by Derk Bil
reviewed on PC
A true Persian prince?
In Garshasp: Temple of the Dragon - prequel to Garshasp: The Monster Slayer – developer Dead Mage lets you play around some more with their favorite Persian mythological hero.
The story wrapping the game together can be classified as ‘forgettable’ but the combat – which seems to have been heavily inspired by games such as God of War and The Witcher - is actually ‘tried and tested’ fun and easily the highlight of this title. You start out with a fast and heavy attack, the ability to block and roll and an explosive combo attack. Leveling up will grant you more flashy combo attacks, which is pretty much the only benefit that leveling up will offer. Not that you need a lot more than that, since the game is all about fighting, jumping, running and solving puzzles.
Being an indie title that is on sale at an accompanying indie price, Garshasp: Temple of the Dragon is obviously not under the same level of scrutiny as the aforementioned triple A titles. The so-so voice-acting (Garshasp’s voice reminds me of Duke Nukem, somehow) and okay-ish graphics are nothing overly impressive, but quite acceptable nonetheless.
Someone shoot the cameraman, please.
Less acceptable is the in-game camera which has proven to be its Achilles heel and cause for much frustration and anguish. The game is played with mouse and keyboard but the former’s only purpose is to provide you with more buttons to push. Neither the camera nor the player can be controlled with the mouse, making any instinctive motions made with your mouse hand an exercise in futility.
Thus you move Garshasp around using the WASD keys whilst the camera angle dictates the actual direction that you are headed in. Trying to jump over a crevasse and having the camera angle shift ever so slightly pretty much guarantees an instant and very un-mythological death for Garshasp. Unfortunately, banalities such as these have turned out to be the cause of the bulk of my deaths and frustrations.
In combat situations the camera problem was not quite as jarring, but there have been cases where I had enemies to contend with that hid in the large off-camera area, but where exactly… was impossible to know. This resulted in me charging at empty spaces where no bad guys were to be found, and then setting course to yet another obscured area in the hopes that the enemy would still be there for me to finish off.
Other, lesser annoyances were found in the many bugs that I encountered. Picking up what I suspect was one of the many letters that can be found throughout the game – that, by the way, serve to tell the rather uninspired story - my screen turned entirely white. There was no audio, and all I could do was wait until it went away. It marked the end of the patience I had left for Garshasp.
Back into the box
Garshasp is full with ambition and promise, but is unfortunately shot in the foot by the shoddy camera controls that make playing Garshasp: Temple of the Dragon a jarring and awkward experience. Had the camera control been in the hand of the player, the verdict would immediately shift to something more favorable and recommendable.
Fun, fluid combat which gets more elaborate as you progress through the game.
The cameraman ruins all the fun.