Darkest Before Dawn

We’re going to spill some blood tonight.

Grim Dawn is (finally) here! The full release launched yesterday (25th February 2016) with a heaping helping of polish, an animated opening sequence, voice acting (for most major quests/NPCs), and a few things I might have missed but have never noticed before. For instance, the rare items that seem to be spawning in pre-determined locations (with randomised statistics). I assume they’re supposed to do that as they’re worth considerably less Iron than equivalent rare items of a similar level.

They’re pretty awesome additions, too! Especially the voice acting and opening sequence.

I had a hard time deciding on how to build my first character. Initially I felt that the Soldier would be a good choice and would follow the usual trend of playing a close quarters, heavily armoured, somewhat tactical character in my first foray into any ARPG. However, I do want to build a weapon and shield Solider at some point. Obviously I can have as many Soldier (or Soldier hybrid) builds as I like, but it seems silly to repeat this early on. They’re all so tempting! So I settled on Shaman as (if they’re similar to my experiences) they balance survivability, damage, pets, and utility in equal measure. Plus you get to whack everyone with the biggest, heaviest piece of scrap you can find.

I’m not sure how this decision will affect moving into the higher difficulty levels (Elite and Ultimate), nor how it will work with the Devotion system, but I’m excited to experience the entirety of the story in the full release. I’m also going to attempt to take my first build through the three difficulty levels in sequence.

Such a shocking revelation.

Such a shocking revelation.

That said, we all know it’s more likely I’ll start another build (and another) before I see the depths of what Ultimate has to offer. The rules of engagement for Elite and Ultimate are also a mystery to me, as I’m not sure if they feature any significant changes (other than higher monster levels and better loot). I don’t know if there’s an experience penalty on death, lowered elemental resistances, monster immunity to certain elements, or really anything about what happens once you leave the safety of Normal. There’s only one way to find out, though!

Needless to say this is where I’m going to be all weekend.

Technically the game is performing well and (with a few minor tweaks) is running well. I’ve discovered the joys of Shrines and having to cleanse them, which, while not an entirely new mechanic, certainly makes the world feel much fuller and gives you more to do. In fact, so far, I’ve run into things to do everywhere. From having people to save to cleansing Shrines to exploring additional areas- it’s come a long way from the days of Early Access- and it doesn’t look like it’s slowing down. I’ve had a quick look over the map and it goes on for days. I can only imagine the additional dungeons and hidden areas they’ve dotted throughout the world. I can only imagine the treasures, too.

I may be a little biased as I have had high expectations for Grim Dawn for some time. It’s one of the few titles I’ve really looked forward to seeing released this year, too. But I still firmly believe that (for as far as I’ve seen as of writing this) it’s one of the best ARPGs in recent years. Perhaps in the entire history of ARPGs.

Have a nice weekend, all!



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