By William Haderlie / October 28th, 2016
|Developer||Arc System Works|
|Publisher||Arc System Works|
|Release Date||September 8, 2016|
|Age Rating||General Audiences|
The timing of my Inferno Climber review is a little unfortunate, to be honest. I’m writing this review as the first DLC is downloading for Dark Souls III. Why that is so unfortunate is because this game owes almost its entire design to Dark Souls. In fact, if you combine elements of this game with Necropolis (which I reviewed very recently), you would have a close facsimile of that renowned series. That is not necessarily an automatic criticism, I personally love the Souls series and desire to play more games like it. However, releasing this game so close to another release in the From Software line of games invites even more direct comparison. And it also asks the consumer which place they want to spend their money.
The first thing you have to do in the game is choose your starting character class. It turns out that, even though the classes have some major differences, you don’t have to worry about choosing a class that you are not going to stick with for the long run. There are a couple reasons for that, and the first reason is that you can change your class at almost any time (once you have finished the tutorial level). The second reason is a little strange, and more than a little annoying, and that is the fact that after you die with one class you are required to choose a different class unless you want to lose all of that character’s earned items and levels. If you want to gain that class back with all the previous progress, you will need to spend 60 CP to purchase a resurrection contract and use it on your previous corpse.
When you are at the beginning of the game, it is not too difficult to find your previous corpse. And there is a wide enough array of class choices that you should be able to find at least a couple good alternate selections. But one annoyance in the beginning is affording that 60 CP every death. Your corpse will have all your money on it unless you store it at your base. So this is an important thing to do, unless you want to go out and earn some money before you head back to base and buy another scroll. It’s not too hard to earn that 60 CP, it will only take about 10 minutes, so it’s less of an annoyance than it could be. Later on the expense will be far less of an issue, but reaching your corpse can be a far more taxing ordeal. One other annoyance with this system is that you will be spreading out your leveling among several different classes instead of just being able to focus on the class of your choice. Granted, by placing the statistic points where you want to, and by gaining new loot, you can make any class play the way you want it to. But it will take even longer overall to level the way you want to with this system.
Thankfully the levels do come a little faster than you are used to from Souls or soulslike games. Unfortunately they decided, in order to maintain balance, that each level does not make a huge difference in your character power. Your health levels at a pretty low rate, and your damage levels at even a slower rate. Honestly your weapons and armor made a much more immediate impact on your character’s strength throughout the game. That system has two serious flaws for this style of game. The first flaw is that when you die, all your weapons and armor are on that old character class. So if you want any of that gear back, you will have to find your corpse and restore it. And you are required to journey back to your corpse without any of that gear you had equipped. The second issue is that your weapons and armor all degrade at a very rapid pace. You can socket gems into the weapons and armor at a forge in order to slow that rate, but they are pretty rare gems.
I cannot keep on talking about death penalties without discussing the difficulty of this game. I’m sure there is someone out there who was able to defeat this game the first run after purchase, but that would be a very rare creature. Yes, you will survive a lot longer if you are careful, but there are quite a few trap encounters awaiting you. Honestly this game killed me more than my first run through Dark Souls III. It probably didn’t kill me as much as Demon Souls or the first Dark Souls, though. So all these death penalty discussions are a rather large part of this game, as you will die very frequently.
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