First-person, turn-based, adventuring, puzzle-solving, dungeon crawling, roleplaying games are even harder to come by nowadays than they are to describe. Might & Magic, Wizardry, and a slew of other once-popular franchises dominated the roleplaying game scene at one point, but thankfully some developers are still making games like the Legend of Grimrock series as a throwback and revival to what once was.
Legend of Grimrock 2 is, as the name suggests, a sequel to the well-received original. What it is not, however, is a direct continuation of the story and plot points presented in the original game. Grimrock 2 can very easily be played without having played the first game and you won’t miss anything really worth mentioning.
If you’ve never played a game like Grimrock 2 before, let me give you the run down. The entire game is played from a collective first-person perspective. What this means is that you move your entire party, as a whole, every time you make any movement-based actions. Each step you take – in any direction – constitutes a turn in the game, and all 4 of your party members stay together as if they were one cohesive unit. However, each party member is still entirely separate. They have different skills, items, health bars, and everything else.
With modern titles like Grimrock 2, the experience is far less cumbersome and much more streamlined. There are lots of outdoor areas to explore, the game is less linear, a gradual day/night cycle progresses time forward, there is WASD movement, and puzzles can be interacted with immediately in real-time. Grimrock 2 is the type of game that truly attempts to immerse you into its world through great ambient sounds and realistic interactions.
For example, one of the early puzzles in the game tasked me with having 2 switches that could be pressed in a narrow corridor. The farthest switch from me, in the back, opened the door, while the nearest switch to me, the one you had to press in order to reach the other switch, closed the door. The trick is to open up your inventory, drop an item on the back switch, then proceed on your merry way.
Fortunately, Grimrock 2 isn’t just about puzzle solving – you’ve also got to kill lots of stuff. Well, poke, run away, poke, run away, and repeat until stuff dies, is a more apt description for me most of the time. Since the game fuses real-time and turn-based mechanics together, it’s kind of hard to describe how things unfold on the digital battlefield with this one.
Essentially, everything happens based around the concept of there being a turn-system, or at the very least a cool-down system, under the hood of every action that takes place. Monsters will approach you on a grid-by-grid basis and waiting periods between most attacks give you a few precious seconds to contemplate your next move. However, your characters are all beholden to the same rules as well. After attacking, whether you hit or miss, results in a short period of non-action as well.
But with great power comes great responsibility, and you’re definitely responsible for not handicapping yourself at the start of the game when crafting your party. I would highly recommend making your own party from scratch, but do some research on which race and class combos to take for the best pairing – you might be surprised by how reliable some of the combinations are.
As far as the story itself goes, there isn’t a whole lot to really speak about. Your crew crashes on an island that was basically designed as one large game created by some sadistic madman that likes to watch people struggle. You’ll find notes left behind by the twisted individual, gradually egging you on as you travel deeper and deeper into the environments.