The game starts with someone talking about walking through the ancient catacombs. Many years ago, it was an honour to be entombed within these catacombs. Centuries have passed since those days and now only the brave and foolhardy venture into the catacombs. A conspirator threatens the Heretic Kingdoms, and it is for this reason that an unlikely alliance is formed with the hope of saving the Heretic Kingdoms.
The storyteller, a mysterious hooded man, summons a demon, The Devourer. Neither the hooded man nor the Devourer trusts the other, and given the chance, would kill the other without question or remorse. However, they have a common enemy which threatens to destroy all of them, the only way to survive is to form a most unlikely partnership. This is where your adventure starts ...
You now have control of the Devourer and your first mission is to consume a soul. You must find your way to the sarcophagi chamber; there you’ll be greeted by the hooded man. Within the chamber are three statues, each one containing a soul which you can consume. You can only consume one of the three souls; to help you decide who to choose you can select one of the three and then find some information on that soul.
The three souls are: Kalig, The Bandit King (a warrior and mercenary who led the Guild of Steel in Thole; choose Kalig if you want the might and fortitude of a great warrior), Jasker, The Wild Boar (a hero in the land of Corwenth who fell over a decade ago in the Accession Wars; choose Jasker if you want mobility and deadly aim of one of the greatest archers ever), and finally, the third option is Evia, the Daughter of Fire (a princess of the Imperial Garulian Empire who, had she not rebelled, would have become the God-Empress; choose Evia if you want to harness the arcane powers of as mage).
Once you’ve devoured a soul, you’ll then be bound with it. You’ll be able to move in between the shadow and mortal realms by switching between the Devourer and the soul (puppet) you’ve just consumed. I chose to play with Kalig and after a bit of a chat about Kalig being alive again, the hooded man tells you to make haste to the city of Thole. Thole lies above the crypt where you are currently situated, and to reach the city, you need to use the Cenotaph. The cenotaph is a gateway which can only be activated by the Devourer as it lies within the shadow realm.
Upon reaching Thole, you find yourself in the middle of the city. Switching to your puppet Kalig you’ll be able to walk around the living, talk to traders etc. You can also move around in the shadow realm, swapping between the master (Devourer) and a puppet (Kalig) you’ll be able to find new quests and missions. Ultimately though, switching between the two realms will reveal hidden pathways and other things, like the Stash. The stash is where you’re able to store any items you may have collected or bought. This cannot be seen by the living; it does show up on your map and it had me running around the same place clicking on everything trying to find where the bloody hell it was. I then had a brain fart and switched to the shadow realm, and there in all its glory was the place where I could store my precious items safely (which is a good thing, as almost everyone in Thole is a criminal of some sorts).
Each of the puppets has their own back story, and the story of Kalig is that he wants revenge against his Son, Nemek, who killed him to take control of the Guild of Steel in Thole. While you progress with the game’s story, you’ll also progress with the puppet’s story, and along the way you’ll find many side quests to complete. Completing quests will bring in some much-needed silver and with any luck you’ll find some lovely loot on the way.
As you make your way through the game, you’ll be able to add more puppets. To claim a puppet, you must complete a task after which the Devourer will then consume their soul. Once consumed, the puppet is yours to control, and will be added to your party. Your party can consist of four members which you can switch between at any time. Switching between puppets just may get you through an area better than another one would, or you may need to attack from a distance. There are three class of puppets over whom you can take control: Warriors, Hunters and Mages. There are five warriors, four hunters and four mages to command once you’ve consumed their souls.
Once you’ve taken control of a new puppet and want to try them out, you’ll need to enter the shadow realm with the Devourer and then find The Sanctuary. The sanctuaries can be found scattered around the world and are easy to find on your map. While in the shadow realm the sanctuary is a ball of green light with spikes around it, emanating a green glow. Upon moving into the green glow you’ll start to recover any health that either you or your puppets may have lost. Moving closer to the green ball of light you’ll then be able to activate it, which take you to the Party Screen. Here you’ll find any puppets you’re currently in control of; you can also change your party members here by selecting and removing those who you’d like to play with. You can resurrect any party member here who may have been killed in battle.
Selecting the start button on my Xbox 360 pad opened the Inventory, Skills, Talents, Character, Journal and Books screen. In the inventory you’ll find slots for your character’s Weapons, Armour, Necklaces, Rings, Essence, Quest and Soulstone (Shared). At first any new weapon, armour etcetera will automatically be placed in an empty slot corresponding to a character. You’ll need to add any other new weapon, gear etcetera after this yourself. Not all weapons and armour can be used by all characters but there is some information on all items. Each item details the level required in order to use that item, the weapon damage, status changed if applied, along with other information.
