by Keaton Arksey
previewed on PC
Sequel to a Book
Hard to be a God is an Action RPG currently under development by Akella and is based on the likewise named classic Strugatsky Brothers’ novel. The game acts as something of a sequel, taking place two years after the events of the book. The Kingdom of Arkanar has been ravaged by the ‘Intestine war’ (ewww) and the hero finds himself in an affair that is larger than the Empire itself. According to the title, it is hard to be a god, so expect some hardships to be faced.
The hero, having just graduated from agent school, the Emperor sends him to the rebellious Kingdom of Arkanar. He is tasked with eliminating the main insurgent Arata as well as gathering information on the nobleman Rumata of Estor. This investigation brings attention to him from a godlike race called Earthmen coming from a far off planet called Earth (in the far future). The Earthmen give the hero access to incredibly powerful technologies, elevating him to such a level that he is practically a god himself. He must learn why the medieval age on his planet has lasted for millennia while Earth’s only lasted for a few centuries. Trippy eh?
Easy to get into
The gameplay is more hack and slash than the traditional RPG, though advanced with an endurance bar, ranged moves and ‘perks’ or super moves. But RPG fans need not fear, an intuitive leveling system should appeal to both novices and experts, meaning anyone can jump in and play.
There will be different ways to accomplish your mission objectives. Killing anyone that tries to stop you is one way, but you may have much better results acting more diplomatically. Both ways have their advantages and the trick will be to find a good balance between the two. To aid you in these difficult undertakings, you will have the ability to play different ‘roles’. A fun example of this is using different disguises to assume a ‘spy role’ and sneak past guards to get deep into enemy strongholds.
Besides the medieval weapons such as axes and swords that are indigenous to the planet, the player has access to highly advanced Earthmen equipment. The ‘Scorcher’ for instance is, suffice to say, a flamethrower type weapon that can deal pain like nothing else. It is but one of the over a hundred types of weapons that are divided into 3 levels. In the Light class we find one handed melee weapons, the Medium class carries weapons similar to staves and twin-bladed weapons and weapons such as two handed axes and swords are found in the Large class. The player is able to combine one handed weapons with shields for more protection.