Sword of the Necromancer Review
Grimorio of Games combines action RPG gameplay with the roguelike genre in their new title Sword of the Necromancer. Is this adventure worth the effort, or should you stick to more tried-and-true roguelikes? Check out our review and find out.
Sword of the Necromancer Review
Sword of the Necromancer follows the story of Tama, who is trying to revive her lover Koko. She soon learns of a sword that can bring back the dead, and sets out on a journey to find it. She quickly finds the sword, but soon discovers that it only works on monsters and cannot be used to bring back Koko. Screaming out in frustration, she demands to know why it isn’t working. The Necromancer then appears, telling her that the blade’s real power can be unlocked if she can find and defeat him. With this new mission in her sights, she dives deeper into the dungeon to find her prey.
The story of how Koko and Tama met is all a mystery – at least, at first. Koko is dead from the offset, but you don’t know how it happened. As you beat bosses in the dungeon and progress deeper and deeper, new story bits are revealed. Regular flashbacks show how their relationship started, the places they traveled, and ultimately how Koko met her demise. These are a nice touch, but there is one problem since this is a roguelike: you die a lot. That means you might never see the full story, simply because you couldn’t get to the bottom of the dungeon. The help out with this, the game includes settings to make it easier on the player.
For those of you who don’t know the roguelike genre well, you have to restart after you die. However each death allows you to bring back materials, EXP, or something else to make it worth your while. You can thankfully adjust what you bring back when you die, making it much easier to progress. When you die, you lose your weapons and a certain amount of levels. This means anything you’ve leveled up in the dungeon will be lost when you inevitably die and return. It is a nice option to have, but it also feels like a watered-down version of what the game is meant to be.
Combat in Sword of the Necromancer is pretty straightforward. Utilizing a top-down view, you make use of both attacks and dodges to get through each fight. However, the sword itself can revive monsters to fight for you. Though a great idea in theory, it doesn’t quite hit the mark. This is due to its control scheme, as you only have four buttons – three, if you include the sword needed to revive monsters. When you bring a creature back to life, it takes up one of your empty buttons. You then spawn the beast, and it fights on its own accord. To make things worse, the AI is very hit and miss. I’ve had them smack a boss down before I even got a swing in, and I’ve also had them run around doing absolutely nothing but dying.
Like the main character, the monsters will level up if you let them fight enough. They earn new stats, like crit damage or more health, and they are able to restore their HP when they level up. You can pick up new weapons like spears and axes, along with jewelry that buffs your stats, but none were as useful as a full monster squad. The only reason I wanted another weapon was to bring it back for upgrades. Even then you have to bring both that weapon and the sword, leaving only two slots left for monsters; the numbers just don’t add up. It would help if you had a primary and sub-weapon equipment slot, and then slots for the monsters.
Outside of collecting monsters and weapons, players will find materials and lost diaries. The lost diaries chronicle other adventurers who have attempted to claim the sword for their own, which are short and to the point for those interested in lore. Though materials can be used to upgrade weapons, they cannot be used to upgrade monsters, which would have made them infinitely more valuable. On top of weapons feeling somewhat weak compared to monsters, each upgrade requires a ton of materials. I didn’t even bother after testing it a few times.
Although Sword of the Necromancer has some exciting ideas, they never fully pay off. Be sure to check out some gameplay footage first to get a feel of what this roguelike has to offer.
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