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A review of the indie game Legend of Grimrock 2, produced by Almost Human

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Review of Legend of Grimrock 2 (Video Game)

Legend of Grimrock 2 (Almost Human, 2014) is a role-playing action game with puzzle aspects modelled after classic 1980s and 1990 role-playing action games. The game is a dungeon crawler that uses a 3D grid-based system to move and view the surrounding world. It was developed by Almost Human, an independent games developer that created the original called Legend of Grimrock (Almost Human, 2012).

Game play revolves around you controlling a party of four characters, with each character having a class that can be modified through the use of traits, stats and abilities. The classes range from berserker, a warrior who relies on brute strength to plow through his enemies, to a mage, a powerful magic user who masters the arts of four different elemental powers (fire, water, earth, air) to unleash powerful spells, to an alchemist, who wields fire-arms and concocts potions (having the unique ability of multiplying ingredients in their inventory). There is even a class called farmer, in which you gain experience by eating food.

The storyline places you into a world where you are shipwrecked on an unknown island, with the master of the island designing ingenious traps and evil monsters for you to traverse through in the hopes of defeating you. This aspect of expansive mystery, where your imagination fills in the gaps, has been a long running theme of old-school RPG games.

Legend of Grimrock 2 (LoG-2) is a worthy successor to Legend of Grimrock, improving in almost all aspects. The original Legend of Grimrock (LoG) was critically acclaimed by PC Gamer (2012) as a "love letter to Dungeon Master." Wikipedia (2014) states that Dungeon Master was one of the earliest and most well-known RPG action games of its time , with LoG being directly modelled after it and other RPG action games of the time. LoG-2 has accomplished this same love generated towards its original, but it has more accessibility and ease of use.

By ease of use, I do not mean LoG-2 is easier than LoG. Rather, LoG-2 has a more natural interface for displaying the rules of the world, and better interactive gameplay, where your interaction with the game can warp and extend or change those rules. A classic example would be near the beginning of the game, where there was a note that said "At the lone oak, in the shadow of the blue light, I buried it. - Captain Kilhagan". I spent the next 30 minutes digging up the ground around every lone oak to find that treasure. Finally, I reached the right one, and I dug up the treasure. This oak was directly behind a blue save crystal that has a sharp eminent light when it's active. This was a valuable lesson in taking the time to understand and think about the clues given, rather than guessing.

Wikipedia (2014) shows that its graphics is also much smoother than the original, and its classes and choices more varied. However, its biggest update from LoG to LoG-2, is its expansive open world that subtlety pushes you to your objective while letting you experience/interact with what you desire. For example, there's a point in the game where you can access a cemetery, however you can only access the start of the cemetery because there is a puzzle in the way that you have no information on. This tells you that the information you're seeking is elsewhere, and off you go to explore the next area. It also makes you value knowledge and storing knowledge, as there are quite a lot of things that can't be accessed at one point in time and need you to come back to at a later point. However most of them are optional areas, so forgetting them means you'll probably never access them.

The LoG-2 isn't a perfect game, there were also aspects of the game I found frustrating. My biggest issue was with some of its puzzles that were frustrating and annoying, rather than innovative and interesting. For example, there was one puzzle in the area known as Castle of Nex, where you had to traverse an area that teleports you to the start of the area if you walk on the wrong tiles. The problem I had was that these tiles were different all the time. There were about 7-9 sequences I discovered before I got back to the original one. Because there were no visual or musical indicators, I couldn't determine what tiles teleported me to the start of the area. So I had to use trial and error to discover the path I needed, but to do that I had to go through the extra 8 teleports to get back to the original teleport sequence I was using. This created a very frustrating environment where I was advancing one tile at a time while going through continuous teleportation's, until eventually I made it to the end. This single puzzle almost made me quit the game entirely, simply from frustration. The only other criticism is that the game did not provide useful information for certain items, such as the revival crystal item that can be reused. This was not clear, so I held onto it for extreme circumstances thinking it was a one-time use.

Overall, I view the legend of LoG-2 as an enhanced successor to the LoG. I believe the LoG-2 reached its intention carried over from the LoG, Wikipedia (2014) stating that the intention is of being an old-school RPG within a new-school environment, and has greatly impressed me as a fan.

References:
[color=#000000][font=calibri]Almost Human. (2012)[/font][/color][color=#000000][font=arial]. [/font][/color][color=#000000][font=calibri]Legend of Grimrock[/font][/color][color=#000000][font=arial]. [/font][/color][color=#000000][font=calibri]Retrieved October 30, 2014[/font][/color] [color=#000000][font=calibri]from[/font][/color]
[color=rgb(0,0,0)]http://www.grimrock.net/games/[/color]

[color=#000000][font=calibri]Almost Human. (2014)[/font][/color][color=#000000][font=arial]. [/font][/color][color=#000000][font=calibri]Legend of Grimrock 2[/font][/color][color=#000000][font=arial]. [/font][/color][color=#000000][font=calibri]Retrieved October 30, 2014 from [/font][/color]
[color=rgb(0,0,0)]http://www.grimrock.net/games/[/color]

Blyth, J. (2012). Legend of Grimrock [Review of the video game Legend of Grimrock, produced by Amost Human, 2012]. Retrieved October 28, 2014 from
http://www.pcgamer.com/legend-of-grimrock-review/

Wikipedia. (2014). Dungeon Master (video game). Retrieved October 29, 2014 from
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dungeon_Master_(video_game)

Wikipedia. (2014). Legend of Grimrock. Retrieved October 30, 2014 from
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legend_of_Grimrock

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ShiftyCake

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