Clickclickclickclickclick: Grim Dawn Finally Released

“If you have an ARPG itch to scratch, I can’t recommend you look anywhere else right now,” our Alec said in his Wot I Think of Grim Dawn [official site]. It’s an action-RPG in ye olde olde Diablo-y style, with wizards and warriors clicking on monsters until they explode in pleasing showers of rusty swords and golden coins. It’s got pedigree too, as developers Crate Entertainment were founded by some of the remains of Titan Quest devs Iron Lore. Now, following a Kickstarter and several years on Steam Early Access, Grim Dawn is finally properly released.

Grim Dawn’s going hard for that Diablo II vibe, Alec will tell you, which made it a great clickclickclicking hope for the future back before Diablo III started to get its act together. The two have certainly ended up as different games doing different things, mind – if you want something gritty and grimy, less Blizzard-shiny, Grim Dawn’s your pal.

Along with singleplayer, it of course has online co-op.

The final update before leaving Early Access was a biggun, adding voiceovers for major quest dialogue, an animated cinematic, a new tutorial tip system, and plenty of tweaks and fixes. The patch notes explain it all.

Grim Dawn is £17.99 on Steam. If you need narrative motivation for monster-clicking, here’s that intro cinematic in handy YouTube format:


  1. Skeletor68 says:

    I’m finding it to be a really single-player friendly experience that promotes exploration so far.

    As an iteration on Titan Quest (which I bounced off of, not sure why) it’s skill system is a mix of Titan Quest’s along with a baby version of the PoE passive skill system in the form of Devotion points which involve finding shrines and filling out constellations with pretty cool flavours and skills.

    Build variety is nice so far. It’s nowhere near Diablo 3 as a casual power trip but I’m enjoying taking my time with it.

  2. finc says:

    Looks like an interesting game, but I’ll be jiggered if I can understand a single word that spirit is saying in the trailer.

    • Jakkar says:

      It’s subtitled, but I was surprised to find – after initially glancing down during the growling, that it made perfect sense to me if I paid attention. I think this is what I get for 80s/90s cartoons and aspiring to voice act monsters m’self O.o

  3. Garou says:

    I’ve had my eye on this since it entered early access, so was very pleased to see it finally release. Had a quick go last night – very good first impressions. I enjoy how fast it feels, plus the aesthetic design allows my character to already looks like a mad, murderous biker-gang outcast.

  4. RuySan says:

    Titan Quest was pretty much a souless Diablo clone.

    Does this offer anything beyond what Path of Exile does?
    These kind of games are so similar that usually we don’t need more than one.

    • smeaa mario says:

      Well, Titan Quest was a hack ‘n slash rpg with its own loveable charm. You will probably not like Grim Dawn if you think TQ was a “soulless clone”, because while they are not the same game, they bear the same spirit.

    • Buttless Boy says:

      Nothing in the genre beats PoE in mechanics, price, flexibility, variety, or depth, but Grim Dawn has a much more cohesive setting and generally feels much more focused and interesting in the first playthrough, something PoE’s always sucked at. It’s also really nice to hack up a place that isn’t Wraeclast. Most of the skills are super boring though, particularly compared to PoE but there’s even less variety than Diablo 3.

      • malkav11 says:

        Man, describing any game’s skills as boring in comparison to PoE, which has the most utterly generic and dull active skill list I’ve encountered in an ARPG. -boggle-

        Don’t get me wrong, PoE really delivers on the “optimizing builds” front that seems to be a big draw for a lot of people playing these sorts of games, but if making your numbers go up isn’t inherently exciting to you, which it isn’t to me…well, there’s not much else to latch on to.

        • khomotso says:

          This is about as wrong as calling Titan Quest soulless. If you think the options just min-max numbers, you’re being constrained more by your lack of creativity than the character sandbox the game serves up.

          • malkav11 says:

            So convince me otherwise. What’s something cool and creative and fun to play with that I couldn’t get far more easily in some other ARPG? Because in what I’ve played of PoE, the passives were 90% increases of one or more stats, and a few capstones that for the most part changed how those stats were applied. And the equipment I got was 100% tweaks to numbers (with variances on the linking setup, for sure). The most scope for creativity seems to come in from linking together active skills (which, from what I saw, were uniformly boring) with various support gems, and then your passive build amplifies the effect.

