Rosy-Fingered RNG: Grim Dawn Act II Arrives

There was a time when I found ARPGs exciting, my buttocks glued to the tiny swivel-stool before the one-armed bandits of Diablo II and Titan Quest, hoping that they would spew shiny loot into my lap. In recent years I’ve managed to shake the habit. I poked at Diablo III for a while but kept my distance and even though I enjoyed Path of Exile in its early days, I haven’t felt compelled to revisit its blighted shore. Grim Dawn tempts me though. My memories of Titan Quest have become rosier than dawn’s fingers and Alec’s impressions of the team’s long-awaited follow-up were pleasing. Act II of the Early Access release is now available, and it introduces choice and consequence.

If you don’t trust my word about the introduction of dramatic choices, perhaps the developers can convince you:

Act II showcases the consequences of choice. Desperation has driven human survivors to extremes and nothing is what it seems. Tough decisions will leave significant impacts upon the world. Strangers on the road, families, and even entire villages may live or perish based on the player’s actions.

With the development of Grim Dawn, Crate Entertainment is adamant about giving players true replay value; not a glorified loot-grinder. In Grim Dawn, players will find quests with game-altering choices, a powerful dual-classing skill system, secret areas to uncover and new challenge dungeons where enemies grow stronger the deeper you delve.

It’s a tempting proposition, particularly if the combat has the weighty oomph that I crave.

Truth be told, I didn’t grow out of ARPGs at all. I discovered that Soldak had shattered the apparent constraints of the genre and I’ve found it hard to step back inside the box.


  1. daphne says:

    I gotta agree with the comment re: Drox Operative. It’s not even a particularly standout game… each of its systems are really too simplistic on their own but the sum remains really compelling for some reason.

    Excited for this too. Though I would have preferred more PoE coverage overall, they are doing great things with F2P.

    • derbefrier says:

      Drox Operative is one of those games that i love the idea behind and even enjoy playing but for some reason it doesn’t give that “i wanna put 1000 hours into this game” feeling that other arpgs give. I think its the sense of progression being its practically a sandbox and no structred story just random quests there really is none. I do play a few hours here and there though but I have never made past level 15 or so I just get bored.

      • DatonKallandor says:

        Drox makes the mistake of locking the more interesting equipment behind higher player levels. It takes way too long to get away from railgun/laser/missile launcher and into hangars, flak cannons, virus uploads, tesla fields and stealth backstabs.

        It’s also missing skill trees – one of the big draws of ARPGs.

        • Dominare says:

          This is all true, plus the fact that the netcode was pretty awful so multiplayer was a PITA. To be fair though, the latest version has made vast improvements in that particular area.

  2. Stellar Duck says:

    A Homer reference/pun in my gaming news? Splendid!

    Good work Adam!

    • Harlander says:

      Unfortunately, I can’t perceive a “rosy-fingered dawn” reference without thinking of Garth Merenghi’s Darkplace.

  3. Minsc_N_Boo says:

    You should really give PoE another look. The first “mini-expansion” goes live on 05/03/14. There have been so many updates though (usually every 2 weeks) that the game will have changed a lot since open beta.

    • derbefrier says:

      yup its come a long way even since OB if he hasn’t played since before that he should really give it another shot. Its a great game and has improved quite a bit in the last year or so.

  4. Jim Rossignol says:

    Grim Dawn is great.

    • gschmidl says:

      Agree entirely. I also previously disliked Path of Exile but tried it again over the weekend, and it too is a lot better than it used to be.

    • Lemming says:

      I backed it, on the strength of Titan Quest, and I can’t wait to play it…but I will. I’m not touching it until it’s finished!

  5. AngoraFish says:

    I’m a backer. Still going to wait for the final release, however.

    • Moraven says:

      Same here. I thought about backing pre Kickstarter but waited. I finally backed once they went to KS, on the premise of the missus and I co-oping Titan Quest through all 3 difficulties. I experimented with various class combos to lv 20 or so, but did not feel compelled to play through it more than once.

