Tiles Of Wonder: Legend Of Grimrock 2

Dungeon Master and Eye of the Beholder were like mother’s milk to me, and Legend of Grimrock is like a perfectly muddled gin and tonic. Grimrock’s sequel now has a release date, October 15th, and a new trailer to coincide with the announcement. It shows a variety of enemies and areas, including what appears to be a cannon-wielding pirat(e), as can be seen above. There are also spikes and tile-based puzzles, as the dungeon gods demand.

I remember loading up Dungeon Master II and being amazed that there were outdoor areas. Monsters aside, the original’s visuals were practically greyscale, so dark and dingy were the dungeon corridors. Eye of the Beholder II introduced areas beyond the corridors as well, which makes Grimrock’s trip into the great outdoors seem like part of a dungeon crawling tradition. All grown up and heading into the big wide world.

Grimrock’s island looks like a good place to go adventuring. Games need more islands – natural boundaries, the possibility of glittering blue seas, indigenous wildlife. They are the natural home of Proteus and Far Cry alike.

26 Comments

  1. J. Cosmo Cohen says:

    I hate the sort of paralyzation I get when I game I’m highly anticipating is nearing release. I feel like no game can satiate my hunger for Legend of Grimrock 2, and so I’ll play almost nothing until it’s released. It’s a terrible curse, obviously.

    • Lacessit says:

      Isn’t that the agreed time to mow the lawn and talk to close relatives?

      • Martel says:

        Heresy! That’s when you play the first game through again.

    • Synesthesia says:

      You can say that again. I’m currently in a void of waiting for the release of elite dangerous, friggin prison architect to decide when its feature complete, same for ksp, and this one. God dammit.

      • LionsPhil says:

        I wouldn’t wait for KSP. Despite wearing the Early Access badge of shame, there is easily enough game there that I bought it for what it was ignoring hypothetical future potential, and that was a couple of releases ago. Add mods into it and you can sink a lifetime into it (see Scott Manley’s Interstellar Quest…).

  2. jonfitt says:

    Did anyone play the Ishar games back in the day. The were of this ilk, but had open environments. I remember being amazed that Ishar 3 modeled npcs coming and going from their jobs at shops at night. I gave time of day a meaning aside from the light/dark cycle.

    • MrThingy says:

      I loved the Ishar games. In Ishar 2 there was a great section on an island where you were basically going around a mountainous island and it was really expansive compared to the contained dungeon sequences. I seem to recall you had to purchase rope to not fall off the sides of the mountain.

      I think there’s a little of that magic gone into Grimrock 2. The first game was a wonderful nostalgia trip, as well as just being a brilliant game in it’s own right.

      Can’t wait for Grimrock 2. :)

    • JamesTheNumberless says:

      The Ishar games were great, the first one especially. So many things were done in Dungeon Master for puzzle design and dungeon crawling that subsequent RPGs forgot about or discarded in the effort to reconcile their systems and lore with D&D and other existing tabletop fantasy. Likewise Ishar put so much thought into the mechanics of exploration of the overworld and created such an atmosphere for those parts of the game that all subsequent RPGs save possibly for Morrowind, failed to take cues from. Most of the current generation of “RPG” gamers wouldn’t know the meaning of orienteering or cartography if those words flew out of the dictionary and bored holes in their eyeballs.

    • kalirion says:

      I got the trilogy on GOG, tried the first one, got hopelessly lost, and didn’t come back to it again.

  3. Dante80 says:

    I grew up with games like the EoB series, Dungeon Master, the Bards Tale series, Might and Magic II, Obitus, Lands of Lore, Ishar etc etc on the Amiga. Also, their previous game was pretty good.

    Take my money.

  4. aepervius says:

    Gee Oktober will be the month where everybody wonder if i am dead. Finishing original sin, starting wasteland 2, and queuing grimrock 2…. And more to come in future.

  5. Continuity says:

    Well, continuing my tradition from the EoB, Lands of lore, dungeon master etc. series I didn’t finish The first LoG. So I guess I’ll continue to not finish this one too.

  6. PostieDoc says:

    These people should make a game in the vein of Hired Guns.
    They obviously have the skill to do it.

    Think I’ll go boot up my Amiga.

  7. Big Murray says:

    The sad truth is that strafing round monsters in a grid format game is a boring combat mechanic which died out for a reason, and I guess they won’t do much to address this because of their commitment to being “old school”.

    • ravencheek says:

      I guess somebody never fought the minotaur in LoG1?

    • jrodman says:

      Of course, Dungeon Master was far superior to all its imitators. Dungeon Master had monsters with widely varying movement rates, and you had stamina to limit fast dancing around. So some monsters could be trivially danced around (early game), while others gave no quarter. Others came as groups and would split up to limit your options.

      But few were so punishing as Grimrock foes when making minor errors or going slightly too slow. I mean sure the dragon was. But that was the bossiest boss.

