18 Minutes Of Heaven: Grim Dawn Alpha Footage

Grim Dawn, the action RPG that grew from stirring the ashes of Titan Quest in a Kickstarter crucible, has been relatively quiet. Unlike bigger, bolder games, developers Crate Entertainment took the cash of the crowd and then retreated into the warm, dark embrace of their community. The last video the team released was a year ago, and the website is basically a frame for their Twitter feed. There’s no harm in that, but it does mean the game dropped off the map a little. I’d basically forgotten it existed. But I’ve been recently reminded, because the game jumped out at me wearing a t-shirt that reads “I’m With Stupid”, though “With” and “Stupid” are crossed out, replaced with “In” and “Alpha”. Get better marketers, guys!

It’s a big day for a game that’s been crowd-funded to finally be handed over to the community. After all, they’re invested in the quality of the game. Grim Dawn went live via Steam this week, so now it’s in the hands of everyone that pledged at that tier. And, what do you know, they’ve already been making videos. I’ve managed to find one without any commentary over it, so you get to see the character creation and some early action without me having to worry about the player dropping bad language and uncomfortable views about marriage laws. Thanks for the silent approach, RicHSAD2.

Anyone in? What do you think of the game thusfar? We have a hands-on preview coming on Monday.


  1. unguided says:

    I have the alpha and really like it. Got some humorous views here if you’re interested:

    link to wasder.net

    • apocraphyn says:

      Ahh. I said the Diabolical word. Post got nuked, what a shame.

      To summarise what I had previously put into several paragraphs: I’m also in alpha, game is decent, plays like a reskinned Titan Quest, soundtrack is surprisingly good, there are three current character archetypes available of melee, ranged and wizard, playing as an Occultist with a magical raven perched on one hand and a pistol gripped in the other is entertaining.

      All in all, yes. From what I’ve seen of it thus far, I can say that the game is Crate.

  2. mondomau says:

    I only backed this at standard level, meaning I only get access once it goes on general release. Had I know I would have to wait this long, I would have paid the extra £15 or whatever. Dammit.

    EDIT: Ugh. Pistols. Oh well, still looks miles better than you-know-what by you-know-who.

    • unguided says:

      You can still buy into the alpha at the website.

      • mondomau says:

        Oh yeah. Problem is that I’d effectively be paying twice for the game. Oh well, guess I’ll just have to be patient…

        • unguided says:

          I think they’re granting refunds if you write in. Explain that you want to purchase a higher tier. Just a suggestion.

          Also they’ll have it on the humble store soon, there you might be able to upgrade.

  3. pakoito says:

    Games locked at 30fps is the reason my gaming rig costed $1500.

    • byteCrunch says:

      Really? The recording is at 30fps, I am pretty certain that is his capture software’s indicator.

      Titan Quest ran at 60fps, this game uses exactly the same engine.

    • Koshinator says:

      If you’re putting a vid on youtube, it’s useless to record at higher than 30fps… YT vids are all 30fps.

      Trust me, it runs beautifully on my machine :)

    • nrvsNRG says:

      according to the msi afterburner overlay its not capped.

    • DrGruu says:

      fps is overrated. DVDs only play at 25…
      30 is plenty for the human eye

      • basilisk says:

        Yeah, and quick pans of the camera are always jerky as hell. 25 is enough to maintain the illusion, but 60 fps is quite objectively better. It’s diminishing returns from there upwards, but 30 really is a bit low if the technology can do more (which it certainly can in the case of videogames).

      • lucky jim says:

        Do people still legitimately believe this nonsense?

        • pakoito says:

          The same people who can’t tell the difference between video streaming and 720p mkv files.

      • engion3 says:

        No. I instantly can tell if a game drops below a constant 60.

    • shogs says:

      The game isn’t locked at 30fps… fraps on my desktop has it running between 90-120 FPS…

  4. barichnikov says:

    I also streamed 2 hours of gameplay here: link to twitch.tv

    I played soldier / occultist, and it’s getting to be a lot of fun after the first hour. I love the skills and progression. I think it’s nothing revolutionary, but it’s Titan Quest, enhanced, and in an awesome setting. What’s not to love really?

    • Grey Poupon says:

      Does it also lack procedural generation like Titan Quest did? And D3 to a degree.

      • shaken says:

        The world is not procedurally generated, but they are doing more of a quest hub style of gameplay, where you have the central Burrwitch Prison town, and you venture out from there to do some quests, finish those which open a new area, and so on. I believe there is some “rebuilding the town” action too.

        • Lacero says:

          but there are random elements.

          link to grimdawn.com

          There are preset blockages that can be on or off so it’s not always identical. It’s not as good as a full random map though of course.

          • shaken says:

            Ah yes I forgot about the randomized paths. Thank you for pointing that out.

