So Legend of Grimrock is a game that I picked up on Steam during one of the sales a while back along with it’s sequel for a pretty decent £10 and honestly I am ashamed of myself for not playing it sooner because this game is surprisingly good considering how simple it looks when you first come across it….okay long story it basically kicked my ass until I got the hang on it and took my time.
Developed by Finnish indie video game developer “Almost Human”, Legend of Grimrock is a 3D grid-based, real-time dungeon crawler similar to Dungeon Master (a early grid-based 3D realtime action role-playing video game from 1987) that was released for the PC on 11 April 2012 and while the concept and mechanics might seem like they are as old time itself it is a breath of rather fresh air at least to me anyway but let’s move on.
So the plot of Legend of Grimrock goes like this, a group of prisoners sentenced by “the court” for crimes against the King for some reason that isn’t explained have been sentenced to be thrown into the pit of Mount Grimrock and are escorted by armed knights via airship to the top of there.
The prisoners are then thrown in the mountain and sealed inside, the prisoners then make their way downwards through the levels of Grimrock Dungeon, aided by a disembodied voice which comes to them in their sleep promising them a way of escape for both it and the party and the escape awaits at the bottom of the dungeon.
Now one thing I like about this game is the amount of customization you can do, when you start you have to create your party of four prisoners and there is a surprising amount of depth here from the start, when creating a party the first thing you need to decide is what race to make each character and there are four race, you can pick from Humans, Minotaurs, Lizardmen and Insectoids and you can make female characters too by the way but moving on.
After you pick the various races, genders and names for your party members you will then have to assign traits, skills and of course classes because what RPG doesn’t have a class system and there are three classes, Fighter, Rogue and Mage and I would recommend looking up guides to help build a good party in terms of stats.
My review party consisted of one male Human fighter named Caius, a male Minotaur named Aro who is another Fighter, a female human Mage named Cassandra and a female Rogue named Jane and yes before you say anything, I know, three of those names are members of the Volturi from the Twilight franchise.
Yeah I may or may not have been reading a ultra badass fan story where everyone’s not so favourite klutz Bella gets turned into a badass super vampire, tears Edward Cullen’s limbs off and then dates Alice a few minutes before hand and the names just kinda stuck with me but lets move on to the actual gameplay.
As you can see from the trailer from earlier Legend of Grimrock’s gameplay is a mix of puzzle solving and combat; you see boys and girls, the party will gain experience for slaying creatures and beasts within the dungeon, allowing them to increase in level and progress skills which therefore give them more combat abilities and allow the casting of new spells.
Combat is interesting and tactical, your party is in a 2 by 2 formation, two in front and back with the two in front taking and dealing the brunt of the damage while the two in back are support, you can switch these positions easily and you often will in order to save companions from death or to change up who is dealing dealing damage and then there are spells and they are cast by selecting the correct rune sequence as long as your skill level lets you and you know the combination.
Equipment is found through exploration and through solving various puzzles in the dungeon and you will have to be observant because there are hidden areas that may or may not contain some really good loot so keep an eye out for anything unusual like a wall that will only open if you push a brick for it to move like I did or anything of that nature….slow and steady wins the race in this case, just take your time and check EVERYTHING before moving on.
Legend of Grimrock also has a survival part to it with you needing to keep your party alive, fed and well rested even though health and energy regenerate slowly and you also run the risk of getting attacked while resting so its really about learning to manage things effectively and as you can see from the above Gif, Legend of Grimrock has some pretty nasty things crawling around in the dungeon with you.
So if you have crippling arachnophobia then this game is most definitely not for you but moving on, the graphics in Legend of Grimrock are pretty good to be honest, it is just good enough to have that old school look without feeling too modern and it works really well because this game is unusually creepy because you have no idea what is lurking around the next corner or inside the next room.
Sound design is also pretty good and combined with the graphics Legends of Grimrock has a surprisingly tense but subtlety creepy atmosphere that really ties the whole game together perfectly and the music is well done also and I personally adore the menu theme to be honest because it is beautifully done and it kind of has a Game of Thrones vibe to it.
Moving on from epic intros let’s talk replay value because longevity is a vital component of any game, after all you don’t want to install the damn thing and then you finish it 20 minutes later….that’s right I’m looking at you Gone Home, you damn bad short story turned walking simulator but anyway Legend of Grimrock has quite a bit of replay value.
When you first start up the game there are three difficulty modes, Easy, Medium and Hard and believe me STAY FAR THE HELL AWAY from the higher difficulties until you have a handle on how to play this game because if you pick medium or hard with no idea what you are doing or where you are going there is a pretty good chance you will die early on.
Adding to the replay value is the good ole Steam Workshop and the Custom Dungeons mode where you can browse the Grimrock Steam Workshop and download custom made maps made by the community with the editor and most of them are really good and well made so there is potentially hours of playtime here which is amazing for a rather simple yet complex game.
There is also the Old School mode which takes away auto mapping making you keep track by using something called paper….yeah you can actually play the game like how people did others like it during the old days aka the days of my mother, I am probably going to die when she sees this so if I don’t post for a while you know why and just so we are clear this is a joke but moving on there isn’t really much else I can say about Legend of Grimrock.
The basic premise of Legend of Grimrock is that it is a modern take on the classic grid-based,dungeon-crawling, RPG games of old and it holds up well, bringing new life to a somewhat forgotten genre but I’m going to say that this game isn’t for everyone.
I really enjoyed Legend of Grimrock because it isn’t a game that uses numerous modern gimmicks, I enjoyed it because it’s a near-perfect implementation of the old school dungeon crawling games that I never got the chance to play because well I didn’t exist when said dungeon crawlers were in their prime however this game isn’t for everybody so I can only recommend this game to fans of the genre and people who like numbers and stats with the RPG fix.
You definitely have to be nostalgic about first person dungeon crawlers from the 90’s to really enjoy this game and even though I though I wasn’t around for the “golden age of PC gaming” you know back when you had to draw your own maps and read the manuals that came with the game and for the majority of us we just want to boot up the game and play but for those of you who like this sort of thing then check it out on Steam along with its even better sequel Legend of Grimrock II and maybe pick them up for cheap during one of the major sales like I did.
So that’s about it for this review, there isn’t really much I could say about it due to me still not having made it to the end but I have quite a lot of playtime to give you the good, the bad and so on about it like I do with most of my reviews and I do apologise because you see boys and girls I was meant to have this out by this past weekend but Overwatch was free…yeah so I spent most of my writing time being a cyber ninja and a spandex clad Russian spider obsessed sniper but anyway if you liked this review then please like this post, comment down below and share it around with the hashtag #Slay3rNation so people can read it and I will see you next time