Over the weekend, I finished playing the main story for Grim Dawn. I started this up again mainly because I found myself with enough time to make the next leg of my journey, and then I remembered how much fun it was. I subsequently set aside the blocks of time to play it, and finish up each piece of the game.
Some talk about gameplay and story after the jump.
As I mentioned in my post over a year ago, this game has the dual-class system similar to Titan Quest, which is something I really like. When I think of how this is done here compared to other games, I realize that I really liked dual-classing in the original Guild Wars, and that variety is something I miss in Guild Wars 2. Path of Exile did something quite different, but the ability to bridge the gap between static classes was explicitly part of the skill web and skill gem system. The dual-class system though, especially with the large variety of classes available, really makes for a unique opportunity to mix-and-match the skills you are most interested in into a build that’s going to be most fun.
My character was a Demolitionist-Arcanist, with most of my Demolitionist points going toward a primary attack skill, an attack buff, and Molotov Cocktail (an Area of Affect Damage over Time skill). With my Arcanist points, I picked up another attack buff (this one adding lightning and cold damage to my attacks) and a couple of defensive skills – one passive that increases my damage resistance, and the other an active one that reflects projectiles for a short time. Overall, I felt that my build was pretty good, but I struggled a bit against bosses, having to do more kiting and glugging of potions than I really would have liked. Whether that’s because that is the expected power level of bosses, or because my build is a little squishy, I’m not yet sure (I did fine against anything that wasn’t a boss).
As usual in Diablo clones, your character ends up taking on the appearance of whatever gear you have, which can often lead to your character looking rather dumb. In the case of Grim Dawn, I had an awesome loading screen to look at every time, while my own character looked rather doofy in the beginning. He looks a little cooler now (actually, pretty close to the ideal I was shooting for), but I just find that aspect of the genre kind of ridiculous, and I’m very glad someone created an NPC that will change the look of your gear, but keep its stats.
In terms of story, it maintains a convincing, but shallow story throughout. The thing I like about Grim Dawn’s story (as opposed to Diablo, but similar to Path of Exile) is that the evil in the story is perpetrated by people rather than a demon. I also really like the written logs around the area – they often speak of something heroic or horrible that someone did because of the craziness going on. These little snippets usually don’t end well, but I like them for the little things it shows – a one-man army going to take down a cult of blood worshipers isn’t very interesting to me if there aren’t other people trying to save their families and make their own lives better.
Overall, I do really like Grim Dawn. Like its predecessor, Titan Quest, it ticks all the boxes for how to make an exciting and fun to play Diablo-clone. In some ways, I like this better (namely, viable ranged weapons), and, in others, I like Titan Quest better (namely, more colorful and varied environments), but they each fill their niche and do an excellent job at it.