At PAX West 2017, I had the opportunity to watch a developer play through a segment of Dark Souls-inspired third-person shooter Immortal: Unchained. I know, I know, all we do as games writers is say everything is the Dark Souls of X or this game is like Dark Souls, but this game is unabashedly heavily influenced and inspired by the inescapable From Software title.Likening the game to Dark Souls seems fitting, as many of the same systems exist, such as leveling up and allocating skill points, difficult combat that threatens to rid you of collected resources if you can't get back to your body, various requirements to wield weapons, shortcuts like kicked-down ladders to help you get around levels easier, bonfire-esque checkpoints, and of course, giant bosses. No word yet on multiplayer elements, though.
The demo began by showcasing the third-person gunplay, which can be facilitated by locking on to opponents and letting loose with all kinds of weapons, from pistol-style popping to armor-piercing AR shots.Of course, the enemies have ranged weapons as well, and there's very little room for error, as demonstrated by the demoing dev being slaughtered several times in the first few battles. Enemies are often in hard-to-reach locations sporting laser shields for protection (which you can use as well if you get behind them), and it only takes a couple of shots to put the player down. The world is also littered with traps, but they're not all bad - you can use them against the enemies with some careful positioning and planning, and you can even get enemies to shoot each other if you battle carefully. The player also has access to grenades and other useful consumable items.
The sci-fi backdrop is a weird one, lots of electric devices and strange colors emanating from giant mechanical outcroppings - lots of brightly colored metal. While the game is quite focused on gun battles, the player also has access to a melee weapon that can dish out heavy damage to anyone close. The developer cut up several enemies with a sword and smashed a few others with a pair of maces. After unlocking a few shortcuts, leveling up a few times, and equipping a new weapon, it's time to take on the boss of this area.
A classic archetype, the boss is a heavily armored knight-like figure. A huge shield prevents most fire from hitting him, and the boss appears with two bars on the screen. The first bar is familiar, a red bar representing health. The second bar is blue, and it shows you how much punishment you have to dish out to the boss in order to stagger it so you can inflict some real damage. The boss destroyed the dev multiple times, with a insane death beam that shoots out of his shield after he plants it in the ground and with a lunging attack with a long, pole-arm-esque weapon. Yeah, he looked pretty tough.
I liked what I saw, but it's way too early to tell if Immortal: Unchained will deliver the Souls-esque experience (with third-person shooting). Immortal: Unchained is coming to Xbox One, PS4, and PC.