MMORPG.com’s early access reviews evaluate unfinished games that are available for purchase by the public. While the games are not considered finished by their developers, we believe that any game taking money from its players deserves at least some sort of review in its current state. The review below critiques a work in progress, and will be updated upon the game’s official release.
One of the beauties of this day and age in PC gaming is that Indie Studios can and will earn some income by releasing their games as “early access”. Essentially a prolonged paid beta, Early Access is a great tool for indies to keep the lights on as they work their way to official launch. But the newly coined development state has its own fair share of issues, chief among which is putting a clearly unfinished game out to the general public. That’s kind of where Nekro, from DarkForge Games, sits right now. It’s an Action RPG Strategy hybrid of a game with a novel setting and design, but it’s also just kind of boring to play.
The premise is simple: you play a demonic Nekromancer seeking revenge upon the people who wronged you. You pick from one of three classes at the start, each with their own distinctive abilities and looks. Like any good Nekromancer, your real skill lies not in hand to hand combat, but in coopting the dead to do your bidding. That’s where Nekro’s strategy elements come into play. You’ll use Blood (think Mana) to raise the dead and use your spells to get them to do your bidding.
In the game’s current form most of the levels so far are basically “kill everything to win” maps. That’s to be expected of the Action-RPG genre, but for the strategy part of Nekro’s description, I guess I just expected to have to think more.
The visuals, as you can see in the trailer and screens are charming in a sort of “Fable-esque” way, reminiscent of Albion in a lot of ways. And that’s a good thing. The whole game is chock-full of evil charm, from the pigs you slaughter to the shapes villages you pillage. The problem lies in the purely simplistic gameplay Nekro sports at the moment. There is no travel on the over world, just beat the level, read expositional text that tells the story to you between levels, and then beat the next level. There are no paths to choose, no exploration. Just lots of killing and little thinking.
There’s definitely a good amount of promise in Nekro’s design, but right now I can’t help feeling a little bored by the moment to moment gameplay. Action RPGs tend to hook me by making me curious about how I can further build and tweak my character with gear, spells, abilities, and more. Nekro is missing that key ingredient, despite some choices in spells and skills as you make your way through the main campaign. The customization of your Nekromancer just doesn’t feel meaningful enough.
Nekro is currently in early access, and just recently added more levels and content. For about $20, there are definitely lesser games you could spend your money on, but for my own opinion? I’d wait a little bit longer before diving into Nekro. It’s got soul, which is funny considering the game’s premise, but it’s missing the little things that make an Action RPG truly special.