The lights are on
Fall's upcoming Gauntlet reboot seeks to make the
classic dungeon crawler relevant again while still maintaining its classic
charm. Though Arrowhead hasn't delved too deeply into an existing IP with a
legacy like Gauntlet's, its solid Magicka and what we've seen of the upcoming
Helldivers, show that the indie developer is up to the task.
For those unfamiliar with Gauntlet, the original
1985 release set a precedent for dungeon crawling action experiences. We had
the chance to look at the four characters you can play in the action/RPG.
This demo was played with an Xbox 360 gamepad on PC.
would give all my gold for a stake of boar." Expect to hear
that quite a bit if you take up the axe of Thor. With no ranged attacks to
speak of, enemies need to be taken down up close and personal. His light attack
allows you to swipe quickly, administering a number of hits in quick
succession, capable of killing the weakest of enemies handily. His heavy
attack, while not useful against hordes of foes, is more than apt for taking
down stronger single-enemy types.
When surrounded by a large group of undead, pressing
B to activate his special spin attack is the way to go, launching Thor into a
whirlwind of pain and destruction against the undead. He may be the strongest
hero hit for hit, but his style of combat may result in him needing more food
than the others. As Thor hits hard, you wouldn't expect this pile of muscle to
be agile. By aiming the right stick, however, Thor can charge up a dash that
allows him to run through enemies. If the fight gets to be a little much or if
you are trying to quickly get to the end of a dungeon and don't have the time
to fight, the dash allows him to shove by enemies unharmed.
If Thor is too brash of a melee character for you,
then it may be in your interest to take a look at Thyra. Her light attack is
similar to that of Thor, though it's a bit faster and a bit weaker. Still, she
is more than capable of dispatching the weakest of beasts with single hits.
When fighting stronger enemies, or worse yet summoning stones, you will need to
enforce different strategies than Thor.
Her heavy attack is excellent when trapped in a
corner. It deals massive amounts of damage and causes her to dash through
enemies, emerging more or less safe. It isn't very effective against strong
single enemies, though, as those may best be left to the powerful Thor. Her
special move is a shield throw that bounces off enemies as well as walls and
objects. It wasn't the most handy of abilities in that it never saved my life
(the dash was more effective in that regard), but it was a good and quick
ability that could take down multiple enemies at once.
By aiming the right stick, Thyra raises her shield
in front of her. This blocks all damage from oncoming strikes, including ranged
attacks. If a zombie attempts to hit you with his sword and you block him, he
will be knocked back a decent distance away and will be stunned, allowing you
to move in for the kill. Stronger enemies are stunned for less time, though,
which is an important distinction to make when devising battle strategies.
Merlin is the most difficult and the most rewarding
class. He has nine spells at his disposal, all of which are powerful and useful
in certain situations. Since there are so many, there probably won't be just
one single spell you will use in every given situation. Learning when which
spells work the best is what makes Merlin the most complex character to play.
standard fireball. Hits a single enemy and deals a moderate amount of damage
and shoots relatively fast.
long non-stop ice beam. It's slow to move around, but eats through an enemy's
health faster the longer the beam rests on a single target.
surrounds himself with an electric bubble that bounces melee enemies back and
deals a small amount of damage.
icicle shots that pierce enemies hitting lines of foes. You can shoot many of
these at once but the individual shots are relatively weak.
spiraling fire blast. The power is also weak and travels through enemies, but
it forces them to catch fire easily and deals damage over time.
fires a barrage of five or six small lightning balls. These are moderately
powerful and Merlin can shoot them at a decent speed making this a strong
attack to use against hordes of monsters.
you're ever at a point when you're facing ten or fifteen enemies, get them in a
bunch and use this giant fire blast spell. It's very powerful and capable of
taking multiple enemies out at once with one strike but it's slow to recharge.
your inner Sith lord with this Force lightning-esque spell. The range isn't
very long, but it shoots fast and can kill many enemies with one hit. It's a
very powerful ability but is balanced by being slow to recharge.
slow casting speed and the fact that this spell does no damage on its own makes
it difficult to find a use for it, but it may have its upside. Casting it
results in a large and slow ice ball that travels through a number of enemies
before dissipating, freezing them. Unfortunately, being frozen doesn't do any
damage and they only remain frozen for a short window of time.
One issue that I ran into with Merlin is the auto-target.
During certain points, a stone would appear that summoned more enemies as time
went by, making it imperative to destroy it. But as I aimed my magic at the
obelisk, the spells went for the nearest monster, missing the summoning stone,
even though it was a more or less clear shot and the spell was aimed directly
at it. I would need to get very close to the stone to prevent this from
happening which often resulted in my getting pummeled by enemies.
Despite Merlin having the most abilities at his
disposal, Questor felt like he had the most useful abilities, resulting in
possibly the most accessible character in the game. Players who grasp his bow
will be treated to a twin-stick shooter-like gameplay experience. Using the
left stick to move and the right stick to fire and rotate allows Questor to
fire multiple arrows per second in any direction the action is. Though the
arrows are fast and many get launched in quick succession, they are relatively
Questor also features a roll move, allowing him to
tumble through enemies without taking damage. The roll also doesn't require any
noticeable recharge, either. If after shooting at a horde you get backed into a
corner, simply tap B to roll until you're at a safe distance to start shooting
again. However, since the arrows don't do a lot of damage on their own, you can
save time by pressing LT. This drops a bomb that explodes after a few seconds,
capable of killing a large number of undead in a single blast. For the stronger
single-type enemies with more health, you may resort to using the charge shot.
By holding RT, you charge a powerful arrow capable of killing most common
ground troops in a single accurate hit.
The four playable characters in Gauntlet all have
advantages and disadvantages that serve to suit any sort of playstyle.
Arrowhead is pulling out all stops in their attempts to revitalize the classic
series for the modern age. Gauntlet is set to release on PC on September 3. Be sure to read our previous hands-on with the title.
Email the author Dimitri Gedevanishvili, or follow on Twitter, and Game Informer.
Bring this to consoles now!!!
It looks interesting, but I'm a little disappointed if they only have the 4 main classes. One of my favorite thing about some of the Gauntlet games I have played is having a plethora of characters, many of them hidden.
Also, Wizard totally needs a button you can hold to override auto aim.
PS4? If not then enjoy guys.