Welcome to Purgatory… II! Enjoy your stay! You will be grinding here for a long time.
Genre: Strategy, Adventure
Developer: New Reality Games,
Publisher: New Reality Games
Release date: 28 Feb, 2018
Entering Purgatory… II
Welcome to Purgatory II, the sequel the singleplayer hex-grid based strategy game, Purgatory, where you build an army of hellish creatures to exact your vengeance on those who wronged you. This game picks up the story of ex-general Xzus in which he returns from the dead to find the one that stuck the dagger in his back to end him. Collect spirit points, build up your army, upgrade your commander, then climb to the surface and kill everything in your path.
As the name suggests, this picks up after the first game, but I haven’t played the first Purgatory, I’ve only briefly looked at it to compare them. From the 5 hours I played of Purgatory II, I can safely say this game is a mixed bag, and feels unfinished or even rushed with features that were either changed, or removed for the worst. Nonetheless, let us begin our journey into Purgatory II!
Grinding in Purgatory
As you would guess, you start off in Purgatory. This is where you will be spending most of your time grinding and grinding and grinding. Why is that? Well anything you want to do requires “spirit points”, which I will refer to as “SP.” What to battle against something? Spend some SP. Want to travel to the surface to progress the story? Spend some SP. The only way that you will earn the SP is killing the group of enemies in the “Tower of Shadows”. The first time you complete them, you earn a free unit for your army. Completing them again will only net you the SP, and you will be doing this over, and over, and over, and over again. You need the SP to purchase the much needed upgrades for your commander, to purchase stronger units, and leveling them up (max level is 3) so they won’t die in one hit from the harder enemies further in the story. Though from what I could tell all the upgrades and monsters are available right from the start. After completing everything up to the last fight, there aren’t ANY new upgrades or monsters to buy. Even the store video and screenshots show you other units that you can’t get and units you don’t even fight against.
To purchase upgrades for your commander, you head to the “Alchemists’ Guild”. There are a total of 20 items/upgrades to purchase, though the only problem is that four of these upgrades are useless as they lower stats more than they raise another stat. The worst one is the glove that gives you a healing ability, but it removes about half your armor and half of your magic resistance, making it highly impractical as your commander character is meant to fight in melee distance, not range. Even if you bought the range upgrades, you will still only be doing a 5th of the damage you would normally do with melee, but at least you aren’t required to purchase these kind of upgrades. There is also a health potion you can purchase multiple times that your commander can use to heal himself during battle… The only issue is the potion doesn’t heal enough points later in the game to be of any help. The potion only heals 60 points of damage, and most basic enemies deal 50 or more, so in other words the potions are useless. Every other upgrade is very useful, as they would increase your damage, armor, health, give you a ranged attack, a healing spell (which I could never get to work,) a damage aura (which again I could never get to work,) increase move distance, etc. Now compared to first game, Purgatory, that had all the upgrades in a skill tree which made you unlock things in an order, though all those were positive upgrades. None of them took away stats, and they also made you feel like you are growing and progressing. In this game you can purchase everything in about an hour.
The area called “Necromancer’s Lair” is where you will be buying your units and upgrading them. You have 10 to choose from, but sadly only the last two are really the only good units, the Dijinn and the Masamune. Fully upgraded, the Dijinn is able to attack anything from across the entire map, and the Masamune is really the only unit that won’t die from one hit from the bosses. Every other unit becomes way too weak very fast and then useless, other than just dying and losing some SP you spent on them. Thankfully there is an option to sell them. The other kind of useful unit is the Priest el Noire, though his healing ability quickly becomes ineffective because he just won’t heal enough to counter the amount of damage later in the game, and he pretty much dies in one hit from anything.
Now in the “Tower of Shadows” there are four “levels” you can choose from. The first being some skeletons, the second some spectres that deal ranged attacks, the third are armored knights and skeletons, and then there is the 4th wave, the spiders, which has a HUGE difficulty spike. Most enemies only have two action points, which is spent on either moving or attacking, but this level contains the “Spider Queen” which is not only stronger than the normal spiders, but also looks the exact same as the normal spiders and has 4 ACTION POINTS and will easily wipe out your units at the start. Once your units wipe, you have to basically start over. When you lose a unit, they are gone. You would have to re-buy them and upgrade them all over again. As the first few units are just terrible, you will spend most of your time grinding these missions to buy the better units, as they will be the only ones able to defeat or deal any real damage to them.
Thankfully though, there is a helpful glitch that will help speed up the SP grind. When you kill the last of the enemies, quickly hit the end turn, you can double or triple the payout. Once you start getting the better units though, you can easily start rushing through these missions, then eventually be able to rush through the spiders no problem for the max amount of SP. Just don’t bother trying to do this glitch when you are doing story missions. (I’ll explain later.)
Spread death across the land.
After you get your army as set up and have your upgrades, you can then pass through Cerberus’ Gate (which you have to pay some SP) to head to the surface and exact your revenge. This is where the story happens, as each mission you pay 10 SP to start the mission, and after you defeat it, you get a bit more of the story. The story though isn’t too amazing and you get to stare at the same still image of a red wasteland every time, and I mean EVERY TIME! Each story part, regardless where you are on the map, is the same exact image. The only time you see a different image is the very start of the game. As you have a bunch of story to read, there is no voice over. You can skip past all this though, and that is what I ended up doing after awhile as the story just couldn’t catch my interest. This is also a minor complaint, but even all the areas and the map are very plain and boring. There are no animations in these areas, other than Purgatory, but all that has is just smoke effects. The lava parts don’t flow or glow, the water doesn’t move, lights don’t glow, etc. It just makes everything look bland and boring. As pretty as the artwork is, it just doesn’t feel “alive.” Compared to the first game, there are fewer missions (at least from what I can tell,) and with some good units you can run though the game very fast.
