That’s really about it. There’s no real connection to the first game at all, so you won’t be missing out if you just skip it completely. Grimrock 2 employs a much more open-ended design from the very beginning, with areas that require more exploration than simple linear progression like the first game. You’ll also find a lot more depth and variety in character development – something that compliments the overall open-ended design of the game as a whole very well.
It doesn’t stop there though. Grimrock 2 boasts full Steam Workshop support, so after you finish the relatively short main story (about 15 hours) there are tons of small mods and one-off adventures for you to download and extend your Grimrock experience. And if you truly hate yourself, try playing with the more hardcore difficulty options that turn an already difficult game into something absolutely brutal.
Visually, Legend of Grimrock 2 is simply striking. You can obviously tell it wasn’t made with a huge budget by any means, but the environment designs alone make this one of the prettiest games ever made in this particular genre. Enemy designs overall are often less than unique, but they look great none-the-less.
Legend of Grimrock 2 is very much a love letter to fans of a genre that is far passed its prime. The wonders of indie development, easy access to willing players, simplified marketing, and robust modding tools, have led to the creation of a legitimate franchise. What’s next for the Grimrock series is anyone’s guess, but if they continue to make iterative improvements on future entries, the wonders of this RPG adventure could be around for a long time.
GAMEPLAY & STORY – 7/10 - While the story is far from robust or engaging, it gets the job done and sets the mood. These types of games have never been about gripping tales and emotional cutscenes, but have instead been more focused on immersion and ambient realism. The moment-to-moment gameplay is top-notch and feels like the perfect fusion of old-school and modern design. You won’t be telling any coworkers about plot points during your lunch break, but some of those puzzles can at least be a real head-scratcher.
VISUALS AND SOUND – 9/10 -The development team did a wonderful job in this department. From the moment I started in my cramped little cage, to when I dove deep into the forest, and even when I explored dark and decrepit crypts, I was completely entranced. The great realism and interactivity of the environment does a great job of putting you in the moment and the sound, plus visuals, truly sell the package.
LONGEVITY – 6/10 - This one is the hardest to grade for a game that has such huge mod community potential. I don’t expect there to be anything earth-shattering that completely revolutionizes the game or something with enough new content that it feels like an expansion, but there will be enough to keep you busy. Replaying with different party configurations is always fun as well, but the core game itself is relatively short.
POLISH – 8/10 - Legend of Grimrock 2 is easily one of the most polished and high-quality games of its type I’ve played in a very long time. Everything from menu navigation to environmental interactions feels buttery smooth. In fact, after playing this game, I dare you to boot up an old copy of Wizardry or, better yet, one of the janky old Dungeons & Dragons adventure games and see how that compares.
VALUE – 7/10 - For Legend of Grimrock 2, the price, a mere $24, is definitely right. You don’t have to fuss with a hefty install, it won’t break the bank, and it gives you plenty of bang for your buck – especially if you like modding or replaying the game with different characters. It doesn’t have the massive open-world flavors of a game like Dragon Age: Inquisition, but Grimrock 2 is ripe with atmosphere and smart design choices.