Friday, August 17, 2007
Depths of Peril Demo And Quick Take
Soldak's long-awaited indie RPG, Depths of Peril, now has the demo version available for download. Just do yourself a favor...
Download an play the demo of Depths of Peril.
And now here's my quick take on the game:
I've gotta admit --- I wasn't extremely excited about this title. There were some cool-sounding elements, but I didn't see how they fit together as a whole. Having played the demo far too long tonight, I'm gonna admit... Steven Peeler has pulled it off. This is an indie RPG that shows what indie RPGs can be about. It's got all that "innovation" and stuff that the press and fans claim they really want, but they too often ignore even if it bites them on the face.
At first blush, the game appears to be something of a Diablo 2 clone / wannabe. Nice graphics, but nothing that would blow you away. And really, if that was all there was to it, it'd be just another ignorable effort by the indies to prove that they can follow the mainstream pack just like anyone else. But Depths of Peril takes it an important step further.
Many winters ago, Ultima IV took the traditional RPG formula and game system of Ultima III and made it something special by making it about something - driving the meta-game of the virtue system and the "Quest of the Avatar." Suddenly, the accumulation of power and beating up hordes of monsters became simply means rather than an end. The embodiment of the virtues was the focus of much of the game, requiring a broader set of decisions.
Soldak seems to be going after the similar goal, using a Diablo-esque game system as the engine. But it adds a whole 'nother level of gameplay - a campaign if you will - a replayable meta-game of battling factions and survival on the edge of civilized territory. The monster-bashing and level-building is just a vehicle for athe larger game. Depths of Peril never lets you forget that there's a larger campaign and issues at stake, and three other AI-run competitors gunning for you. Its very clear that simply making yourself the biggest, baddest guy in the game world isn't going to save you or your faction should you ignore the larger game.
That's not to say the game is without flaws. It has its share, but its nice to see a game like this shoot for the stars a little. I was pleasantly surprised.
(Vaguely) related word-stuff:
* Indie RPG Roundtable
* Depths of Peril Preview
* Where Is Indie Innovation?