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Legend of Grimrock Reviewed at Gamebanshee

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Legend of Grimrock Reviewed at Gamebanshee

Review - posted by Crooked Bee on Wed 4 April 2012, 08:20:12

Tags: Almost Human Games; Eric Schwarz; Legend of Grimrock

Legend of Grimrock, that pretty-looking Dungeon Master clone (I suddenly feel like I'm in the beginning of the 1990s just typing that), receives a fairly extensive pre-release review at Gamebanshee, penned by Eric "Sea" Schwarz:

Where Legend of Grimrock deviates a little from its predecessors is in the potential its 3D game engine offers, mostly in its puzzles. While everything moves on a grid, there are a lot of timing-based puzzles, pattern memorization and other tests that rely on quick reflexes to pull off. This is a refreshing improvement in my opinion, as it gets away from the "use X item with Y" or "press X switches in Y order" trial-and-error design (though you'll find some of those as well). It does, however, make combat a little easy sometimes, especially against single enemies - you can usually just move in circles and whack at them, always one step ahead.

In fact, puzzles are really at the forefront of Grimrock. Sure, character building, managing food, and fighting monsters are all there, but it's the puzzles that make Grimrock truly memorable and enjoyable. Some of them get extremely difficult too, both in executing them and in figuring out what to do, and they occasionally take place across multiple dungeon floors, use misdirection, or play with your expectations. There were more than a few times where I had to just shut the game off, wait a few hours and come back with my mind fresh. This is the best kind of hard, I think - the sort where the answer always comes at you just when you're about to give up in frustration, but always feels satisfyingly earned in the end.


Between a choice of Human, Minotaur, Lizardman and Insectoid races, and Fighter, Rogue and Mage character classes, character creation or building doesn't have quite the depth of some other systems, but it's more than enough to sustain the gameplay. Characters don't raise attributes directly; rather, skills grant attribute bonuses at predefined levels, along with unique perks, so specializing won't leave you entirely crippled. There is a decent selection of skills and traits throughout, with 6 skills per class and 14 traits (2 are race-exclusive), but the traits themselves aren't quite as drastic as what you'd find in, say, Fallout. Most of them boil down to elemental resistances, health boosts, and extra skill points rather than anything too game-changing.

The leveling process is a bit more interesting. Because all skill branches give compelling bonuses, and your skill point supply is fairly limited, you must either be a specialist or Jack-of-all-trades. While the high-level abilities found at the top of each skill tree are very compelling (such as attacks bypassing armor), they are very hard to reach without completely ignoring other trees, making the min-maxer a bit more vulnerable than in some other games. Mages, meanwhile, can only learn spells in trees they've invested in, so chances are you'll only have access to a handful of them over the course of the game. I had my Mage specialize in Fire Magic, but he was completely useless when coming across some Fire Elementals later on, for example.​

Be sure to read the review in full here.

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