This is a game that I have been playing on and off for a while... As an ARPG Lover (that's Action Role Playing Game), Grim Dawn certainly confirms one thing for me...the ARPG genre is slowly (but surely) growing strong.
Grim Dawn is an Action RPG based in the Victorian Era with the addition of crazy stuff like Aetherial beings and supernatural entities such as spirits, skeletons, ghouls... and so on. The one key difference between Grim Dawn, and other ARPG's of this time, is its Mastery System. The Mastery Systems allows you to choose up to two different classes, mixing and matching their skills to synergise with each other, whether it be, increased damage of an element, more defence, or just for the sake of adding Auras and buffs to your character; the choice is yours.
If you are familiar with major ARPG's like Path of Exile, or the Diablo series, and you are looking for a break from those games, I cannot recommend this game enough. It has hundreds of Epic/Legendary items, each legendary item has its own special ability/affix that can change your character in the most unique ways. All up there are 20,000 possible magic affix combinations coupled with 200 rare affixes. The downside to this, however, is the fact that there are very limited amounts of skills, and the only thing that can make the game feel different is... well, the legendary skills that come with legendary equipment.
Grim Dawn's story is very dark, and well, grim. Set in the dark world of Cairn, where a once proud and powerful empire was brought to its knees and the human race was driven to near-extinction. Humans came into contact with these extra-dimensional beings, called the Aetherial. These Humans managed to create a portal to lure these Aetherial beings in and trap them, which led to them experimenting on them. Though experimentation, they learn that these beings, are made up of a type of spiritual energy, that had the ability to possess, and control, the human mind. These experiments continued for many years until hundreds of Aetherial Beings escape and create total havoc amongst Cairn. They began to bring in Aetherial Obelisks that slowly begin to terraform Cairn, these obelisks are needed in order to survive and prosper in their new found world. You are a survivor of the Aetherial Influence, you were once possessed, yet the lingering effects of control have given you powers and strength that are beyond that of a normal human being. This is the start to a long, and dark Journey, as you fight off the Aetherial war that has ravaged your homeland.
Multiplayer is still a fairly large part of Grim Dawn, as it is the only way (at the moment) to trade items, or to assist friends with levelling a brand new character. The way multiplayer is setup is through hosted games, and from the various tests I ran I found it works fairly well. Crate Entertainment have put together stable servers where you can find many hosted games ranging from boss fights, to power levelling right through to Nemesis farming.
Grim Dawn's variety of items comes strongly from its Faction feature. There are currently four main factions, each having a variety of benefits, ranging from augmentations on weapons and armour, to a set of equipment that is based off certain elemental damage types found within the game. The Faction feature has a reputation system where the more reputation you have with a certain Faction, the more higher tier items you have access to from that particular faction. You can gain reputation by doing bounties, quests, or kill the opposing enemy of said faction.
There are, of course, enemy factions, which are largely made up of monsters in Grim Dawn, as you kill said monsters, your reputation with them decreases, and eventually, the monsters from those Factions spawn much more difficult enemies, the most difficult is the Nemesis Monster or Boss, which provides you the hardest challenge within the game. Many players use the multiplayer feature to party up in the battle against Nemesis monsters as the battles prove the most difficult challenge in the game, the risk is still high but the reward of high tier loot is more than worth the fight.
Crate Entertainment has done an amazing job with the art and sound for this game. The sound itself is quite unique, the satisfying explosive sounds as you blast through your enemies, the audible *crunch* as you whack-a-mole your enemies... nothing makes me more happier to cast an incredibly powerful spell against a mob of enemies, hear a tonne of explosions, and see all this loot on the ground... its a great feeling. The graphics are fantastic, the dynamic weather system ties in seamlessly with the Grim Dawn world, the impressive depth of field, menacing creatures, or even candles on the ground, is simply beautiful.
Crate have already confirmed an expansion in the near future, and, sometime this month, or next, there will be a nice little content update that the community is very eager for!
Be sure to check out all the latest Grim Dawn news via their official website.
Overall Rating 4 out of 5
-1 Point for the Following 2 Reasons:
1) There is no end game, yes there are dungeons (only 2), here's hoping the mods improve this.
2) Optimization can be tricky, my usual 60fps drops between 20-40 when alot is happening on screen. Overall performance is alright, just some hiccups here and there.