Grim Dawn is a top down point and click hack and slash role playing game created by Crate Entertainment which is made up of former Iron Lore staff. Iron Lore created Titan Quest (which was awesome!). This genre has had a fair few good active tiles such as Diablo 3 and Path of Exile so Grim Dawn is going to have to be good in order to succeed.
The gist of the story is that there are two warring factions, one which wants to destroy the humans and the other which wants to possess them and you’re the person to put a stop to all their shenanigans. Throughout the game you uncover lore, usually by finding documents littered around the landscape. I enjoyed the story and lore but i wouldn’t say it stood out or that I’ll remember it in a weeks time.
Controls follow the standard for this type of game, click to attack or move and hotkeys for spells/abilities. Levels are designed by humans but I understand some of the indoor areas paths can change (e.g. route become blocked). Outdoors is the strongest in terms of fun while indoor dungeons are quite dull and irritatingly difficult to get around quickly in; it feels like they’ve been deliberately made awkward in order increase the game’s length.
Inventory management was a blessing after some of the crap we’ve had lately (I’m looking at you Fallout 4), not once did I completely fill my inventory. Simply selling stuff I didn’t want when passing through the few towns was enough. I didn’t get as much usable loot (or ‘phats’ as we cool kids say) as I’d like, maybe I was just unlucky but I kept getting awesome gear for a melee character when my guy was dual wielding pistols. Along your way you also find components which you can combine to create addons for different armour pieces to add additional bonuses. There is a crafting system which is easily missable and frankly skippable beyond one item slot which can only be filled by a crafted item.
There are 6 classes to choose from and a second one can be picked at level 10 allowing you to dual class. Each class has a skill window in which you can unlock new skills or improve existing ones. You can also pick devotions which allow you to unlock more skills or improve your character by devoting to celestial powers; points for these come from finding shrines around the world. My main character is a Pyromancer which is a mixture of Occultist and Demolitionist who dual wields pistols, throws grenades and has a pet hellhound. Character progression is a delight to use, it has just the right amount of complexity to make it enjoyable without being nuts like Path of Exile.
Balance wise the game is fine, normal enemies are easy and harder ones are harder. There is a problem in that harder enemies are not easy to identify in a crowd so you could be merrily smashing through groups of enemies and then instantly die by a hard enemy without even noticing them.
The ending is proper pants. You kill the end boss and get a popup saying the next difficulty mode has been unlocked. That’s it.
Graphics are good and I was impressed with the persistently good performance throughout. Lighting in dungeons is incredible looking. Audio is okay - nothing noteworthy going on. Some of the main dialogue is voice acted, most is not. It took roughly 22 hours to complete one play-through on normal.
I did not experience any gameplay bugs but the game did crash every time I tried to exit after extended periods of play (3+hrs).
I recommend Grim Dawn despite it having some room for improvement, it’s the most fun I’ve had in the genre since Titan Quest. Whole days went missing while I was playing it!