By Jonathan Falu / August 19th, 2016
I don’t have much experience with these types of RPGs. I played many like Dragon Age: Origins, Final Fantasy, Shin Megami Tensei, and many more. But the top-down RPGs on PCs were a different story, as I grew up with console-games. So my expectations for Demon’s Age would be a fairly hard game packed with, well, demons. Developed by Bigmoon Entertainment, they hope to bring back these types of RPGs.
The story makes a promise of a world filled with demons, but is otherwise fairly generic so far in the beta, dealing with demons rising to take over the world long ago, but the leader was defeated years ago. And now, after all these years, the big threat is returning. Basic stuff. The role you play in all of this however is a prisoner on a ship. This is where you can choose which character to be from the races of human, elf, dwarf, halfling, and dark elf. This also includes choosing from classes such as Fighter, Cleric, Wizard, Ranger, and Cleric. You can even see what crimes they are charged with and how long they are serving. None of this factors when you wash up ashore, as a group of knights finds you, and task you with helping a mage in the sewers.
Gameplay focuses on moving from area to area, finding items such as keys and gems to move past doors. Battles are not random in the dungeons, and engage automatically in the same room. There doesn’t seem to be a way to run, so being prepared is all the more important. Enemies are mainly comprised of big toads, spiders, and goblins. However, while fairly generic, the monsters still posed a challenge to my team, specifically the goblins, but difficulty was based more on the actual gameplay rather than enemies.
For example, bad hit rates, as this affects both you and the enemies, so fights actually ended up dragging out as opposed to being tactical. Then there was the idea of abilities. The mage I obtained for my party had spells set to colors, and had a number, indicating how many times spells of that color could be used. For example, one color had two spells: Fear and Magic Missile. Magic Missile was a fairly useful attack spell, and one of the only ways the Mage could attack. However, Fear was useful for driving away enemies for more breathing room while fighting strong enemies. Sadly, magic was about one of the only ways I could even attempt to strategize. Placement on the grid felt nearly worthless, since you only needed to set up arrow shots and ranged spells at best, as you don’t gain advantages based on positioning, like attacking a foe from behind.
Healing too is limited. The Wizard on my team could not heal, and you are unable to even carry potions around, or any sort of healing item. The only way to heal is with spells inside battle, which was impossible at the time, or through healing springs. This can create even more conflict as it wasn’t really needed, especially given there is permadeath in this game. Plus it tended to force me to backtrack to find the previous healing spring if things went wrong, adding more tedium to the combat.
For my first playthrough, I chose a human female ranger. While lacking abilities, they did have some range with a bow and I assumed it was a fairly balanced class. However, their aim and damage output was pitiful, and I did not receive any other useful equipment to deal more damage or up my accuracy. This led to battles dragging out needlessly because of the low-accuracy rates, and my party being wiped out. For my second playthrough, I chose a Dark Elf Fighter. Surprisingly, fights were significantly shorter due to a slightly higher accuracy rate and loot being more fitting for a warrior. Combined with a better defense and strategic moves from my mage, beating the sewer level was significantly faster and easier. I did later die however as both party members left my team due to the quest ending, and once out on the world map, I encountered four enemies far stronger than what I encountered previously, could not find a way to run, and died.
Fortunately, I avoided the random encounter, and discovered how to recruit party members. See, you can go to the pub to recruit people, but unfortunately, they are not as trustworthy as they seem. That’s right, you cannot trust your fellow man, as they can stab you in the back. You only get one hint, as there is a line of dialogue just above their stats. Usually they will show disdain for other races, feel sympathy for monsters such as orcs, or downright admit that they enjoy or can learn a lot from dead bodies; that last one is likely a gigantic red flag. Now combine that with all the other gameplay elements, and this is something that one really needs to be careful for. This is especially important given that hiring new party members requires a lot of gold; I actually had to strip down my two temporary party members down to nothing to sell and get better gear. I also wasn’t sure if it was a glitch, but I hired a party member…only for them to not join me. You also can’t refresh the list to find more party members, making choosing all the harder.
Overall, the game has interesting ideas, but they aren’t meshed together quite well just yet, especially if fights can be dragged out for long periods of time based on accuracy alone. Not helping the game is the generic story and enemies, leaving more to be desired. This might be a good game for those seeking more of a challenge, but it’s just not for me right now.
Bigmoon EntertainmentCRPGDemon's AgeImpressionspreviewturn-based RPG