As you progress, the difficulty starts to ramp up. If you didn’t have any of the good units, you will start to die off real fast. One of the major issues I had with this game was the lack of telling you what you are going to be up against until you are in the fight, or telling you how hard it’s going to be. Because of this, I’ve had lost a few times and had to go back to grinding SP to re-purchase units and upgrade them all over again. There is a retreat option, but it states that there is a chance that you will lose 50% of your units. Once you complete the mission though, you don’t get any rewards. You just get more story and unlock the next mission. Even if you do that SP glitched mentioned before, you still don’t get anything… well just maybe the game will crash for you, which seems to get worse the further you get into the game.
As you progress, the difficulty starts to ramp up. If you don’t have any of the good units, you will start to die off real fast. One of the major issues I had with this game was the lack of telling you what you are going to be up against until you are in the fight, or telling you how hard it’s going to be. Because of this, I’ve had lost a few times and had to go back to grinding SP to re-purchase units and upgrade them all over again. There is a retreat option, but it states that there is a chance that you will lose 50% of your units. Once you complete the mission though, you don’t get any rewards. You just get more story and unlock the next mission. Though compared to the first game, there are fewer missions (at least from what I can tell,) and with some good units you can run though the game very fast.
Army of the Damned
Now, for the real meat of the game, the combat. The game plays in a hexed based turn based strategy style. You and the AI each have a turn to move your units across the map or perform an action. All units have to use “action points” that you can spend on either moving twice, move once and attack, attack twice, or use a skill. All units only have two action points, expect for special or boss units that have four points. When you click on a unit, you can see it’s movement distance or attack distance. You can hover your mouse over a unit to see stats if needed. Pick a unit, move him to a spot, then click the attack button or skill to use it, move to the next unit and repeat until you are done, then click the end turn button to let the AI have it’s turn. Pretty simple really, and the AI is just as simple, with the melee units swarming to the closest unit it can attack, and ranged units attacking the closest unit…
The biggest gripe with this game is also the combat. I think the problem I have with this game is the character sprites are either too big, or the grid is too small. I’ll try to explain it the best I can. Now take the image below, I’ve selected the knight unit, and want to attack the hell hound above it, the cursor will switch to a sword to show it will attack. Now here is the problem, if I was to click right this second, the unit would actually run AROUND the hell hound, wasting an action point for moving to attack. Why you ask? It is because I would have selected the right side of the hex, instead of the bottom left side to attack. This is why I say the units are too big or the grid is too small, because just a slight movement could cause the cursor to pick a different side, or not even click at all which would cause to you waste an action or attack the wrong thing. There will also be the odd time that an enemy unit will get stuck on a impassible piece of terrain, but the game will still make it move and still able to attack you, even though the game shows he’s stuck.
Another issue with the combat is that certain spells just don’t seem to work, or just work when they want to. One of your commanders skills is to curse some tiles and any enemies standing in it will take double damage, well I was never able to get it to work, even just clicking randomly on the map after selecting the skill didn’t do anything. Another combat related issue, that is a pretty big one, is certain enemies that, even after you inflict enough damage to kill them, will still cause some damage to you! The worst part is this isn’t even consistent! Skeletons seem to be the main culprit for this issue as they tend to do it the most. I have had other enemies do it, but not as often as the skeletons.
I want to take a second and point out some things stated on the store page. On the store page in the “Features” section it states these:
- Fall prey to ambushes during battle!
- Hunt down treasure chests, avoid traps!
- Lay siege to mighty fortresses!
NONE of these are in the game! I’ve completed everything up to the final mission (which I gave up cause the boss is a major dick and pain in the ass,) and was never ambushed, never found any treasure chests or traps, and most certainly did not siege any fortresses. All the battles are the same, don’t offer any unique terrain (like water or lava or tiles that would slow the unit down,) or special events (like time limits, or unit limits, or defending something, etc.) The only real difference is the number of enemies, and the final boss, which I want to point out in the screenshot below, doesn’t even look any different! As I have also stated before, there are units in the videos and screenshots that aren’t even in the game!
Now after all that, I will say that the pixel graphics do look amazing! Everything looks well drawn, though my only complaint is the animations could have been a little better or have a few more frames. I’ve noticed that some animations either play too fast and just look off, or some times the unit won’t play any animations at all. And like I had said previously, the worlds look nice, but lack any movement or action happening in them making them look flat and boring. The music is very nice and is enjoyable to listen to. However they do get repetitive very fast as there are not too many tracks. The sound is just like the music, there aren’t too many different sounds and will be repetitive. The worst of this being the dialog the commander says when you are in purgatory. He says the same five lines over and over and it gets really annoying. Thankfully,because of the story every time you venture to the surface, he turns into a stone golem and no longer speaks. Though in the first game his voice lines sound much better, so it’s weird they didn’t just re-use voice lines.
Is the game terrible? Well no, it’s just not very fun, sadly. Not being fun is the worst thing a game could be in my opinion, especially when you force yourself to try and finish it. For that reason I say not to pick up the game unless you’re interested, then wait till it’s on a very heavy discount. There are honestly better games that do the same thing, such as many have suggested, King’s Bounty.