      • barichnikov says:

        More random than TQ (which had 0% randomness). The random is within really clear bounds though. I didn’t mind, but it might pose problem to some.

      • Spoon Of Doom says:

        I wrote a long, detailed post explaining why I feel that randomly generated maps are only good for roguelikes and don’t add much to click-marathon games like this, all while clarifying that this is only my opinion of course and that I don’t look down on people who think it’s important.
        Then the comment system ate it without any kind of error message or something like that. If you excuse me, I have to go sit in a corner and be a sad panda now.

  5. Danny says:

    The feedback on their forum is quite positive, with people applauding Crate on the atmosphere and mechanics.

    Personally I’m mostly interested in how open the world will be, espescially with the different factions that Crate promised during their pitch. If they can deliver on that with decent combat mechanics on top, it’s an instant buy for me.

  6. Kaira- says:

    I hope it turns out good, or at least better than Titan Quest, which while had solid mechanics managed to bore my mind out.

    • Ultra Superior says:

      Get out.

    • shrewdlogarithm says:

      I’m with Kaira – it was pretty but it was also pretty boring…

      We also have that Van Helsing based ARPG just around the corner (out next week on Steam – already available as a Beta on the developer’s site) – looking OK for the cash…

      Then there’s PoE – arguably meaning we don’t NEED another ARPG

    • HexagonalBolts says:

      Titan quest was unbearably boring and repetitive

      • Spoon Of Doom says:

        Take that back! Take it back now! Leave Titan Quest aloooooone! *cries*

        But seriously, I actually loved the game, and it was the sole reason I backed Grim Dawn back in 2010 when “backing” was still called “preordering”. Shows how much people’s tastes differ.

      • HexagonalBolts says:

        For me it was just clicking on endless numbers of identical monsters with nothing beyond the most basic and stereotypical plot, items, enemies or scenery.

        I love some of the more prominent roguelikes (TOME, Stone Soup, Rogue Survivor) for the originality of their concepts (e.g. in TOME a character whose abilities allow them to bend time and who use up a reserve of paradox which can increasingly destabilise the world around them) and an abundance of distinct cool items. I wish ARPGs and things like the Elder Scrolls series would take a thing or two from them.

    • Knufinke says:

      I would say that most arpgs are unbelievably repetative that’s kind of a fault by design.

      I’ve played 3 hours of Grim Dawn already and can say this, the really tight broody atmosphere and the high pace combat makes it much more interesting than TQ for me.

    • golem09 says:

      I like action rpgs, but I found Titan Quest to be very boring indeed. Not a single exciting skills to use.
      Grim Dawn is completely different in that regard. I played the gunclass in the alpha version, and had LOTS of fun with it. Faster gameplay, more and better monsters, a good mix of skills with and without a cooldown to mix combat up. Good item mods, enhancing gear by sticking stuff of dead monsters on it, and a surprisingly open map. It just got bigger and bigger, and then underground stuff popped up.
      I restrained myself from playing much further, because I’d rather enjoy the full version, but I am definitely more excited than before.

      • Ultra Superior says:

        You played TQ wrong.

        • golem09 says:

          I didn’t. It’s just not something I have fun with.

          • Ultra Superior says:

            You said there were no exciting skills. There were some amazing skills and their combinations – I suspect you haven’t discovered them. Not anyone’s fault, though.

          • Hmm-Hmm. says:

            @UltraSuperior: Not quite. It is the dev’s fault for not making clear what skills fit with player’s playstyle. Unnecessary obfuscation.

        • limimi says:

          I wouldn’t go that far, but there are some amazing skills. My go to favourite for friends who hadn’t played was Dream – the physics and design of the distortion wave is gorgeous and watching satyrs ragdoll across the screen always won them over.

      • elmo.dudd says:

        TQ has a lot of mundane but functional skills, as well as more interesting ones. It is easy to play the game very conservatively, focusing on things that increase survivability or passive buffs to everything – but there is a lot of room to stretch your legs. It could have done more to encourage said stretching though…

  7. Oconnell says:

    I have to say that it looks like quite an amount of assets have been recycled from Titan Quest. Just by having a first look I can see many UI elements being exactly the same with the exception of the colours and the main character’s animations are exactly the same as those of the main character in TQ, which were bad to begin with. I hope they’re just placeholders (the animations). On further examination I have to say the gameplay looks just like TQ’s, which for is a good thing but I just hope they don’t pretend to do a clone of TQ just with a different world and quest.

    • Knufinke says:

      The UI is very clunky at the moment. I doubt it’s somehting you will see in the final game.

    • Moraven says:

      It is the Titan Quest engine, but heavily enhanced and updated. They got a whatever they want to do license for it from THQ.

