By Kieron Gillen on May 6th, 2008 at 6:37 pm.
Gamesradar decided to avoid going straight to the sexy and have repurposed my PC Gamer review of GameTunnel’s Indie RPG of 2007 and lobbed it online. I start like this…
At the time of writing, Iron Lore, makers of Titan Quest, have just gone bust. A THQ Creative Director put the blame pretty firmly at the feet of software piracy. While it’s easy to sympathise – there’s nothing funny in hundreds of thousands of people playing a game for free while its makers run into financial difficulties – you can’t help but think if Iron Lore had actually displayed even a fraction of the imagination this indie action-RPG does, they’d still be here today. With Depths of Peril, the only element in the game that doesn’t display vision and quiet confidence is its somewhat underwhelming name.
And continue for about 450 or so words. Some after-match editorial gubbins beneath the cut.
Well, kind of regret the opening, if only for a speaking ill of the dead fashion. Walker will jump in to give the other side, I’m sure, but I simply didn’t like Titan Quest and can barely remember anything about my ten or so hours with it. It’s theme a little. Something with the camera I liked. And… that’s it. But the truth is, the only way for a developer to actually make a real degree of money is to take a risk and try something new (The Sims, Half-life) or at least execute an idea something well which was never executed well before (World of Warcraft). Cloning one of the most polished games of its time, minus some of its better functions… well, it leaves nothing, not even memories.
Conversely, Depths of Peril is the sort of thing which you could wind me up and just let me jabber about indefinitely. This review, for a single page in PC Gamer, plays it straight to fit in the space, but it’s the sort of thing which would entirely support an Adventures of Violent Trevor-esque piece. It’s an enormously dense game in terms of strategic decisions – which is the thing which would alienate some RPGers – quests exist to be solved or destroy you rather than just existing as a means to get XP, as in most games. That ticking clock before a hero monster recruits a mob of fellows and then ends up leading a raid on a village… well, it’s putting you in a situation where the decisions have weight and meaning. It captures the sense of a besieged and beknighted settlement better than any other Action-RPG I’ve ever played.
My other reservation is I wish I’d used a different word than “Solid” to describe its mechanics. I was trying to imply that worksmanlike robustness of an RPG – not a criticism, but not a major recommendation either. But “Solid” implies “Polished” a little too much. It’s not hyperslick. It’s functional. And, with everything that Depths of Peril offers, it’s more than enough.
The demo’s lets you play up to level 7 and is 70Mb in size, and is available here. The full version’s available in the terribly fashionable digital download format.