Have you ever been on a great run in Darkest Dungeon but started to feel sorry for the countless minions you have destroyed along the way? I mean why can’t the endless horrors of the dungeon just take over the world? Is that asking too much? Well, if you have wanted to see the underdogs achieve victory finally then Iratus: Lord of the Dead is here for you.
Iratus, a dark necromancer, had dreams of conquering the world, but some meddling heroes managed to seal him away. Given time, and the error of a few grave robbers, Iratus finds himself given a second chance at destroying the world of mortals. With only a few minions it’s up to him to destroy those who oppose them and gather the broken pieces of the humans to craft more minions. A necromancers work is never done.
In this rogue-like dungeon exploration RPG you will have to use the resources collected from a battle to craft new minions to continue working your way along an over world map. Having a overview of the world between combats is great to try and aim your way towards some extra treasures or events. The events are one of the more unique parts of exploring the dungeons as they provide a little story point and a simple choice. Sometimes these go your way for extra bonuses, sometimes they can hurt your team or provide other setbacks. Either way they are entertaining.
The combat is the same 4 against 4 combat of something similar to Darkest Dungeon. There are two types of attacks your minions can use to tear down their opponents. You can do physical attacks to rend their bodies apart, or you can do stress attacks to tear down their sanity. All abilities will work in these two types of damage and can definitely alter how you build your four minion teams around a strategy of sanity damage and physical damage.
Managing to scrape your way through a battle will also garner some experience points for your minions that participated which allows you to level them up as well and unlock new abilities in their skill tree. You can also use some brains collected through the game to instantly level up a particular minion, which comes in very hand if you run low on minions further into a run.
On top of making existing minions stronger you can also upgrade the components you collect after battle by combining them into higher quality components that will bestow the newly crafted minions with extra bonuses and abilities. This means you’re always balancing creating more new minions with creating a fewer higher quality ones.
The choices of your minions becomes very important. When a minion falls in combat they are gone for good. It may not matter how many high-quality minions you’ve crafted, or how high you’ve leveled them if you get careless in combat or have a team that doesn’t mesh together well. It puts an emphasis on strategy and team composition.
You also have the ability to build new structures into the crypts where you arose from. This allows you to assign extra minions to buildings to passively gain you more resources or experience between battles, although it consumes some of your minions to create and upgrade the structures. It always helps to have a few extra bodies to build with, as all good necromancers do.
Overall, even in its early stage, Iratus is shaping up to be something unique even though it takes clear inspiration from other games. The myriad options you have for leveling up, improving your army, and traversing the dungeons have me coming back for more. This will certainly be one to watch during its early access development.
Note: A digital code was provided by the publisher for the purpose of previewing this game. Any code or product intended for preview is distributed to the team to preview and stream for our audience.
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