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    dkirschner's Legend of Grimrock (PC)

    [May 17, 2015 04:43:31 PM]
    Beat Grimrock and am proud of myself. This is the most intense game I've played in a long, long time. It's wonderfully atmospheric, very gloomy. I wish I knew how many times I died. It doesn't keep track of that, but I can tell you that I fell into a pit 66 times (usually on purpose!).

    Starting roughly halfway through, the game reached this sweet spot of making me alternate between wanting to quit because it was too punishing and jumping with joy at solving a difficult puzzle and discovering the way forward. All of the puzzles can be figured out without a walkthrough. They are tough, but they all make sense! I admit to looking at a walkthrough one time only, and that was because I didn't realize I could drop items through a gate (hint: you can drop items through gates). I had another ridiculous AHA! moment when I realized that you can put items into bags you find on the ground. Duh. Don't I play enough RPGs to know this? For whatever reason, I would pick up bags and crates, empty their contents, and then discard the container. And I wondered why my inventory was full all the time.

    One of the most interesting things about the game is how the feel of the combat evolves over the course of it. At first, I could hardly even figure it out, it was such an odd system to me. Then I decided it was repetitive. I learned you can exploit nearly any enemy in the game by just doing a little dance around them, attacking them, moving out of the way before they attack back, and repeat until they die. This works well enough with one enemy at the time, but if you can't isolate them, you find yourself in a tough spot. Two enemies can easily corner you, and even late into the game, the most basic enemies can kill your party members. You *always* have to be careful. And the last room in the game is insanely difficult. There is a constant stream of spawning monsters of various types, plus the boss at the end (although the boss will crush enemies in its path, which is useful for clearing the room a bit). Anyway, it isn't so much repetitive as it is a dance with death every encounter. It looks slow if you're just watching a video (my prior exposure to Grimrock), but you will be poised over the mouse and keyboard to quickly maneuver this way or that and attack depending on what the enemy does. It is intense.

    Another thing I liked about Grimrock was all the secrets. According to the stats at the end, I found about half of them. I know I missed a couple big ones, but I thought I found more! You have to kind of pixel hunt along the walls (which does get tedious because all the walls look the same every few levels of the dungeon), looking for anomalies to explore. Then usually a door will open somewhere and you go find it and loot some treasure. It felt rewarding to find secrets, because often they were hard to spot.

    Let's talk about my party. My tanky warrior was awesome. I maxed out defensive skills, so he was tough to kill, and still packed a little punch. The minotaur could deal over 100 damage on a regular basis, but died relatively quickly, so near the end of the game, I began pumping him full of armor points so he could wear heavy armor. My mage, I just kind of scattered points across most of the spell schools, with most in spellcraft (+50% cast speed!) and fire. But I did have a bunch of poison spells and some cold spells. Fireball is a great spell. My rogue became a super badass once he unlocked the "throw two throwing weapons at once" skill. He essentially did double damage from then on out. If I could do it over, I probably would have put two tanks in front because the front takes a lot of damage. Then I probably would have just used two rogues, one with throwing weapons and one with daggers (they can get a skill to attack from the back row with daggers). The reason is that, although the mage was powerful, you have to click sequences of buttons to cast spells. This was neat, but practically, it took time to do. It is easier to click on some throwing knives. Also, mana is a resource that my mage burned through, making me rest often to refresh it. I could have just saved a lot of time with two rogues back there.

    Another thing I would change is that I would just get rid of alchemy altogether. I used maybe 3 potions the entire game. They were pointless for me and the alchemy ingredients just took up space.

    I know there is a Legend of Grimrock 2 out, and I will definitely be buying it! I need some time to relax from this stress-inducing game, but I will have seconds in the future. I am very curious to see what changes they made.
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    [May 12, 2015 07:41:50 PM]
    I did not think I would be as into Legend of Grimrock as I was for the first hour. Totally reminiscent of the game Paper Sorcerer (aside from the old Dungeon Master and Ultima Underworld) that I played last year. It's a first-person dungeon crawler RPG. You move one square at a time and explore the underground of Grimrock, a nasty prison, where you have been tossed into to die.

    "You" are composed of 4 party members. I checked out the stock party the game will start you with (human fighter, minotaur fighter, human mage, human rogue), and then went back to see what other options there were. I went with a human fighter (who will be tanky), a minotaur fighter (who will deal massive damage), an insect mage (+ willpower), and a lizardman rogue (+ dexterity). Your 4 party members move around in a 2x2 formation. You can put 2 on the front lines, 2 on the back, and change their position at any time. I have the rogue in the back specializing in missile/thrown weapons, though so far all I've found are 6 rocks and a throwing knife. My mage is currently useless. He has two spell scrolls, but I didn't invest points in those two schools of spells at the beginning, and he hasn't yet leveled, so he can't use any spells. I have him throwing the knife over and over and holding a torch so I can see.

    I like how "realistic" the game is. By that I mean, good lord, it's hard! Just like if you imagine four criminals tossed into a pit, they have *nothing* and they are weak and starving. I'm dressed in rags, if anything, and my weapons are horrible. There is a meager tutorial (I had to read it a couple times to figure out how to attack as I was getting my ass kicked by a giant mushroom) and I'm not confident in allocating the skill points I have yet. Though one of the last things I did was fight a warrior with a spear and shield, which my human warrior is now sporting. I'm not sure if there's permadeath. I mean, besides the reloading. I don't have/know about any way to revive slain characters, and I'm currently at a tough part with a bunch of poison-spewing mushrooms who have wiped my party out a couple times.

    Movement is interesting in battle. Like I said, you move one square at a time in the four directions. Then the Q and E keys turn your facing right or left. I've already sort of developed a cowardly strategy for fighting, I admit. I let the enemy get near me, attack with my melee guys, back up and throw some rocks, back up again as the melee attacks are recharging. Then attack again when the enemy moves into range, and repeat. That way I get in way more attacks. But these poison-spewing mushrooms ignore some of the distance and therefore are hard. I shall have to run around corners. Hopefully I won't be playing so cowardly the whole game! At least I can rest and get health back after battles.

    Looking forward to playing more of this. I just now found out my full schedule for tomorrow has been wiped. Though I need to do some work, I shall certainly spend some more time in Grimrock.
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    dkirschner's Legend of Grimrock (PC)

    Current Status: Finished playing

    GameLog started on: Tuesday 12 May, 2015

    GameLog closed on: Sunday 17 May, 2015

    dkirschner's opinion and rating for this game

    Really enjoying this so far. Difficult. Permadeath? Mage is useless so far. Need points in spell schools. --------- Good god this game is intense.

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstarstarstar

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