Grimrock 2 Detailed: New Setting, AI, Progression, Day/Night

By Nathan Grayson on January 28th, 2014 at 3:00 pm.

I am a troll on, beneath, or somewhere in the general vicinity of a bridge. You know how this goes.

The original Legend of Grimrock‘s setting was pretty, you know, grim and also predominately made of rocks. But Legend of Grimrock 2? It’s a terrible, terrible lie. The isle of Nex looks like a glorious vacation getaway. With monsters. And traps. And ancient ruins. So the greatest vacation getaway ever, basically. I see a few rocks here and there, but I’m not convinced. Grimness and rocks were the core pillars of the first game – definitely not wicked yet rewarding difficulty, puzzles, character building, and blender-mouthed snail monsters, all of which will be returning in spades in the second. Developer Almost Human has clearly lost its marbles. A Grimrock match-three Facebook casino game can’t be far off.

I am absolutely joking. Legend of Grimrock 2 looks like a sight for every sort of eye, whether sore, flat-out infuriated, or just mildly irritable after a long day at work. In a new blog post Almost Human noted that the island allows for variety in stage settings, so expect to see everything from glistening, dew-soaked woodlands to steamy swamps to dingy dungeons and caves.

Once again, the game will star four prisoners flung into a land of untold horrors against their will, and it’ll be your job to help them live to tell about it. “The story of Grimrock 2 will not be a direct continuum to Grimrock 1,” wrote Almost Human, “but will be a completely new story with new characters that will expand the Grimrock universe.”

In the “Hurrah!” category, monster AI is getting a complete overhaul, so expect plenty of brains to go along with beasties’ considerable brawn.

“One of the few things some reviewers criticized about Grimrock 1 was monster behavior in combat. We have attacked this problem directly and rewritten the monster AI entirely. As a result monsters are now smarter and they know how to use their larger numbers to their advantage. The repertoire of tricks they know has been expanded greatly. For example, some monsters can call other monsters for help and can use group tactics against you. Of course the behavior of monsters depends on their intelligence so the most stupid and most fierce monsters are still, well, fierce and stupid as they should be. And talking of monsters, there will be lots of new monsters with some of the old, familiar faces making an occasional appearance for old times sake.”

They did not, sadly, address our relative ability to talk to the monsters. Awwwww.

Character progression and item systems are also getting completely redone, with a per-level perk-buy system taking the place of skills (“The design goal is make each level up meaningful and at the same time contain a tough choice”) and new secondary powers being added to items.

While there’s a new character class on the way, mages will be pulling quite a few tricks out of their hats as well. Almost Human explained:

“The new spellcasting panel allows mouse gestures to be used to cast spells. Spells are cast by holding the mouse button down while doing a swipe with the mouse on the correct sequence of runes. Talking of magic, the Mage character class has also been redesigned. The requirements to cast spells of different schools have been relaxed so that mages can cast larger variety of spells. In Grimrock 2, mages need not be one trick ponies.”

But enough meaningful details. Time for some HARD NUMBERS. Grimrock 2 will have over a hundred new items, 22 new monsters, one day/night cycle (unless plot twists strand you on another planet or something), and [???] new environments to explore.

There are a few new screenshots over on Almost Human’s page. Go drink them in. Suck the marrow from their bones and know them more deeply than you would the back of your own hand or the billions of frighteningly unsanitary bacteria on your cell phone.

__________________

« | »

, .

61 Comments »

  1. jrodman says:

    But will they take the foolish twitchiness out of the game?

    • Ninja Foodstuff says:

      This was my biggest complaint of the original too. But I very much doubt it will be changed

    • DatonKallandor says:

      They had the opportunity to fix the one problem with Dungeon Master style combat and they screwed it up. All it needs is attack hotkeys, and a “attack with all party members”-button. Implement that (with the option to select which if your attacks you want to link to the button for extra points) and the whole damn problem is SOLVED.

      Fixing the Combat doesn’t mean they need to go turn based, they just need a smarter interface.

      • JamesTheNumberless says:

        But playing with the keyboard for movement, and the mouse for attacking and spells, is good enough already. In Grimrock it’s even faster than in DM. You just need practice and to accept that combat in these games is not about standing in front of your enemy and taking it in turns to hit eachother :) I wish Counterstrike had a shortcut key for aiming at heads and shooting.

