Grim Dawn has been out for a while now and I've been able to play through some fairly heavy changes that only better the gameplay. In some cases these changes almost make Grim Dawn almost into another game with the changes that are brought in. Now while Early Access games generally take feedback from the forums, Crate Entertainment seem to bring that a level higher in which just because a new feature has been introduced, doesn’t mean it is going to stay that way. Seeing these implementations such as changing the constant health regeneration to a stamina overlay meter that only allows health to regenerate as long as you have food, made for a much more interesting experience as the godly feeling disappeared making fighting massive hordes of enemies.
Sometimes games have titles that make players wonder “why”? After the first few minutes of having started, the title was clear with the run down encampment, destroyed homes, broken well, and the overall dirty look of equipment and peoples where every day is a struggle to survive. This is further supported by the creepy music and vibe that each environment produces making it feel like it could have been a horror game if it had really wanted to be. Grim Dawn is a story about a person who was sentenced to death after having been possessed by a demon. Thankfully for the two of you, the demon left your body as you were being hanged which saved your life. If that wasn’t all, they kind of unintentionally left you a gift that makes you a bit more powerful than the average human leaving you able to do certain things that others may not.
Where Grim Dawn starts to differ from some of the others is that while the character progression follows some standard rules, players have a bit more control over skill and character development. After choosing a class and starting off the adventure, as they level up players can start to experiment with the skill tree. While normally skill trees are level restricted, Grim Dawn follows a slightly different form of restrictions by granting players three skills points per level. While this would be fairly standard, players can decide whether they want to level the class in order to gain more and possibly better skills or if they want to stay at the lower class level and power up the current skills that they have. This allows for various combinations and if the higher level skills are not appealing, then there is no being forced into taking them. The only thing that makes this better? Players at selected levels are allowed to choose a secondary class allowing for a serious amount of character customization.
Along with the level of character customization, Grim Dawn uses an open-like world that allows the player to head off and explore its reaches once they are out of the opening sequence. There were a few times in which I ran into beings that were out of my league and I had to run away. This of course is when I accidently went straight passed where I was supposed to go as I was exploring off to the side and just kept going... and going... and going… and oops? However the ability to do so, explore, and come across various things and sometimes peoples was a lot of fun.
Grim Dawn is still within Early Access and while not all classes or story acts have been implemented yet, it is more than worth the time. Currently there are only two of the acts available as the rest is still under development but once this is finished it’ll be something that plays up there with Diablo, Torchlight, and Van Hellsing.
Preview by Pierre-Yves