If you’re familiar with my articles, you’ll know that I bloody love a good RPG! A rich narrative, full of characters telling a story on such an epic scale and taking dozens upon dozens of hours of my time is what a video game should do, and it’s hard for me to find other titles that captured my imagination quite like the Dragon Age franchise, which for me is almost perfect; this was shortly followed by the excellent and viciously underappreciated Kingdoms of Amular. 2015’s Divinity Original Sin: Enhanced Edition quickly became one of my favourite titles of all time (read the review for all the deets), which gave me hope that maybe originality isn’t dead for new RPGs hitting the market. That’s how I’ve come into ‘Demon’s Age’, how does this brand new Strategical Role Player fit into 2016? Does it bring any innovation, or is it just another run of the mill forgettable adventure?
Demon’s Age is a brand new RPG pried from the jaws of BigMoon Studios, releasing on PC, PS4 and Xbox One. Acting as a spiritual successor the likes of Baldur’s Gate or D&D, Demon’s Age begins like your typical gritty adventure, with a grisley narrative and unfortunate hero. Set in the realm of Moragon, Elves, Dwarves and Halflings seemingly live in peace, that is until the bastard humans come a knocking and turn everything to shit, yeah sounds about right. Relationships change and greed erupts throughout the nation, ultimately leading to a dark lord reawakening and unleashing hell throughout the land, leaving only one man/woman to save the day, it’s you of course! You begin your adventure by selecting a character on board a Prisoner’s boat, with each criminal having their own bio, race and class; after selecting your hero the boat crashes and you are shipwrecked onto foreign soil. Armed with nothing but a loin cloth, you hit the shores and help those in need, which subsequently gets you on the path of fixing the world, naturally. At this point Demon’s Age isn’t any different to any of the other 20 adventures you’ve started, so what about the gameplay itself?
The combat follows a simple grid like battlefield, meaning you must manoeuvre your chosen character across it before you can attack. This element is relatively unheard of these days, so with it brings a refreshing level of old-schoolness that makes it an intriguing play, even if nothing else is exactly new. As you can expect, completing quests and killing enemies (who can be randomly generated, so be mindful of danger lurking around every corner), level up your hero with a large array of skills and abilities and equip him or her with a vast amount of weaponry and armoury. Another interesting element to the game which isn’t often found in similar titles, is how you can recruit additional combatants, who each have their own stories and agendas. Typically, you’ll be introduced to key characters throughout your journey, however in Demon’s Age you can manage your team from the local Inns, with various potential allies awaiting your command. Also typically in other RPGs these secondary characters will remain hugely loyal unless it becomes a slave the ole main plot twist, but in Demon’s Age each new recruit will have their own reason for helping you, and denying that or indeed discovering that can cause them to betray you. This feature will no doubt make players think more carefully about who to include in their teams with deadly, albeit exciting, consequences for choosing poorly, something which honestly has never crossed my mind before.
On the outside, Demon’s Age looks and sounds like a title you’ve played countless times before, however there are a couple of very interesting features that give it an edge over others. Taking a nostalgic approach to combat and adding in a fairly unique character recruitment system, Demon’s Age does seem to bring a touch of innovation to the genre, making it a title that’s worth checking out at least. In its current state, (a pretty early build I might add), I can’t comment fairly on how it stacks up against the multi award winning RPGs currently lining the shelves, however the familiar controls and refreshing gameplay it offered had me hooked enough to be excited for what the finished product will be.