      • jrodman says:

        Dungeon Master was decidedly not turn based, but it was definitely *not* twitchy.

        You could argue that the limits of the system dictated the pace of Dungeon Master, with the 8mhz 68k chip, but I don’t really think so. There are some fights late in the game that have some very fast elements but they’re done in a quite calculated way, with some parts fast and some parts slow. Yes, the first couple enemies in Dungeon Master could be defeated by standing still and clicking attack, but it’s not long before they give you must-avoid enemies, they’re just not clickfests. Even late in the game, dodging scorpions, spider-things, and dragons and such requires fast clicking, but it’s a measured on/off requirement, not the constant drain required by Grimrock by dungeon level 3.

        Grimrock, by contrast, makes twitch-reaction necessary by the 3rd type of opponent or so, and pretty much *required* by the time you meet spiders. Dungeon Master was simply a far more flexible, interesting game, that welcomed more players, and rewarded more types of experiences.

        Grimrock rewards crazy-fast clicking. Even in the puzzles! (a shame.)

      • Arona Daal says:

        DM had much slower High-Level Melee Attacks,and large Buttons middle Right .Not Small Buttons lower right like Grimrock.

        Grimrock felt a lot like this:


        I once played a DM Variant (iirc it was a fanmade Overhaul/Remake) which used additional Hotkeys for Melee Attacks and Magic.

        It was something like this:

        Q W E R :selects the Fighter,

        then:
        1. Row down selects Weapon Attack.
        (f.e. : W X executed third Meleeattack of the Second Fighter)

        Or
        2. a Number Combination for Magic.
        (f. e. : R 1 4 4 SPACE for a lvl1 Fireball from the 4th Fighter)

        Movement was controlled via the Numberblock.

        After getting used to that ,it was a *great* Solution allowing full concentration
        on the Main Screen during Fights.

        As most People are right (Mouse-)handed ,a modern Version would probably be better off using Numblock for Attacks/Magic,and QWASDE for Movement/Rotation.
        The Mouse could then be easier accessed (with the right Hand) for fine work,like clicking Wall Buttons,while still maintaining full Party Mobility.

        Grimrocks “Whack-a-Mole” Gameplay forced one to stare at the Attack/Magic Buttons *all the Time* during Fights.
        I hardly knew how the Combat Animations/Enemies looked like.

        Grimrock had its Qualities.
        But i will skip this new one,unless they definitely fix the funkilling User Interface.

        TLDR:
        Grimrock 2 should have Hotkeys/slower Melee Attacks/redesigned User Interface.

  2. Anthile says:

    I imagine the protagonists from the first Grimrock returned to a life of crime, proving once and for all that monster-infested dungeons have incredibly poor recidivism rates.

    • slerbal says:

      Fantastic! :)

    • SillyWizard says:

      +1

      Hopefully the island will have some facilities for mindfulness therapy (and animal therapy!) to address these issues.

    • Viroso says:

      Not my prisoners, for you see, not only did they walk out of there carrying precious gold relics, according to their imagined backstory by me, the monk brawler princess managed to escape, clear her name and take back the throne she will then recruit my former racketeer backstabbing lizard guy as her personal advisor and the former hitman sword fighting minotaur as her personal bodyguard. The magic insect dude Nice Guy Frank, condemned for crimes unknown, will return to the far away insect land and never be heard of again.

  3. RobinOttens says:

    Joking aside, I would like an option to talk to the monsters. It adds a lot of neat options and situations to Shin Megami Tensei’s first person dungeon crawling compared to Grimrock (incidentally the only two games in the genre I ever took a serious stab at).

  4. Koozer says:

    Can we have a non-real-time combat mode? I’m too slow for how it is now and can’t progress :(

    • Synesthesia says:

      it’s kinda the heart of the game, so i think that would defeat its purpose?

      • Moraven says:

        Combat would be perfectly fine turn based. The timed puzzles and what not would need to be reworked.

        • JamesTheNumberless says:

          Maybe it’s just the massive impact that Dungeon Master had on me 26 years ago, but this first-person real-time grid-based malarkey is and always will be the true format of a computer role playing game – it’s certainly the genre with the most hyphens!

          If you want any other kind of RPG then you can play… Well, any other modern RPG!

