Emissary of War Preview

29 Jul 2011

The guys at TouchArcade have doled out a preview of Emissary of War, the forthcoming iOS-powered action RPG from the Tobyn Manthorpe-led team at Cedar Hill Games. Trimming "the standard RPG fat" seems to be the way all developers are heading these days:
From a purely mechanical perspective, this is an isometric hack-and-slash. You point and touch to move the barbarian Ghent around his environment and you click on an enemy to kill it. It's pretty simple stuff. Each area operates like an arena with a finite amount of fantasy villains to maim. It's a cast that includes Mer-people, rock-spiders, ghouls and ghosts, and mercenaries.

After you take out everything, you’re allowed to proceed into a new area. If you look closely enough, you'll also notice that hidden areas unlocked, too. These will provide you with some extra goodies to use in the game and lead to some of the more challenging fights you'll have.

Ghent is accompanied by an old friend, Hassock the alchemist. He functions as a foil of sorts to the raw brawn of Ghent, but he’s also a handy design element: he’ll heal you as you fight, as well as add ranged support to battles. You don’t directly control him, but you can queue up his actions in the corner of the screen if you don’t agree with what the AI has in store.

This frees up you to focus on the action, which is typical hack-and-slash fare: you click on a dude and you swing until it explodes and rains crimson and coins. You don’t earn experience points or pick up loot. Instead, you’ll earn gold coins which can be exchanged for weapons in a hunk of UI that also includes ability upgrades which you can unlock by collecting Runes. I realize this might turn a lot of you off, but a streamlined upgrade path is a cool and functional way to cut out the standard RPG fat and get to what really matters to Cedar Hill Games: Ghent and Hassock and their part of the unfolding story.