            And I want to emphasize, there is NOTHING wrong with that. It’s a really freewheeling, roll your own sort of system, mastery of which is no doubt very satisfying for people of a certain mindset. Say, the sort of people that played Diablo II over and over and over with various builds on the same character class trying to find new tricks, or whatever. But I played Diablo II to completion exactly twice, on normal – once with a sorceress and once with a barbarian (the latter when Lord of Destruction came out), fussed with a couple other classes briefly, and was done. To me it was far too repetitive even with the different skillset of other classes to bother with higher difficulties or the remaining classes, much less different builds of the same class, and loot wasn’t nearly interesting enough to be any sort of hook.

            And that was my experience of PoE, too, except that since there aren’t actual classes as such (the putative classes just being different starts on the passive tree) and none of the skills are particularly flavorful or fun to play with to start, I was bored even more quickly than that.

      • ManiaCCC says:

        Don’t get me wrong. I supported PoE for very long time even back in alpha. However, PoE skill set is the most probably the most boring on the market. You may not like D3 (or Grim Dawn), but seriously saying PoE skills are somehow more fun compared to these two games is same like saying “I am god damn PoE fanboy, don’t take me seriously”.

        • derbefrier says:

          Bullshit. Poe skills are fun as hell once you get them into some 5 or 6 link gears with the appropriate support gems. You can do some really fun stuff that is impossible in those other arpgs. I will adm I t early game the skills are kinda boring but that’s true of most games in the genre.

          • ManiaCCC says:

            You can do some “decent” stuff in PoE. I agree. And I see what is really appealing on it. Players feel, that they somehow created something unique binding all these gems and support gems together. So this mini-game of creating skill is interesting for many but skill in the end is not better than Diablo 3 skill with single rune. In fact, Diablo 3 (and even Grim Dawn) has so many nice and unique looking/feeling skills, where the most interesting thing you can doo in PoE is that your projectile skill pierce or is multishot or some skills proc something else. Most other things are just pure boring statistics which really doesn’t bring anything interesting aside min-maxing nature. So once again. I am not saying PoE sucks and I know PoE is really interesting game for many with many strong pros..but skill design is not one of these.

          • khomotso says:

            I’ve quit PoE 3 times over the last couple years, but keep coming back because of the curiosity to see if I can make a new build work.

            I don’t think the fun is in skill design, however. Individual skills themselves are not particularly interesting, as others have noted, since there tends to be an obvious way to optimise them.

            The variety and complexity instead comes in the form of the complementarity of diverse gear, passives, and a novel set of active skills. Fitting all those pieces together really does lead to an experience no other ARPG can match.

            I love PoE not as an ARPG, but rather a character build strategy game.

            A game with a stronger story and gameworld would scratch a very different itch, and it sounds like Grim Dawn could do that.

        • craftyxcrafty says:

          What this game has that trumps PoE, in my opinion, is an interesting storyline, maps that look and feel interesting, great sound design and soundtrack, faction systems that increase difficulty and item drop over time, along with a focused single-play experience and small(4 players max), but well developed multi-player that allows you to contribute to the party in a way that you and your party members can feel. I played PoE for 6 months, watched Kripp to see optimum builds, but the skill tree and the heavy focus on optimization killed my enjoyment. The skill tree is simplistic, but each skill impacts your play style and the skills animations/visuals makes each use as enjoyable as the last plus, how the duel-classes work, the devotion tree and the fragments system makes up more than enough for the trees simplicity. In short, this game is, in my opinion, much better than PoE.

    • UncleLou says:

      Titan Quest, “soulless”?

      /clutches chest

      That game was a labour of love if there ever was one. :-( I don’t think Grim Dawn is anywhere near as good, unfortunately.

      • popej says:

        This is what I was thinking. Pour old Iron Lore poured their hearts into it. The dual class synergies and skill tree layout haven’t been bettered in my opinion.

        I do like Grim Dawn though.

    • Simbosan says:

      The ability to see more than 6 feet in front of you? PoE has almost removed graphics from the game of state min maxing. And you call Titan Quest soulless…

    • steves says:

      You mean a soulless leather-clad micturating belt-buckle of the uninspired?

      I fucking love loot games, and I can even tolerate a bit of randomness, but I hate this shit.