          Grimrock is special because they are doing the DM/EotB thing and they shouldn’t concede defeat on it, they should keep at it and get it right. I do agree that the combat isn’t perfect but giving up on it and swapping it for an entirely different mode of combat is not what I ever hope to see from them.

          More emphasis on puzzles and more use of monsters as puzzle elements is what I’d love to see. Less emphasis on what every other RPG does. Fewer more meaningful stats, less granular progression and scarcer, more interesting loot.

        • Viroso says:

          Sidestepping, dancing around, getting the timing right, for me, was a big part of what made the combat fun. If it were turn based it wouldn’t be so good, I think. You never really did have many offensive options during battle. The meat of the game was in building/preparing your characters and dancing around the battlefield trying to get the timing just right for your actions.

          • JamesTheNumberless says:

            For a moment I was starting to feel like the only person left who enjoys these games.

          • Unclepauly says:

            Never played any game like this but you guys have convinced me to try it out. Anything that requires timing somehow grabs me. I have to at least try it.

          • Snargelfargen says:

            I definitely got how Grimrock was fun (the spell casting was awesome), but I found the movement unintuitive. I was constantly going one step too far and crashing into walls. This was compounded by the ui becoming unresponsive while moving or, for some unfathomable reason, slowly bumping into a wall. Ended up quitting on level 6 out of frustration. Everything else about the game was great, what a pity.

    • Vinraith says:

      Indeed, as amazing as this looks the real time combat will probably keep me away. Being rushed in a game like this just isn’t any fun, IMO.

    • jrodman says:

      I really think it just needs to drop to around half speed, and it would be fine for almost everyone.

      FWIW, it is a *bit* slower on the easy setting.

  5. Ulaxes says:

    Very good news indeed, I really enjoyed the first LOG. But I hope they get rid of the “find the one small tile that looks slightly different than all the other tiles in the dungeon”-puzzles. It was really annoying to walk along the walls in crab-style to find the small button that toggles the door.

    • BisonHero says:

      I got tired enough of that that I just looked up where all the items were once I was about 50% into the game. Zero regrets.
      If I was 8-years-old again and didn’t have other games to play, sure, I could afford to sink 60 hours into Grimrock, trying to solve all of the extra obtuse puzzles, trying to find all of the tiny bricks on the wall I can press. But I’m not. And if you just take the main path, you never get any of the good armour or weapons, and the later parts of that game are cheap enough without having to deal with a lack of good gear.
      I probably won’t buy the sequel. I just have no nostalgia for this genre, and while the puzzles were cool in an Indiana Jones sort of way, the game was just kind of dull.

  6. Themadcow says:

    Sounds great. Personally I hope they reign in ambition and simply deliver a bigger, prettier and more user friendly version of Grimrock 1, which was a fantastic game in it’s own right. Yeah, I understand people wanting it to turn into a proper RPG… but it aint. It’s Dungeon Master for the 21st century, and it’s a niche that pretty much no other game fills right now.

    • Detocroix says:

      May I recommend Might & Magic X: Legacy.

      It’s a bit more about “in what order I want to use my skill optimized characters” than “I need to react quickly to encounters” of Grimrock, but it’s very interesting none the less. Uglier and not as polished, but still a very good game!

      • Lemming says:

        The huge caveat to your recommendation is of course, Uplay.

        • JamesTheNumberless says:

          To me it would be a small price to pay if M&MX picks up where clouds of Xeen left off in terms of quality. It’s annoying that Ubi don’t just use Steam but you can understand where they’re coming from. Imagine being a competitor of Valve! At least M&MX doesn’t have always-on DRM. A one time activation and having to launch the game though UPlay instead of through Steam, I can live with that – it isn’t any different from what I do when I play through Steam.

          I’m slightly put off by the fact that they’ve set the game in the “Heroes” universe though. A setting that’s famous for its storytelling In the same way that trolls are renowned for their intelligence.

          • BTAxis says:

            I think that has more to do with the game format than with the setting. And in truth, I don’t recall Xeen being that strong on the storytelling side.

          • Shodex says:

            Could be worse, could have been the Clash of Heroes of Might & Magic universe.
            I like anime as much as the next guy who likes anime quite a lot, but it doesn’t have any fitting place in Might & Magic. As convoluted as a franchise as that is. Speaking of, when will we see Dark Messiah of Might & Magic 2?

