Grim Dawn Review

Eschalon: Book II

Publisher:Independent
Developer:Crate Entertainment
Release Date:2016-02-25
Genre:
  • Action,Role-Playing
Platforms: Theme: Perspective:
  • Third-Person
Buy this Game: Amazon ebay

Graphics and Sound

By pricing, Grim Dawn is a lot closer to a budget title than it is to an AAA game.  That means it shouldn't come as a surprise that it's a little limited with its graphics and sound.  For the graphics, the enemies are distinctive, and the spell effects look nice, but there isn't any sort of a wow factor, especially with the major bosses, where you might expect something special.  There are also some issues, like when you enter ruined houses but it's tough to see where the doorways are, or when enemies blend in with the ground, so it's tough to see what you're facing.  But overall Grim Dawn looks just fine.

As for the sound, the music is low-key and pleasant, and nicely Crate doesn't use combat music at all, so you don't get any jarring transitions.  But the voice acting features a lot of people reading their lines instead of acting them, and some of the ambient sounds are annoying.  For example, for some reason Crate just loves the sound of buzzing flies, and I could have done without it.  There are also a few places where the ambient noises sound like enemies, and that's just bad form.

Technical Issues

I spent over 60 hours playing Grim Dawn, and it only crashed on me once -- and that was after I had been doing some alt-tabbing, so it might have been my fault.  Otherwise, I didn't notice any broken quests or skills, and everything seemed to be competently constructed.  About the only negative I noted down is that Crate somehow screwed up their scrollbars, and so it's more difficult to scroll through windows than it should be.

Conclusion

In some ways, Grim Dawn is a very nice game.  It is outstanding in giving you different ways to build your character and thrive in combat, the combat itself is tough and satisfying, and there is plenty of interesting equipment to find and use.  But for me, most of those positives are derailed by a long, overly-padded campaign.  All of the repetition and trash fights left me bored, and when I finished the veteran campaign with my Warder, I just couldn't muster any enthusiasm to get him very far in the elite campaign.  Once was enough.

That being said, everybody else seems to love Grim Dawn, so it might just be one of those games where we agree to disagree.  If you're like me and you prefer your games -- even your action role-playing games -- to have interesting stories, memorable characters, and quotable dialogue, then you might respect the competency of Grim Dawn, but I don't know that it will excite you.  But if you just need creatures to kill and stuff to loot, then you match Grim Dawn's focus, and you might get hundreds of hours of enjoyment out of the game, and for a pretty modest price, too.