by Preston Dozsa
previewed on PC
Tell me if youíve heard this one before: a top down real time Strategy/Role-Playing hybrid where the main focus is on killing dozens of enemies in the pursuit of bigger and better equipment and loot. No, itís not Diablo, and no, itís not Torchlight either. Itís Kyn, a new game developed by Tangrin, a studio composed of only two people that will be launching in 2015.
For a game thatís been developed by two people, Kyn shows a great deal of polish even though it is still under development. In my hands-on time at Gamescom, I played through one of the games eighteen levels with a trio of heroes at my command, each representing the classic archetypes of the warrior, ranger and mage. While I wasnít provided with any context as to why the three were venturing through this particular set of ruins, I was told that the game had quests that involved multiple paths to choose from in each level.
A whole heap of heroes
Venturing into the ruins is easy for anyone who has controlled a hero in Diablo before, except for the additional two that you have to take care of (The final product will allow for up to six characters to travel together at a time). Each character has three abilities that they can use through hotkeys, in addition to their basic attacks. When I first got into combat, however, I quickly discovered that the game moves at a very fast pace, making it difficult to control and issue commands to your heroes on the fly. Thankfully, the developers have incorporated a slow time feature that slows down the game enough for you to analyze a situation and issue orders that reflect the given situation in game, a la the pause feature in Black Isle studios' series of RPGs.
Perhaps the feature that most surprised me about Kyn was how you personally managed your characters growth. Upon leveling up, you have the choice to spend points across your body, mind or control paths; every fifteen points you place into a path increases not only your stats, but unlocks new abilities that you can mix and match in your hotkeys bar. For example, if you level up the warrior in the body path he will unlock abilities that turn him into more of a berserker, whereas putting points into control will unlock defensive abilities like a shield bash.
Looking good, feeling gooder
In addition, there is an extensive inventory and loot system that further increases the uniqueness and abilities of your heroes. New equipment doesnít just change your heroesí stats, it also changes how they look and operate. Equipping new weapons and armor brings about notable changes in how your hero looks, with different chestpieces looking remarkably varied from one another, for instance. Furthermore, some abilities can only be activated with certain equipment. The aforementioned shield bash can only be used with a shield (obviously), though there are plenty of other abilities in all of the characters that operate in similar ways.
As I learned the hard way during my hands on with the game, Kyn requires you to be patient and plan out your attack before diving into battle. I had the unfortunate habit of rushing headlong into rooms that I hadnít scouted before, resulting in quite a few close calls. You really need to think and plan things out if you want to have any chance of surviving the challenging combat that is present in the game.
While talking to Tangrin, they confirmed that there were no current plans to incorporate co-op into the game yet, though they did note that it was a frequently expressed wish for those who have played the game. While the game looks polished in some areas, there still needs to be some work done on smoothing out the textures and animations in preparation for release. Fortunately for them, they still have plenty of time to continue working on their game before it launches next year.