Have you ever thought about arming a badger with a gun? It’s an interesting thought, and one that the developers behind the RPG Grimshade, Talerock have not only thought about it but made happen. We got hold of this 90’s style Steampunk RPG, and ran it through its paces. There are some very impressive RPG’s that were released in the nineties, but how does Grimshade hold up?
Grimshade, follows the great tradition of banding together a ragtag band of different heroes to join forces and fight a common foe. In this case, the heroes are caught up in a dark and dangerous series of events, in the land of Ree’fah. The city of Brann, is surrounded by monster infested forests, with the cities high walls failing to stop them getting in. The neighboring kingdoms armies have landed at the edge of the city, wreaking havoc and devastation. With the city under onslaught, the defense crumbling, and the Kings loyal champions vanished, who is going to step up.
There are two elements of the story to discuss here, the first is the story itself, and you can’t really go wrong with a band imposing army, darkness creating monsters and underdog heroes fighting valiantly against oppressive foes. So much so, there’s very little else to say about it. The other element is the careful mix of storyline and battle sequences. In Grimshade, it’s mostly inconsistent, some times you’re almost mindlessly, clicking on combat text to get to the next battle part, and then suddenly things are reversed and you just seem to be in battle after battle with story progression. Neither of these things are absolutely awful, but they’re not great either.
At its heart, Grimshade is a turn-based isometric RPG. Over the course of the story, your party is built from a variety of individuals each bringing their own combat style, skills, and five slots worth of weapons and abilities into the mix. So, prepare your party beforehand to ensure the best mix of skills and abilities. And yes, one of them is a gun-wielding badger. Don’t worry there is a fairly good tutorial that takes you through the beginning of the story as well as introducing you to the seven unique cast members and how they can be used.
When you’re not fighting, you are exploring the rest of the world of Ree’fah, engaging in side-missions and activities, acquiring better gear and if you’re really lucky you may come across a few of the hidden Easter eggs.
The gameplay doesn’t stand out for either good or bad reasons. Mind you, I have fairly high expectations when it comes to RPG’s so this may be higher praise than it seems. Grimshade does everything I would expect of an RPG. It doesn’t have the depth of a Final Fantasy game, but this has been created by a team of 21 developers, so credit where credit’s due, it’s pretty good.
I also find
the combat just that little bit slow, especially when you only have one or two
skills, and characters. It would be nice if everything was just made 25% faster
I do like how Grimshade looks. With Charlie the badger sniper, it has a great Wind in the Willows meets Steampunk vibe to do. It’s cartoony, and at least in style it takes you back a decade or so. It works. It’s not going to blow you away but it suits the purposes. Being part of the grammar police, there were a few jarring typos and spelling mistakes in the dialogue, although the developers are Russian so maybe give them the benefit of the doubt on this one as well.
During the earlier parts of the tutorial, I found myself dying a few times. Though, this was basically due to me not reading the tutorial text probably and healing some enemies. Other than that, the curve is ok. It’s easy to stay on top of and as long as you spend a bit of thought on your team makeup and health you shouldn’t have any real issues.
There a number of different decisions that can made throughout the game, and this in itself does give it at least some level of replayability. However, depending on oyur experience or possible frustration with the dialogue speed and amount, whether you want to explore these other decisions is the key question.
- Storyline - 70%70%
- Gameplay - 70%70%
- Graphics & Sound - 60%60%
- Difficulty - 80%80%
- Replayability - 50%50%
If I was given Grimshade in the 90’s I would have lapped up every square inch of it, unlocked every weapon, played every decision and found every Easter Egg. In 2019, it just seems just a little too much effort to get through all the combat and all the dialogue. It’s a good story, it looks great and there is nothing wrong with the gameplay, but whether you will spend days upon days playing it over and over. It’s unlikely.