On the 1st December 2016 “The Dwarves”, crawled from under the rocks and onto our consoles. A fantasy tactical role-playing game was developed by “King arts games”& “THQ Nordic”. Available for; Playstation 4, Xbox one, Linux, Mac OS and Microsoft windows. With a strong story and real time battles will provide you with a serious challenge. Being able to play as 15 different characters each of them with their own skill set are to be set up on the evil within the land, battle enemies such as orcs, bögnilim, ogres, älfs, zombies, dark mages and many others. Basing itself on the bestselling novel “The Dwarves” by Markus Heitz you’ll embark on a dangerous journey.
“Come here and I’ll split you like a straw!”
I got the wonderful opportunity to try “The dwarves” on the Sony PlayStation 4. I’ve never really played a game like this, I was looking forward to trying something from the norm. Right from the start you pretty much leap into battle, So with not having a clue what I was doing, I leapt. It wasn’t until I walked up to an ‘Orc’ that I realised the combat system was automatic. So I was just to sit back observe and input a special ability every now and then whilst making sure I wasn’t surrounded and taking too much damage. Simple, well that’s what I thought until I was surrounded very quickly with the incredible amount of orcs charging at me across the bridge. It seemed there was no end to them. Alas, I saw another special ability available. It was some sort of shield charge, enabling you to run through the Orcs at speed and power knocking them flying, this came to my advantage as many fell off the bridge. Once you kill the requirement stated at the bottom of the screen. You come to a cut scene showing what seemed to be the King, willing to fight with and for his people. You’re then thrown back into battle as trolls and orcs attack, here you can now switch between characters with a simple press of the shoulder buttons. Setting commands for both characters taking on the enemies in a strategical manner.
Not long after another cut scene appears and you are now controlling the main character of the game “Tungdil” a scholar, (who has never seen his own dwarven kind), being raised by a mage. Tungdil Longed to see the rest of the world and his wish came true as the mage sends him to the lands above on a lengthy quest his required to travel through “Girdlegard”.
From what I have played so far I have spent most of my time on the world map which is where the majority of it takes place or so it felt, with an overview of “Girdlegard” set up like a board game, with pieces such as your character, orc patrols dwarven merchants and various other things including locations that you need to visit to advance. The only thing that was missing was a dice. Anyway, you select a point to which you want to take your journey, the path you take is clearly up to you as you’re given multiple choices. Every now and then a narrator will announce what has currently happened and what your given state is. One particular event I remember was when I encountered a camp fire in the distance after the narrator said this it gave me multiple choice options to take. “Head towards the campfire”, “Sneak towards the camp fire and scout within the bushes” or “Go round the campfire entirely and continue with the journey”. Here I felt like I was now playing a game of ‘dungeons and dragons’. (Not really played it myself but I do recall seeing it on an episode of ‘Community’).
Each choice affects the game so choose wisely. After that mini encounter, I continued my journey to deliver a parcel for the human mage that took me in. Along the way, I was made to rest up, been given another set of multiple choices “Set campfire on the ground” “Set up in the tree” and so on. Thinking wisely and of the dangers that surround I set up in the tree, the Good choice apparently. It was here that I had a narrow escape from an Orc army that set up the base just below me as I was napping in the tree. It was here that the game annoyed me a little, They give you two options when the orc army eventually leave. “Stay in the tree and scout a little longer” and “Jump out of the tree”. Well not being equipped for battle not to mention his a book worm so I wasn’t confident in his fighting abilities in the first place, I chose to play safe and scout a little longer. A little while passes and i’m given the option to do it again, so I did. My own stupidity I guess but I didn’t think the game would let me do it a lot more than I did. Eventually, I jump down and surprise! I’m attacked. Cheers guys. Could have just made me jump out of the tree anyway. Don’t worry unexpected Calvary came and here you meet your own kind, two dwarven knuckleheads Boindil and Boendal. As they rescue the amateur you from orcs they request that you return to their king with them, being a stubborn typical dwarf you tell them you have a mission of your own and they join you.
As I continued the very deep gripping story I couldn’t help but notice certain aspects of the game was really putting me off. Firstly the game uses an overhead camera to give you the view of the battlefield as you play, this can be somewhat annoying. At first, I thought “Nah it’s just me, I’m not used to this sort of game.” But then I thought “actually it’s not me, who actually likes to play a game where you cant see whats going on because of some stupid tree blocking your view of the battle” So as you are moving about in mid battle and spin the camera to get a better angle of what’s going on, Bang! there is a leaf in the way. So I zoom in to get passed this little problem, now I’m a sitting duck as I don’t know what’s coming my way. This was making it hard to use the abilities of the dwarves as I didn’t know where I was actually aiming to make some scenarios really difficult
Secondly, this one was out of my control and I’m sure it will be fixed in the near future but as I was controlling my character on his linear adventure battling copious amounts of orcs, I found myself a few men short. (Pun not intended). Being overpowered I died, having to load my game again. This happened a couple of time so far luckily it didn’t happen in battle the fourth time round and I see Boindil just standing there doing absolutely nothing until I walk up to him. I was sad to see there was no customisation, no opportunity to play around with weapons or gear. You could only swap amulets and potions. I felt like I took a step back in the gaming age with all the loading screens that appeared in the game. I thought these things hardly existed but one popped up pretty much after every scene just like those annoying pop-up ads on the internet.
“Combat system grows on you
like the growth on nudins neck – Damien”
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PlayStation 4 Review code provided by THQ Nordic.