Very rarely do games come with as serious historical baggage as Wave of Darkness. Dreamatrix has two major titles in their history: Rogue Universe, of which I reviewed the HD version recently, and Legends of Dawn. Rogue Universe I found a good game if you could fight the difficulty curve and lack of tutorial. However Legends of Dawn is the real baggage handler here.
Legends of Dawn started production at an unknown date, although on December 12th 2012 Dreamatrix, with the company Aurofinity, requested $25,000 to finish the game through Kickstarter. This was successfully funded by the end of the 30 days, making $46,536. So with 22 grand in surplus funding this should have been an exceptional game.
Yet the game was a failure. Not just a failure; a fully-fledged Jeremy Kyle contestant failure. IGN said ‘Legends of Dawn isn’t just bad, it’s an embarrassment to its developers and @steam_games for selling it.’ CD-Action said ‘An apology is in order to everyone who fell for the promises on Kickstarter and paid for this ruin of a game.’ LEVEL called it ‘A crappy system, technologically speaking it’s an unfinished, irritating, and every now and then arrogant action RPG, with flaws as merits, demonstrating how to not make a game.’
So with this we now have Wave of Darkness. Another Kickstarter funded experience, gaining $23,856 with a $20,000 goal. And with Legends of Dawn being a failure this should be a far greater experience.
The game is not exceptionally demanding, and has plenty of graphics options to satisfy in a world of basic Unity option menus. Character customisation does exist. However you can change three aspects of your character: Race, hairstyle and hair colour. I’m hopeful for more to appear, as the current options don’t really grant you any individuality to your character that can’t be hidden with a helmet.
The tutorial is in good depth. The game is not horrendously difficult or complex, and the tutorial area is content to show features. The only issue found is that the tutorial area is that it is not a straight linear succession, meaning you may be picking up how to unlock chests with runes before fighting, or you may miss parts of the tutorial altogether.
The main game is quite a good experience. There is not much to the game. Dreamatrix provided me with a few save files to try areas and quests. Quests feel diablo-like yet play very well. With the wealth of features, especially the depth in the when crafting spells allows plenty of angles of attack on a game. I dislike how little hand-holding the game does, though that is a more personal issue. There is little indication who you should be going towards in a quest. However the game makes up for this with the pleasant world to explore. Do not try to swim however. That’s not in the game and you will die horribly.
Criticising this game is hard, as its very early age and early access means that most of the issues will be sorted quickly as the game teethes. I found several minor issues, most notably how aged this game looks. Graphically it is not a real beauty and the game looks more like an arrival from 2006 instead of 2015. Ramping the graphics up is not optimised, and even on low there was texture popping and slowdown on a machine which runs GTA V on high at 60fps. The game also refuses to find my save games and currently I’m going to have to restart the game every time I want to run it. I could lay these down to, and a suspect the developers will, to ‘early access.’ But not being able to save is like not having a character. It’s an integral feature of the game that should not be missing or broken. I will admit the problem may be on my end yet considering the games condition I doubt it is me. To give credit where it’s due though, the game only crashed on me when I tabbed out whilst writing this review and did not fault again.
Wave of Darkness is definitely not another Legends of Dawn. The developers have definitely learned an important lesson with this game, the lesson of not screwing around with people’s money. Given time Wave of Darkness will blossom into a wonderful rendition of the traditional RPG’s. There are a few issues, most notably the poor graphics optimisations. But with the speed the developers are resolving issues (according to the forums) this should not be an issue for long. This game gets a solid 3. Will I ever come back to this? If I can sort the saving issue maybe.