    • Carra says:

      Same here. I don’t see the fun in alpha testing a game, only to have to replay through it all on release.

  6. derbefrier says:

    love the look of this and titan quest was lots of fun. Waiting for the final product before i buy it though.

    • Darth Gangrel says:

      I’m also waiting for it to come out of early access. This and Divinity: Original Sin are two games that look great, that I’ve followed from the (kick)start, but that I’m still waiting for. Even if I didn’t have a huge backlog, my dislike for uncompleted products would keep me from getting it. I want all of it or none of it.

  7. hemmingjay says:

    Grim Dawn plays great and is punishingly hard at times, which is essential to motivating in an ARPG but it has a distinct lack of charm and rich atmosphere that was present in Titan’s Quest and other major AAARPGSs(see what I did there?).

    I like the game but I never can play longer than 90 mins without boredom creeping in from the periphery.

    • Freud says:

      The graphics are a bit dark and monsters don’t stand out properly, so it’s more straining to play than it should be.

  8. Moraven says:

    You really should look at trying D3 2.0. While most of the updates beforehand added a lot to the game and made it better, 2.0 overall makes the game enjoyable for any variety of gripes people had with it at release. Even if you do not buy Reaper of Souls for the class, lv 61 ability, Adventure Mode, blood shards, imperial gems, Mystic, the base game is still solid on its own.

    While I wish Grim Dawn was ready, it will work out that their release is distanced from Reaper of Souls launch.

    • Slabs says:

      I’ve been back playing D3 this week after the patch, it certainly feels like a better game for the changes they’ve made. They’ve perhaps gone a bit overboard on giving out legendary and set items so often, but I understand why they’ve done it. The whole thing is definitely set up to sell Reaper Of Souls though, something I’ll be waiting on after being burned by initial release.

      Excited for the PoE “mini expansion” though, first time I’ll be in at the start of the 4 month ladder so I might try my hand at working the trading system to get Orb rich!

      • Baines says:

        Selling Reaper of Souls is obviously part of it, but after so many disgruntled fans started calling the console ports the best version of the game, Blizzard pretty much had to do something to win back some PC fans.

  9. mr.ioes says:

    I’m waiting for a full release of this game and I can already see me end up not buying it because I know other people have played it to death already and there’s nothing to really discover anymore.

    • Moraven says:

      The problem with EarlyAccess/Beta for non sandbox games. Give it a short play, leave some feedback, report a bug and then wait. I know if I played a lot of Reaper of Souls beta I would be burnt out when it finally is released. Same with Grim Dawn and awaiting its full release.

      • DatonKallandor says:

        The console port IS the best version of the game. A far better control scheme (that would be childs play to port to the PC and supplant the inferior one they’ve got now) , a far better loot balance thanks to no auction house (I got more uniques in the first act of my first D3 console character than I got in the entirety of my D3 PC days – which is to say more than ONE) and most importantly – it’s not always online.

  10. Katreyn says:

    I stopped play Grim Dawn to avoid playing it to death before its finished. Have to say I still love the combat in it more then a lot of other ARPGs lately. Even if its not distinctly different. I do agree that it doesn’t seem, at the moment, to hold that keen draw that Titan Quest had. But I think it will always struggle with that, because the story of Grim Dawn isn’t distinctly different from usual ARPGs in story, at least so far. Titan Quest had a unique world, using something different then usual (why it remains my favorite to this day I suppose).

    PoE I have played since closed beta and enjoy it. But at the end of the day I can’t help but feel kind of bored of it. Or tired of it. I like the game and the complexity, just hate my luck with gear and can’t justify buying from players cause I don’t like doing that in ARPGs. :P

    Still can’t justify touching D3/Reaper of Souls. After what I saw with beta I am not impressed. Does not offer what I need for the pricetag. I can still get my ARPG fill with games half the price.

    I haven’t read much about Drox Operative, and I’m intrigued after reading the article. Not sure how it will sit with me, even if I do like space games.