Achilles: Legends Untold - PC Review

Achilles: Legends Untold by developer and publisher Dark Point GamesPC (Steam) review written by Pierre-Yves with a copy provided by the publisher.

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

Achilles: Legends Untold is something that I've been waiting a long time to play the final version of. Having originally played through a very short, but intense demo, I would eventually get to play a longer version with new features as you moved from the battle of Troy into the lands of Greece itself. Now fully released, this Soulslike Hack & Slash hybrid allows players to go further than before with some new twists for full release.

The concept of both a Hack & Slash and a Soulslike are clear enough. The first is most often times done in a top down, third person isometric view with hordes of enemies to charge into. Soulslikes on the other hand are generally designed to kill you, over and over and over again, all while laughing that you simply haven't gotten good yet. These are generally done with fewer yet tougher enemies.

So how do these two styles mesh together? Fairly well actually. Keeping with the top down isometric view, Achilles' adventure is actually accompanied by a static camera. This camera allows for a more curated view of the world which can make certain action scenes that much more intense as you are right down there in the fighting but without being able to see very far adding a bit of stress as to what's just outside of your player's view.

The combat style is also kept simple enough as to never over burden you with loads of skills, but there are a good amount of skills available for a variety of dicey situations. Starting off with a sword and shield, your shield throwing skills would make Captain America proud. From there, you'll get access to axes, two handed swords and spears to make combat your own. Sword and shield, dual-wielding or two handed attack styles all flow in their own way with skills to support them.

And you'll need all of these at times just for a chance to survive.

At least in the beginning, because once the opening stage is over and Achilles is unleashed into Greece, things get tough. But they also get good. As both individual styles of gameplay have level up mechanics, they can be found here in the form of an experience bar that dings once you've leveled up. On a level up, you can make your way to any Shrine of Hades to take a knee and look up to the constellations to pick an upgrade.

Health, stamina, strength, and new skills can be unlocked through nodes and stat based nodes can be upgraded twice to get more out of them. Adding a bit of incentive in order to complete constellations are completion bonuses that cost nothing more than simply unlocking all of the nodes. So it's a good idea unless there's something you really want down the line first. 

Where the soulslike comes in isn't just in the gameplay and the difficulty. Sure, you have your standard swings, your heavy swings, your limited potion count and magic powers, but if you die? Back to the last shrine and any experience between levels is gone and waiting for you to get back to it. If you can get back to it.

While not as stressful as playing a Hardcore character in a Hack & Slash, where when you die you're permanently dead, it still adds in a low-key stress as you encounter increasingly tougher enemies in larger and larger groups. As a form of balance, like in all soulslikes however, you can pick up better gear and upgrade it. Alongside some neat, if not overpowered skills, you become a one person army against hordes of humans and monsters alike. Just don't unintentionally back yourself into a corner.

If there's an area that I'm unsure about, it would be the final version compared to that original, very curated, version that is some of the best gaming that I've had. It was damned near perfect. Enemies were terrifying, your dodging abilities were as smooth as liquid, and there was a balance of everything human and mythological alike at the battle of Troy.

I feel like some of this didn't make it over to the final version. The elements are all there but the flow of the dodging mechanics wasn't as refined as Achilles now really dodges far away instead of stepping under the blows. Even the close dodges which are harder to perform since the default is to launch Achilles further away don't look as smooth.

I think that's the difference between something so finely crafted compared to a much more open environment where the developers can't control everything you do. There are spaces on the map that you may never explore. There are spaces that you may come in from the left instead of the right. It's not that the final product isn't good, it's just that the bar had already been set so high, I'm not sure that Achilles is now making that same jump.

But overall, Dark Point Games' Achilles: Legends Untold was fun. There's a solid combat system that meshes in both Soulslike elements and gameplay into a Hack & Slash style and it works. The only thing that I wish I had more of? Would be more adventures for Achilles to go on!

Score: 7.5 / 10



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