PREVIEW: Graywalkers: Purgatory

Mar
06

PREVIEW: Graywalkers: Purgatory

Little more than a demo at this point, Graywalkers: Purgatory has a strong foundation that promises an exciting new entry of an isometric RPG but it still has a long way to go before it’s worthy of its price tag.

Released: Steam Early Access
Type: Single-player
Genre: RPG, Strategy
Developer: Dreamlords Digital Inc.
Publisher: Dreamlords Digital Inc.
Release date: 15 January, 2020

Overview

RPGs tend to be a time investment when you dive into their settings and this goes doubly for those of the isometric variety. I can’t even begin to imagine how many hours I’ve dumped into the classics like Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura and Baldur’s Gate, and I’ve found that even the more modern Tyranny and Pathfinder: Kingmaker pulled me in in a way that few games can. Graywalkers: Purgatory introduces you to an interesting new world but it’s only the briefest of introductions. You’re a guest that only gets a first impression before you’re quickly ushered out. The deep mechanics show that most promise currently, although even they are a clear work-in-progress with a long road ahead.

Welcome to Purgatory

From what I could gather in my dive into the world, Purgatory is a post-apocalyptic world that was shattered in such a way that all manner of monsters and magic have begun to exist. It has that classic fantasy and modern technology combination that we’ve seen in titles like Arcanum, Shadowrun, and Fallout, though it’s a take that feels different. At any given time, you might end up with a party member slaying their foe with a greatsword, while another unleashes the fully automatic potential of their assault rifle, and a third casts a spell to heal the wounded. Oh, and if you’re feeling a bit sluggish, feel free to pound that energy drink that you’ve been keeping on hand.

A cast of this size having this many diverse characters is exciting. It’s unfortunate that you can only play one currently.

The setting itself feels like it may end up having some real depth to it as well as a unique flavor that will differentiate it from others in the genre. The visuals are about what you’d expect from an indie title, they’re not terrible by any means but there’s plenty of space between them and any AAA you’ll be playing. The soundtrack caught me off-guard, in a good way, as it seems to be full of metal instrumentals and further pushes the overall atmosphere of Graywalkers off of the beaten path.

Dialogue does it’s job, though the writing could be touched up to make the experience more immersive.

Wayward Souls

Graywalkers: Purgatory will offer several modes, though the menu is only a placeholder currently. The main campaign is locked, the combat scenarios seem to either be bugged or incomplete as I’m unable to start them, and only the prelude stories offered and kind of gameplay that I could get my hands on. Even then, out of the very large and varied cast, only Sister Aurice’s backstory was available. Fortunately, this at least gave me the chance to dig in and see what was going on even if the seemingly impressive characters to ‘select’ from had me wishing for more.

Sword sisters are battle nuns that are packing some serious heat.

Sister Aurice is an interesting character in that she is both a member of a holy order of Sword Sisters (warrior nuns) and a Nephilim. Nephilim are the offspring of an angel and a human and they are one of several interesting species choices that caught my eye, though for the sake of this preview it was basically a nice set of attribute and ability bonuses that made her superior to the two portrait-less allies who accompany her on her quest.

Character sheets themselves are deep and will easily keep the attention of those who enjoy tabletop-style RPG systems. There’s an overwhelming number of abilities to choose from that allow vast customization of your characters. As of yet, most of these are still under development and can’t be learned. Meanwhile, many of those that can be learned either have descriptions that are vague, unhelpful, or just plain blank.

Sister Aurice is an interesting character. I hope that the rest of the main characters are creatively designed.

Purgatory Is Abuzz With Bugs

Graywalkers: Purgatory has plenty of issues. The overall narrative has potential looking in but the writing could certainly use some improvement. In particular, dialogue often feels awkward and forced, which harms the story as a whole even if it does still manage to offer enough characterization that may enjoy the characters. I often felt as if I was reading a book or watching a movie with a strong plot, but one that seemed to trip over itself often in practice.

There are choices in the dialogue but I’m unsure of whether or not they actually affected the story.

I was bitten by a few nasty bugs while I explored the world, the worst of which took place during combat. One of them prevented me from swapping between characters until I restarted the game, while another stopped a character from receiving any of the effects from healing items and spells. Needless to say, both of these were game-breaking and they caused enough grief that I became even more firm in my stance that Graywalkers is nowhere near where it needs to be if it’s to be considered a gaming experience worth our time. Sister Aurice’s prelude was playable, but just barely, and it mostly left me looking forward to giving the game another go in the distant future when everything is in order.

Combat is pretty much exactly what you would expect from an turn-based isometric RPG.

Verdict

To say the very least, Graywalkers: Purgatory is a rough-around-the-edges experience. Few actual features are implemented as of yet but you are bombarded with so much that looks like it could be compelling until you’re swatted back to reality by the ‘Under Development’ barrier. In its current state, I can’t even come close to recommending it, though I would suggest that you keep an eye on it for the future. There’s a lot of work to be done here but if Dreamlords is capable of buckling down and putting every ounce of passion and devotion into it, we may see a masterpiece take shape. Otherwise, this is likely to miss the mark and be another title that is forgotten by the majority of players.

Bonus

If you’re interested in playing Graywalkers: Purgatory you may be in luck! Ask JimDeadlock on our Discord server and he may have a free key for you, if you’re quick!

About Aurumlamina

Few things bring me as much joy as an immersive strategy game, but I'll play in just about any genre as long as the game's good. The magic words for me are grand strategy, 4X, tactical roleplaying game (you get the picture), and I've waved farewell to far too many hours of my life when they were involved. That said, I've found myself completely hooked on plenty of horror and roleplaying games, including the tabletop variety, as well as the occasional first-person shooter. I spend a lot of time writing and world-building outside of games and I have a soft spot for just about any game that lets you get in touch with your creative side. Steam Profile / Twitter

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