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Amid Evil launches its penultimate early access episode

I've got something to axe you

Amid Evil is in the final stretch before leaving early access, and has just rolled out the sixth of its seven planned episodes. Indefatigable's Heretic-like FPS is, in my humblest of opinions, right up there with Dusk and Overload as far as brillo neo-retro shooters go. It has fanciful Quake-like level design with vivid colours straight from Heretic and a sense of scale only matched by Unreal. Plus some fun ideas of its own in terms of enemy and weapon design. The new, sixth episode - The Arcane Expanse - features a whole new set of enemies. See them in motion in a new trailer below.

As with previous episodes, The Arcane Expanse has an entirely fresh look and set of enemies. This time you're mostly up against wizards at long range (who are frustratingly good at dodging, reminding me of Unreal's Skaarj) and their crystal snake and bug constructs up close. It's a (literal) world away from the previous episode, The Forges, which was a grey and moody industrial complex filled with laser-shooting robots, drones and other mechanical menaces. Your weapons may stay the same, but it's nice to have a new set of baddies to bop every handful of levels.

Watch on YouTube

Aside from the new episode and enemies, Indefatigable aren't fixing what isn't broken - see the patch notes here. The only notable change is an upgrade to the default melee axe weapon. Now it reaches just fractionally beyond most enemies melee range, and swings a bit faster, making it a viable pick in a close-quarters rumble. Everything else has stayed the same, but they were already a powerful and satisfying bunch of magical doom-sticks, especially the shotgun-like mace that shoots clusters of crystal spears. Or the rocket launcher-like staff that shoots tiny planets.

For those who haven't played in a while, they've added an alternate way to activate Soul Mode, the super-state similar to Heretic's Tome Of Power. Charged by killing enemies and collecting their souls, it temporarily transformed all your weapon's attacks into bigger, flashier forms. By default, this mode was activated whenever you filled the soul gauge, but the alternate mode lets you save that charge and activate the power at will. No more killing the last bad guy in the room and going berserk on literally nothing - a great change, eliminating one of my last gripes with the game.

By my estimate, Amid Evil should leave early access within the next couple months, but you can play six sevenths of it right now. You can find it here on Steam for £13.16/€14.44/$17, slightly discounted until February 11th, though the base price won't increase at launch. It's published by New Blood Interactive.

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