a button's press away. As you move through the dark underworld, you'll spot items on the floors, secret switches hidden amongst the rocks, locked gates, doors, buttons, and, naturally, swarms of enemies. Combat is handled with simple mouse clicks, all you have to do is make sure you're outfitted for the task and you'll emerge victorious.
Naturally, party creation and stat management is part of the experience, and even though Legend of Grimrock doesn't have an avalanche of choices to contend with, there's still plenty here to enjoy. As you level up, you can spend skill points on abilities for each of your characters. The higher a stat goes, the more skills are available to you, adding proficiencies for armors, weapons, spells, and thieving abilities.
Analysis: Legend of Grimrock does a great service to the gaming community by reviving most of what we love about a genre that hasn't received much attention for a decade. It keeps everything straightforward and easy to understand, opening the door and inviting in players who didn't grow up with a Commodore 64 in their bedroom. Even seasoned CRPG veterans will love Legend of Grimrock, as the game was lovingly designed and expertly balanced to provide challenge, suspense, discovery, and plenty of monster killing/looting!
Part of the modern upgrade bestowed upon Legend of Grimrock is a great audio/visual package. The lighting effects are superb, and the enemies are rendered with frightening details that make you want to kill them even faster. Minimal sound effects create a hauntingly realistic dungeon environment. You'll want to play with a headset if you can, as this makes it easy to pinpoint the location of enemies as they scurry by or listen for opening doors as you trigger various switches.
If there's any area that Legend of Grimrock falls short, it's that too much of the genre's expected complexity has been removed, something you only start to miss later on. These sorts of games traditionally have a steep learning curve which gives way to complex but highly enjoyable stat and character management after you've dropped a dozen or more hours into the title. Without the mass of mysteries to contend with, Legend of Grimrock makes itself easy for beginners to hop right in and start playing. The trade-off is once you get your foot in the door, you don't have nearly as much control or customization options as you might with a more intricate title.
Well-rounded, easy to play, and classic RPG sensibilities in just the right proportions. Legend of Grimrock hits all the right notes in its attempt to recreate a classic genre for a new group of players. It's got extremely high replayability, and some great updates are planned for the future, including a map editor! Jump right in for plenty of combat, secrets, and giant spiders!