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[YSB] Are you an ARPG fan? Loved Diablo? You should try out Grim Dawn, if you haven’t by now. Here is my review.

Grim dawn is a really solid ARPG, clearly the game's budget was smaller in comparison to triple A giants such as the most recent Diablo but the writing itself is superb; even though it lacks cinematics, high-end VOs and whatnot. Environmental storytelling makes up for all that.

Which brings me to the game's level design – this is where the game shines and in my opinion completely stomps on ALL the other games of the genre. All the geometry was manually crafted – there is no procedural generated logic implemented. While procedual generation is the staple of most such games and can boost the replay value, there are many downsides to having it. Grim Dawn's designers and level artists played their strengths and crafted an amazing, immersive world. There are gameplay systems in the game that are linked to the world structure, incentivizing exploration and rewarding it in a spectacular manner.

The way I play these games, I explore EVERY nook and cranny of the map and some of those hidden zones were truly a challenge and an amazing experience overall, unlike anything I ever experienced.

With all that being said, I must say, Grim Dawn's progression is not beginner friendly and some of the systems have questionable design imo. Artifical complexity should be avoided in games at all costs and I feel like some of the game's mechanisms fell into that trap by attempting to have too much player agency (indeed, there is such as thing as too much agency). With that being said, the said mechanisms are very unique and I can appreciate what the developers achieved with them.

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For example, I feel like the loot system seen in Diablo 3 is superior in some ways, despite leading to more binary choices. In Grim Dawn a level 20 item might be better than a level 50 item for your build/class. In Diablo 3 that will rarely be the case, if you get a higher level item it will usually be better. This leads to a greater number of upgrades over a short period of time which in theory is better but at the same time the satisfaction one feels when optimizing items is lessened. This is just one example, with so many systems in the game these things are far more intricate. Grim Dawn does many things differently than other ARPGs and that is totally fine. No perfect choices in game design.

Plus, stats in Diablo 3 are much more transparent (in terms of how they affect your character). I'd say such transparency is always a better choice when relaying information to the player but again, things are not that simple. Grim Dawn does not share information with you on a silver platter if you will and there are some benefits to that.

Technical design could be improved upon in some areas, for example picking up items can be quite an annoyance and the pathfinding logic is far from perfect if the parameter of items on the ground crosses a specific threshold. Such cases are few though and from what I gather patches are being released even today with constant QoL improvements being added into the game.

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Not a fan of the failed game state that always respawns the player in the same location. This forces one to utilize rifts as check points (as in, you could use the personal rift once in a while to shorten your backtracking). Not sure if this is intentional but I think that having fixed check point locations throughout the game's flow is just a better design choice.

To sum it all up, if you're into looters and ARPGs, this is a must purchase. Truly a unique spin on the genre that is bound to be a fascinating experience.You can tell when a game with seemingly lackluster development resources turns out to be a labor of love. This was clearly a passion project and it shows.

Oh, and the mix of dark fantasy and the Victorian era works suprisingly well.


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