Now don’t jump to conclusions: I still don’t think anyone should be paying $60 for the game, but I since I was foolish enough to do so, I may as well make the best of it, right?
The first main chapter of the game takes place in an often-burning city under attack by wargers (??…essentially goblins) that is a complete and total maze, and I still find it annoying and poorly put together. The problem is the designers gave us no tells. So you’ll encounter many passageways blocked by a few boards. Despite how they look, these are absolutely solid walls. Except every once in a while, they’re breakable. But there’s nothing to indicate why one is breakable and others are not. So you spend a lot of time swinging your weapon at zone walls in the hopes they may actually be a breakable door.
It’s also still crazy frustrating to look down an alleyway and see something sparkling down there, but being blocked by, say, a wheelbarrow. You can’t move it or step over it. It may as well be a wall of solid rock (well, except sometimes Caddoc can shift a wall of solid rock…but never a wheelbarrow).
Oh and when you leave an area, there’s no way to backtrack. So if you left a heap of shields behind, head to the next area and break your shield, there’s no way to go back and get a new one. Ever onwards! Don’t look back!
But I pressed on, and started finding some puzzles and mysterious passageways that led to the bowels of the earth and hidden treasure. That was fun! And I’m at times amazed by my AI co-op partner… she’s got a buff that she throws on me every so often, and generally when I really need it. During my first night I hadn’t notice her constantly running off to replenish her arrows or potions; it turns out she’s even collecting her own Crystals (to skill up, but I decide how she spends them). On the other hand, sometimes she stands in the way and won’t budge. When I try to push past she quips “That better be your sword you’re poking me with.” Classy broad.
Anyway eventually I got out of town and down into some dungeons. The designers do a lot better with corridors and rooms than they do with open areas. There were spots that gave almost a tomb raider vibe down there, and the endless maybe-breakable, maybe-not doorways were left behind. There was a place where I had to shift a stone wall that gave no indication it was shiftable until you were standing right next to it, though…
Fighting is actually pretty challenging as Caddoc. I die a lot, but E’lara is pretty good about reviving me after I fall. (If “I” whine loudly enough.) The dude goes through shields like I got through Cheetos. I finally learned some combat magic for those times when a magic weapon runs out of charges and leaves me holding a glorified letter opener. I took Brimstone which is essentially grenades. You click once to toss them and a 2nd time to detonate them. If I hold the button, though, instead of throwing a Brimstone Grenade I hit E’lara with a buff…so that’s how she’s been buffing me.
I also discovered why I’m collecting Gold. Gold unlocks items for using in Crucible, which is the map editor that comes with the game. I can’t see ever making maps so that’s a bit disappointing, but maybe I’ll get an achievement if I collect enough. I’m also getting accustomed to the health potion situation, though given the limit of carrying 1 health potion, I always want to punch Caddoc when he grabs one and yells “You can never have too many health potions!” Grrrr.
Anyway, so progress is being made. Still a bit of buyer’s remorse, to be sure, but I’m glad I’m at least having some fun now. If nXile throws a handful of patches at the game (presumably that’d be the PC version) and it goes on sale, it might be worth buying at some future point.