      • JamesTheNumberless says:

        This, also.

        It isn’t the combat system, but how you use it and how it interacts with the rest of the game. Nobody in DM ever wondered how many damage points per second their main fighter could do with his falchion. They were too busy trying to get a fireball off against that rock pile that was blocking the exit before they ended up cornered by the death knights coming in from behind and wouldn’t be able to reach the lever to drop them down the invisible pit in time.

        • JamesTheNumberless says:

          Or finding the exit from the maze full of respawning purple worms before either attrition took its toll, or the entire party died of thirst because the last water fountain was two levels ago.

    • JamesTheNumberless says:

      Either die, or read things and shut up.

      • JamesTheNumberless says:

        I’ll expand:

        The combat system in Dungeon Master was never based around leveling up stats and balancing numbers (like on tax returns… Are you an accountant?) but on the design of the layout of the dungeon. Monsters were few and far between and powerful so that unless you did grind (totally against the spirit of the game but possible) you had to employ the dungeon to your benefit, and unless you were facing one monster in a big square room (bad level design) there was satisfaction in having done so.

        The problem in Grimrock was not that they used the grid based movement system from DM but that they tried to stick on top of this a D&D style system of classes and levels with a WoW style approach to levelling and equipment but keep the game realtime and fast-paced and increase the number of monsters. They needed to give people some payoff from spending points in skill trees and finding powerful equipment and this conflicted with the need to have tight dungeon design, so it led to lots of boring areas with lots of repetitive combat.

        So the issue is not the combat system, but how the system is balanced with the other systems in the game including how it interacts with dungeon/puzzle design.

        But you know this. So instead of continuing to fling this tired old rubbish at grid based RPGs, why not just go and play something that’s more up your alley? Like.. I don’t know.. A spreasheet+flirting simulator like Wow. Or if you’re feeling really hardcore you could check out Microsoft Excel.

        • JamesTheNumberless says:

          And in case my references to D&D have you wondering, I also class EoB as a game that mostly got things right. How they managed it, I’m not entirely sure! They did keep levels relatively low and good gear relatively scarce compared with subsequent games and the overall pace of combat seemed to be well designed, defensive movement was fast but attacks were slow and deadly.

          • JamesTheNumberless says:

            The most satisfying way to play EoB is with a party of randomly rolled halfling fighter-thieves who can’t stand up to more than a couple of hits from a kobold and need to resort to running around and flinging rocks+arrows at the enemies in order to survive combat encounters.

            The least satisfying way to play it is with a party of maxed-out superhumans, who despite their stats will still find it frustrating trying to go toe-to-toe with everything and therefore any amount of defensive running about will feel like cheating in order to win.

            Again it comes down to this. If the player is mostly invested in how powerful their character builds/equipment are then they will be annoyed if this is relatively meaningless compared with use of the environment and sneaky tactics. This is why turn based combat and the focus on leveling and looting go hand in hand with RPGs where there isn’t much to do except move from one combat scenario to another.

            So in a game where mobility is usually the best way to deal with a combat encounter, emphasis on character building and loot is misplaced and inviting the player to focus on these areas is inviting them to be frustrated and then to go and vent on forums about how crap the combat system is.

            It’s understandable because it’s learned behavior. Since the 90s the goal of RPGs has mostly been to max out good numbers and minimize bad numbers, if you release an RPG that has these numbers but then has a combat system that doesn’t effectively use them then you’re almost doing a bait-and-switch swindle with people’s expectations for gameplay.

    • LostInDaJungle says:

      The “Old school” battles were strategic to some degree, while LOG was a test of how well you could WASD.

      That was not the challenge I wanted. It was not the challenge that made “old school” RPG’s tick.

      It’s a grid based ARPG. Did not like.

      • JamesTheNumberless says:

        Oh but DM and and EotB would definitely be classed as “ARPG” these days. And so they should, I’d rather have action in my RPG than tedium. Also I think you mean tactical, rather than strategic. However I don’t think it’s possible to say that every battle in oldschool RPGs was tactically interesting or that none of the battles in Grimrock were tactical. What’s true is that in DM there was little to no baggage of previous stat-heavy environment-light turn based RPGs to set expectations of how an RPG should play and what should be important in it. The stats in DM (apart from the amount of damage you did in mélé combat) were either invisible to the player or hidden away behind the interface, which emphasized the fact that they weren’t the focus of the game. Tactical combat is absolutely *not* what made oldschool RPGs tick (You will also notice that I’m making this argument in English and not in Japanese). It was wonder, adventure, a sense of danger and a sense of progression not defined by numbers alone. RPG gamers and adventure gamers prided themselves that they played games that weren’t about high score tables or about being able to kill things efficiently. Character builds, skill trees, min/maxing are all retrograde steps back to space-invaders and mistakes that Grimrock makes. Nobody should judge an RPG by the tactical depth of the combat because an RPG should not be a tactical combat simulator.