      Just give ’em a colour, and some stats, we’ll work it out.

    • thinkforaminute says:

      Yes, we need more than one ARPG. Otherwise, how else can we make pointless arguments of which one is better based solely on personal opinion?

    • Cerno says:

      From my experience there are so many different opinions on whether or not an ARPG is great or not and for what reason it is, that it is pretty hard to give definite advice here.

      Just this: I found TQ to be soulless and boring like you did, because for me the world was not immersive and the fighting not visceral enough.

      That being said, I absolutely love Grim Dawn because they totally nailed it in regards to TQs shortcomings. The attacks really pack a punch visually and aurally and the environments are very organic and contain a lot of little set pieces that are just beautiful to look at.

      I heard people complain that the game is technologically not up to a 2016 standard, but it oozes style and is really pretty.

      After Diablo I and II, PoE was my favorite ARPG so far, although I could never get my head around the complex skill tree and the economic system. As of yesterday Grim Dawn easily pushed PoE off that throne for me. It is just so much fun and after so many years I finally had an experience again where I just wanted to play for half an hour and had to force myself to quit after 4 hours because I have to get up for work tomorrow.

  5. smeaa mario says:

    I have been playing Grim Dawn since mid-early access and I cannot recommend it enough.

    If you really miss that old-school hack ‘n slash charm and despise the entire online-ization and commercialization (them microtransactions and auction pens) wave dominating pretty much every gaming genre nowadays, Grim Dawn is pretty much all you need.

    • thinkforaminute says:

      I’m so happy I don’t have to see one of those “you’re reached the end of the content” messages anymore.

  6. Carra says:

    Bought it through Kickstarter but haven’t played it yet. Will be the next game I play.

  7. LennyLeonardo says:

    “Sheltering Studded Legwraps of the Badger.”
    Games are so great.

  8. derbefrier says:

    Been playing it all week. Great arpg. Well worth the asking price if you liked titan quest

  9. DaceX says:

    As someone who played way too much Titan Quest over the years, i could not be happier with this game.

    Friend and i bought it on Monday, and we were a bit overwhelmed in the beginning. It is a tradition, once we reach Level 2 in TQ, to open the skill window with a syncronised Sigh, because choices. you can imagine our reaction when we first opened up the Devotion-window.Nontheless, we played for almost 3 days straight.

    It is a true spiritual successor to TQ, and I can not recommence it enough.

  10. Jakkar says:

    I’ve watched it for years, and finally remembered to buy in a few days before release.

    Notable characteristics: Classic ARPG but with optional camera rotation on MMB, lets you explore the world as a bit more of a 3d object and see how lovely the art is.

    Graphics are a little outdated in raw technical terms but world design is tasty. Truly grim – the best way I can describe it is ‘Realistic Fantasy meets Holocaust/War Crime Footage’.

    I am saddened by the absence of a walk animation, forcing a loping jog everywhere I go in this pretty place.

    Difficulty (Normal with Veteran modifier and Hardcore mode (death ends the game) is surprisingly low by genre standards, but thankfully not quite as low as Titan Quest’s first run, which despite being a lovely, very well made game was so easy I simply couldn’t sustain interest.

    PoE, of course, suffered the same issue.

    I don’t know why these games can’t embrace Diablo 2’s approach of being bitchingly difficult for newbies, then even more bitchingly difficult when you want to try another difficulty mode ._.

    • Urthman says:

      the best way I can describe it is ‘Realistic Fantasy meets Holocaust/War Crime Footage’

      It’s hard to imagine a more convincing rebuttal to the claim “If you liked Titan Quest, you’ll like this.”

  11. sharkh20 says:

    Great game but I get burnt out on it very quickly every time I start it up. Going to play it for a bit and then go back to PoE when the new expansion/league starts next week.

  12. evangelical NOT says:

    Played almost all games of this kind, incl. obscure ones. Grim Dawn is easily the best in atmospheric feel and complexity.

    Just my 2c: It feels easy, until you hit Necropolis, and it goes downhill from there. Daunting but fun. I’m at Ultimate difficulty now with 2 chars, and the items and skills are just SO fun! Just wish they make our stashes slightly bigger, hah!

    Some of the items are diaries, notes, etc. You don’t have to read them, but they’re very good short stories, almost reminiscent of the brilliance of the Walking Dead comics.