Old-school fantasy FPS Amid Evil finally has a release date after a year and change in early access. Indefatigable's Heretic-inspired shooter impressed me when it made its debut, and has only improved with each update. Current players have access to six different episodes, each with a unique look and monster-set for their handful of levels. As of June 20th, the seventh and final episode -- The Arcane Void -- will launch, and the game will officially be complete. This time, it's all getting a bit abstract, as it turns out that geometry is pure evil. See the trailer and some thoughts on the game-as-is below.
I feel that Amid Evil stands shoulder-to-shoulder with its grimy Blood and Quake-inspired cousin Dusk, with both games sharing a publisher and a composer. Developed by a team of ex-Doom modders, Amid Evil is unquestionably inspired by Heretic, but goes a bit further with its high fantasy concepts. Every one of the seven weapons is roughly comparable to a classic Doom weapon, but with just enough esoteric weirdness to make it feel like magic. Even the starting axe is enchanted, with nearby enemies pulled into melee range when you swing with a satisfying WHOOSH, followed by a CLANG, SPLAT or BOOM depending on what you hit. It does a lot of damage, too, never becoming redundant.
Similarly, the 'shotgun' equivalent (a magic sword that shoots wide green beams) has shots that stop if they hit an enemy directly, but do full damage and keep flying if you hit with the edge of the beam. The chaingun (a trident that shoots lightning) stuns enemies on death, and if you pour extra shots into them, they explode into a lightning storm damaging all nearby enemies. It gets better when you use Soul Mode, a powerup similar to Heretic's Tome Of Power. Activated after killing enough enemies, it gives every weapon a wildly different, more powerful attack mode for a few moments. Simple to use, but feels like magic.
This carries on into the game's environments. Every episode has a completely different look and enemies. Your weapons stay the same, but everything else changes. Indefatigable are going back to give the earlier episodes one last pass to make them feel a little more magical too, with more lore text, and enemies with more pronounced elemental weaknesses. One level you're fighting animated suits of armour, the next a horde of floating eyeballs, then Aztec-style stone golems and animated vines, and one world is a Quake-style industrial complex with laser-toting robots.
I've loved the game so far, and can't see the final release making it anything but better, so this has my early, unguarded recommendation. Amid Evil launches on June 20th, but as it's in early access you can play the first sixth sevenths of it now. It's available on Steam and costs £15.49/€16.99/$20, which won't change at launch, and is published by New Blood Interactive.