    • Rhis says:

      FYI approximately zero of the assets have been recycled from TQ. The only thing the same is the engine, and it has been heavily modified.

      • Oconnell says:

        I don’t know where does your information come from, but even if you were a developer yourself I’d say you’re completely wrong. The animations on the character are EXACTLY the same. At least for running/attacking with the first weapon seen in use, that is the mace/club. And as I said, a simple comparison picture between the 2 games character screen will show it’s identical in many aspects. I am not talking about the meshes, models or world assets in general as those are clearly new, and very polished by the way.

        • Rhis says:

          The animations are new. They may be slightly similar in as much as there are only so many ways to stand idle or swing a club, but they aren’t recycled. Our deal for the TQ engine didn’t include any of the TQ assets as the IP itself is owned by THQ, so obviously nothing was reused.

          The rigs on the models aren’t even the same, so stating that the animations are identical is a bit ridiculous.

        • Ninja Foodstuff says:

          “I don’t know where you get your information from”

          *checks link on poster’s username*

  8. Spoon Of Doom says:

    I’ve backed the game something like 3 years ago, and I was ecstatic to finally see it hit alpha after so many delays.

    So far, I’m enjoying myself. It’s a bit clunky in some details here and there, but it’s an alpha – you gotta expect some clunkyness there. And overall it makes a very polished impression for such an early build.

    I’m up to level 12 or 13 now, playing as Demolitionist and picked Solder as secondary at level 10, and it’s oddly satisfying to be able to throw grenades at zombies and then shoot explosive bullets from my pistol at them in an RPG instead of only using swords and arrows and boring stuff like that.

    You can definitely see that it was the Titan Quest engine at some point, the style and UI is very similar, but they polished it up quite a bit and on max settings the game looks pretty darn good. I definitely don’t regret buying it and waiting for it, and I’m curious as to how the game will develope.

  9. deadly.by.design says:

    Any chance that this will feature a control scheme that isn’t CLICK–CLICK–CARPAL-CLICK?

    Maybe WASD, or some other alternative?

    • shrewdlogarithm says:

      The Van Helsing ARPG (see Steam – out next week) supports WASD

      It has to, as it DOESN’T have a ‘stand still’ key atm :(

    • Rhis says:

      Yes, there is a control system that involves a lot less clicks and more click and hold.

  10. Screamer says:

    In the Grim Dawn future there is only Zombis

    • Ultra Superior says:

      You found out how? Typed ‘future’ into Noorgle ?

  11. Nick says:

    Its good solid ARPG stuff, exactly what I expected it to be (but prettier and with a great atmosphere) and exactly what I patron supported those many years ago.

  12. Artificial says:

    I don’t understand people who play ARPG’s but complain about grinding and clicking.

    • MentatYP says:

      It’s like playing a rogue-like and complaining it’s too random and unpredictable.

    • derbefrier says:

      because people play them for hundreds of hours without taking a break. It only becomes a grind when they start to get bored with the game and are not having as much fun because of that, but instead of moving on to something else or taking a break like a normal person, they run to the nearest forum and complain about how broken and grindy the game is or if they conquer the game in the same amount of time they will ironically complain its not grindy enough. example: see any current MMO or ARPG forum.

  13. Strangerator says:

    This is looking pretty slick, especially like the minimalist stats combined with sleek skill trees. The soldier ability where every third hit does uber damage at least injected some variation into the “click it till it dies” formula.

  14. The Dark One says:

    I really hope they spend some time choosing a different font for the UI. The typeset they used in Titan Quest (which seems to be unchanged in this Alpha build) was often illegible.

  15. edwardh says:

    FINALLY another gory Action RPG is what I think!! It’s about damn time! I’ve only been waiting for something like this for about 15 years!!

  16. shogs says:

    I’ve put 26 hours into the Alpha already… and it’s unbelievable. Everything I wanted D3 to be and more. I’ve been smiling for two straight days, and can’t stop playing. Amazing game.

  17. Keyrock says:

    I’m playing a pyromancer (demolitionist/occultist) and having an absolute blast. Some minor microstutter issues (widely reported and being looked at) aside, it’s been rock solid, no crashes, no game breaking glitches. The balance isn’t completely there yet, but it’s closer than what I would expect from an alpha build. Really fantastic game so far.

  18. Kein says:

    I do so love me some quest exclamation marks. WoW be blessed!

  19. Gomer says:

    Character “creation”.

  20. Mephistoau says:

    Man I had a legendary pre order of this the second I saw it available (which is a long time ago now). Excited as fuck for this game, from what I’ve seen it’s already light years ahead of the kind of experience Titan quest gave (which like others said, while solid mechanics wise was boring as shit). I wish they’d just hurry up and release it haha