          • socrate says:

            wow ready gamer idea of a “good game” these days is pathethic M&M10 just feel like a rushed extremely short way to cash in on the success and hype people got from playing grimrock since its pretty much a pure copy paste of grimrock and only kept the look of the might and magic universe…i urge everyone to just go buy M&M7 one of the best in these kind of game and you can see the change if you go through the entire series which show how sad and how M&M10 just feel like 50 step backward instead of pushing it forward…then again coming from ubisoft or their dumb fanboy that doesn’t surprise me.

            I really wish 3DO was still a thing instead of selling out to ubi$oft.

            Then again Grimrock made me remind myself that gaming can still be fun these days and that there is still hope….i wish them the best of luck to bring us an even better experience and now that we won’t be stuck in that damn dungeon it will be like reliving the evolution of this genre again.

          • JamesTheNumberless says:

            7? Seriously? The series was dropped down the toilet in M&M 6. By 9 it had passed through the sewers and was last seen drifting somewhere just off the coast of Belgium.

        • Smoof says:

          In the 12-odd hours I’ve played MMX, I haven’t found uPlay intrusive in the slightest. This coming from a person who has lost numerous Hot Seat HoMM saves due to uPlays horrifically annoying cloud save option.

          I launch MMX from Steam and it opens a brief uPlay launcher and then right into the game without a hitch.

        • XhomeB says:

          It’s totally unintrusive and a non-issue, acts like a simple launcher. Hardly anything worth worrying about. GFWL it isn’t, it works perfectly fine.

          • Lemming says:

            It’s still something that should probably be mentioned if you are going to recommend a game to someone. Fair’s fair, is all I’m saying. I got burned that way with Anno 2070.

          • jrodman says:

            Describing your experience with it: Thanks!
            Stating that it’s a non-issue: Speak for yourself!

  7. JamesTheNumberless says:

    I’m worried by this. It might sound unfair but I still remember the disappointments that were DM2 and EotB3 – which tried and failed to transition from dungeon to outdoors (I know EotB2 has that forest bit but that’s just a dungeon of trees). I hope I’m just being silly because I loved everything about the first Grimrock except for the class based skill trees. I really hope they will address the balance between what matters in a realtime grid based combat system, and what’s in the skill system.

    I still feel that the main reason a lot of RPG fans didn’t appreciate the combat mechanics was the disconnect between the puzzle game and RPG progression. Dungeon Master got this right by hiding most of the RPG side and avoiding classes, races and narrow specialization of characters. Combat in this style of game is a realtime puzzle and not a tactical statfest.

    I must replay the Eye of the Beholder games, because somehow they got the balance right, even lumbered with AD&D rules. I suspect the key was the much slower pace of those games.

  8. Lemming says:

    It looks cool and I can’t wait, however:

    “Spells are cast by holding the mouse button down while doing a swipe with the mouse on the correct sequence of runes.”

    Sounds like a concession paving the way for touch-screens rather than an advancement in design.

    • BTAxis says:

      I rather associated it with the spellcasting system found in Arx Fatalis, which wasn’t a touch-screen game at all.

    • UncleLou says:

      Is my mind playing tricks on me? Wasn’t that how spells were casted in Grimrovk, anyway? You have a point, btw., as I think they had an iOS version planned (of the first one), I am just wondering why it is announced as a new feature.

    • pyroj says:

      This is exactly how the first games spells worked so no, its clearly not. It’s just more of the same.

  9. Alien.Nated says:

    Just hope the combat system will end up being less of an annoying mess/ immersion breaker than before. I really liked the rest.

    • JamesTheNumberless says:

      I can’t imagine anything would break the immersion more than the game pausing and becoming turn-based – or monsters popping up out of nowhere. Isn’t the problem really rather the frustration of putting time and effort into building characters with skills and equipment that don’t actually matter (such as dodge and armour) considering the combat is all about being able to hit and run and/or do ranged damage?

      • Arona Daal says:

        Oh my God. I completely forgot the crappy “Monster out of the Wardrobe” Effect spawning Monsters around you so often. This made the *BOHOOO* Monsters of Doom 3 look well designed.

  10. hurrakan says:

    I have owned Legend of Grimrock for ages but I’ve hardly played it (ouch, 36 minutes according to Steam, maybe I should give it more of a chance). For some reason I don’t seem to like it. And one of my favourite games of all time is Eye of The Beholder 2! Crazy.