Quest will hold any quest items you may have collected until they are activated by the quest that requires that item. Soulstones are shared between all your puppets and Devourer. They can give various bonuses depending on the type of Soulstone you have installed. They can also heal and replace mana should one of your character’s become low. Soulstones have a maximum number of available charges; these you can recharge for some silver by visiting a shadow trader. While at the shadow trader’s you can Reset all Skills, Attributes and Talents of any of your characters, for a price.
Essence in your inventory will show any you may have collected or brought along the way. You can buy essence from Shadow Traders within the shadow realm, where you can also buy weapons and gear for the Devourer. Essence can also be found at certain points within the shadow realm and are indicated by a white circle of light, called Lesser Hexmark; activating the Hexmark will drop random essence for you.
Essence will enchant and give your weapon, gear, rings etcetera various bonuses. To take advantage of these you’ll need to select an item that a character is carrying in the inventory, then select Add Essence. Then you’ll be able to apply any essence you currently own to your items. Each item can have a total of four essences bound to them. Once an item has four bound essences the status of the item will change to Legendary.
Skills are your active skills for when in battle and can be unlocked by collecting skill points. Each skill will cost a certain amount or will require you to be a certain level before you’re able to choose that skill. You can have a total of three skills which you can bind to a game pad or keyboard key for ease of use while in battle. Skill points can be found while in the shadow realm at Skill Point Stones; activating this will give you skill points which you can either use to unlock other skills or upgrade a current skill if you meet the requirements of that upgrade.
Talents will give you another bonus for your characters and you can choose from a variety. You can only add one talent every three levels you upgrade and once you reach level thirty then you’ll have unlocked all slots for your talents. You can customise your characters to help bring out their better stats or increase weaker ones using the talents; the choice is totally up to you.
Looking at Character is where you’ll find all the details on your characters: Strength, Class, Level, Attacking and Defensive Rating etcetera. In the Journal you’ll find Main and Side Quests. Each of the quests will give some information on that challenge; selecting and activating a quest will be indicated on your map by a yellow exclamation mark, which will direct you to the quest. Sometimes though you may not be able to find the yellow exclamation mark on your map; this is because you’re too far away from that quest. Books is where any books, notes or parchments you have collected from your travels will be stored. Each will give some sort of information, and it might be just the information you need to progress somewhere.
When entering a new area, the map will only show you where you’ve been; to fully reveal an area of a map you’ll need to progress through that area. While checking the map you can switch between mortal and shadow realms. This will allow you to find hidden pathways which you cannot pass while in another realm. At certain points in-game, while moving through an area, you may hear some sounds become louder. This is to indicate that somewhere close by is a point of interest, so switching between moral and shadow realms may reveal what is hidden near-by.
Scattered around the various areas you may come across some puzzles which you must complete before venturing any further. Figuring out how to complete these puzzles at first may have you scratching your noggin. However, a bit of thought, trial and error and a change of realm may just help you to complete a puzzle allowing you proceed on your adventure.
In the settings you’ll find Video; Resolution (Game Screen Render Quality, Screen Mode, Display, V-Sync, Framerate Limit, Gamma, Mouse Window Lock), Graphics Quality (Simple to Fantastic quality settings), Audio (Master, Sound, Music, Ambient and Voiceover Volume controls), Gameplay (Show Subtitles, Show HP Bars, Show Damage Values, Show Helms, Vibrations, Difficulty; Easy, Normal, Hard, Extreme and Old School Mode and Controller, Xbox, PS4, Switch and Automatic), Controls (Swap Mouse Buttons, Set to Default and Keyboard Controls, which you can remap to your own preference).
While you can play the game using the keyboard and mouse and remap the keys (which is always great), I found that using my Xbox 360 pad works very well within the game. Normally for these types of games I dig out my Belkin N52TE Game Keypad but this time I was too lazy to bother and just stuck to my game pad.
I’m not sure how far through the game I currently am but from what I’ve played so far (sixteen hours), I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the game. I’ve only played using Kalig currently, but there are two other characters which I’ll have a bash at once I’ve completed the game with Kalig. I’d like to find out how their stories intertwine and how different the gameplay will be by playing with a different class of character. My only gripe so far is that the game crashed once; this might not even have been the game’s fault, because I had not experienced any previous problems in hours of game time. Other than that one hiccup, a fantastic game; Big Thumbs UP!
Review written by Piston Smashed™ for Zeepond.com!
Positives+ Very enjoyable game
+ Nice graphics
+ Good music and sounds
+ Has achievements
+ Has cards
Negatives- Crashed once
Devour souls, make them your puppets, and swap between the mortal and shadow realms as you embark on an epic adventure.
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Zeepond Rating: 9/10
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