previewed on PC
Gas Powered Games has some great titles under their belt. They have a reputation for seeking to enrich existing genres with new gameplay mechanics and experiences, and for liking their games big. After great games such as Dungeon Siege and Supreme Commander, they are now working on the very promising and epic looking RPG Borderlands and on the equally awe inspiring RPG/RTS hybrid Demigod. The latter game has its roots in the popular Warcraft III mod 'Defence of the Ancients' and looks to enhance and show off the ability to take control of giant hero characters and wage wars of epic proportions.
Demigod takes place on a large grid filled with some basic scenery set against a backdrop of fancy, dreamy backgrounds such as spectacular waterfalls and ludicrously huge superstructures, The playing field itself is a series of walkways and pits on which you take control of demigods. These monstrous creatures then battle to ascend into the heavens as full-fledged deities.
The game objectives are quite simple. On one edge of the map there are a row of bases that need to protect at all costs while your foe’s bases, the ones that are your target, are located on the other side. In between are walkways which contain portals for your team. This is where your troops and reinforcements will come from. Every so often, more troops will come charging out for your team. This is when your role comes in using your Demigod. Using your Demigod, you must lead your weaker troops into battle, taking down your opponent’s forces and ultimately destroying the enemy bases to become victorious. It sounds simple enough, but there is a lot of depth to Demigod’s gameplay.
Obviously base destroying has been done to death, but Demigod adds a whole new set of aspects to its gameplay. For example, you do not simply place some basic structures and start harvesting resources. Resource gathering, if you could call it that, is done through your Demigod. For every kill you make you receive money and experience. This then allows you to customise your base by adding NPC fighters such as Giants, Catapults, and dive-bombing Angels. This exceptional idea forces the player to seek out conflict, keeping the action as well as your enemy close by. A skill tree is available as well and over time you can invest in additional health and stronger weapons.
Demigods come in many variations, or characters so you will, but they all boil down to two particular types that dictate your gameplay style. The first type is called Assassins and their main role is to inflict maximum damage at close range. In some way, playing the Assassin is much like a Hack&Slash RPG, but with some additional twists that make it feel fresh and unique.
The General type on the other hand, is weaker at close range but adept at doing damage from afar. The general’s role is much more like an RTS where you click and control your minions around the map, allowing you to flank units and view more of the game. No matter which character you play as, the minions are all the same and come in three basic classes. The Minotaur captain acts as a standard infantry class, charging enemies for close combat. The siege archers are a standard ranged class, attacking enemies from afar. The high priests act as a wizard or mage class, your basic spell caster, firing spells from a distance.
The gameplay of the Assassins and the Generals isn't as exciting as you would see in a committed action RPG like Diablo III or a spot on RTS game like Starcraft, However, Gas Powered Games is hopeful that a combination of these two elements will make for a unique and addictive multiplayer experience.
I already mentioned that Gas Powered Games likes their games big. Demigod is no different, and in fact looks absolutely epic. Huge, fantasy infused creatures tower over tiny critters that litter the map, ready to be crushed should they find themselves too close to the wrong foot. And when they are not being trampled, it is a feast to see them being ripped to pieces. And all this splendour comes to you with crisp graphics that breathe life into a never boring gameworld.
The single-player content is competent but the developers are gunning for Demigod to do well in the busy multiplayer arena. It will ship with built-in support for tournaments, creating clans and online ladders. If Gas Powered Games gets it right, I expect gamers to flock to Demigod’s brutal and epic combat in droves when the game ships early next year. One to watch!