    • JamesTheNumberless says:

      Not utterly. I think Grimrock feels much more like Dungeon Master, certainly at the beginning, than like EotB. DM’s dungeon was always a darker, and more oppressive environment and felt less like your typical fantasy setting. Plus EotB had all the awesome familiarity of AD&D and EotB2 especially had an almost perfect sense of progression into the bowels of the game. It didn’t just hit you with a bleak dungeon from the off but lured you in. Grimrock to me is a bit like playing EotB in DM’s dungeon.

  11. GunnerMcCaffrey says:

    You can’t talk to the monsters, but it seems you can interrupt their Pilates class.

  12. XhomeB says:

    I absolutely loved the original, and I’m glad its success not only allowed them to make a sequel, but showed publishers that cRPGs of that type (dungeon crawlers, that is – either inspired by DM or Wizardry etc.) have the right to exists – like Might and Magic X.
    Speaking of M&M X, the combat in this (brilliant, btw!) game is SO GOOD returning to real-time encounters is going to be hard.

  13. huldu says:

    Everything was fine in the original, except the decision to allow movement during combat. It made no sense to me in that type of game so that was a big let down. You might as well make it a normal free roaming if you’re going to allow movement during combat.

    At least m&mx got that right, beside being a horrible release. It should not have been released in the state it’s in. The game just isn’t finished!

    • XhomeB says:

      Umm, what exactly makes you think that it’s “not finished”? I’ve almost finished it and encountered no serious bugs, it’s a surprisingly polished release. A rarity for an cRPG.

  14. RebelSigma says:

    will the levels be randomized this time around?

  15. azrd79 says:

    Does your party still engages in square dancing with the monsters instead of fighting them?

    • JamesTheNumberless says:

      I think the game you actually want to play is Progress Quest.

    • jrodman says:

      Here’s another thing they got wrong in Grimrock that Dungeon Master got right.

      Dungeon Master teaches you to square dance; it practically demands it. And then it takes it away from you again. There’s a point where you’re fighting huge meatheads (purple worms) where going toe toe with them is basically impossible, so you have to hit and run, which can be linear or in the square. This alone offers more variety than Grimrock which makes linear backing up wrong pretty fast.

      But then Dungeon Master gives you monsters who split group and box you in! Or monsters who are stealthy and semi-coordinate to sneak around the other way to make square dancing too dangerous. Or monsters who MOVE FASTER THAN YOU so that running away can’t get you out of trouble even if you do it in a square.

      This means you have to vary your tactics. Sometimes the right things is the brute force of four prepared fireballs (Grimrock spellcasting is also inferior). Sometimes it’s superior movement control or exploits of the dungeon. Sometimes it’s just a matter of going crazy-go-nuts on one enemy, killing it, then retreating and healing up for a while.

      Grimrock missed *all* of this subtlety in their modern game, which made it repetitive and annoying by contrast.

      • Arona Daal says:

        I second that.

        Also using & making Potions was Way better in DM.

        As for the Combat,i wrote a small Novel about that in the first Post.

        On the other Hand :

        Grimrock had more varied Monster Movement,for Example the Scorpion having a tendency to sidestep and attack,or the Ogre to bullrush.

        Also = Graphics and Auto-mapping

        But all in all DM is more fun .

        • JamesTheNumberless says:

          I couldn’t bring myself to play Grimrock with the automap on – I still never have. It takes something essential away from the genre for me, the ability to get lost (and this actually mattering) is essential to the dungeon itself being something the player has to overcome, and not a mere backdrop. Also, the problem with the automap in the M&M games and in DM2 was that it encouraged you to play the game looking at the map more than at the dungeon. One of the best design decisions in Grimrock was allowing you to play it “oldschool”

          Agree about the potion system though. I have still yet to play an RPG with enjoyable “crafting” mechanics. They all have a tendency to end up with far too many ingredients that are far too abundant and you either have to focus on crafting, or ignore it completely so that you don’t clutter up your inventory. This is ok in a game where crafting is the main activity or if there are a few rare things you can craft. But if the system is tedious and/or the rewards aren’t significant, investing time in it and managing your inventory becomes a chore.

Comment on this story

XHTML: Allowed code: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>