I've always been a sucker for a good hack-and-slash action role-playing game. I still have fond memories of essentially only packing my old Pentium 2 for a month-long holiday visit at my grandparents' place just to play Diablo II: Lord of Destruction. As the years passed, so did a host of RPGs. Some were great, some reshaped the genre, and some were as forgettable as last week's adult responsibilities. Recently feeling the need to dive head-first into a new game, I turned to browse Steam's never-ending list of games. Thankfully, it only took about 30 minutes before I sat staring at the Wolcen: Lords of Mayhem page. The description reads, "A dynamic hack-and-slash with no class restrictions. Choose your path as you level-up and play your character the way you want! Explore this shattered and corrupted world to uncover its ancient secrets and hidden truths." I mean, the description had me at "hello."
The current version of Wolcen features the first act of the game and two endgame systems for players to play through. The campaign, which can be completed in about 4-5 hours, sets up the story for the game. Inquisitors, cults, ancient evils, missing creators, they all form part of the first act. The premise, story, and world are interesting, and I'm genuinely excited to see more of it. With three more acts planned for the official release and an endgame storyline, Wolcen is shaping up to provide one heck of a story. Made in CryEngine, the world is rendered in beautiful detail, which helps with the atmosphere.
After completing Act 1, I started experimenting with different builds. For some absurd reason, the idea of a shotgun-wielding, shield-bearing warrior popped into my head. A few runs later I was sitting with a pistol (basically a shotgun) and tower shield, and a bunch of gear focusing on attack speed and block proficiency. Gemming in resistance modifiers into every slot available made the character a force to be reckoned with. Herein lies the beauty of the no-class system in Wolcen. I started the campaign with a sword and shield build. Mid-way through I opted for a two-handed war hammer. For the endgame, I offered up a few resources to respec into a gun-slinging bruiser. If this freedom of character customization persists well into the official release, I can only imagine the time I'll spend spec-ing and respec-ing my character to create the most absurd combination imaginable.
Character customization is divided into three main aspects: attributes, skills, and passives. Attributes are divided into Ferocity (strength), Agility (dexterity), Wisdom (intelligence), and Toughness (resistance/armor). Skills, which are currently tied to specific weapon classes, form the core array of your arsenal. The Gates of Fate (passives), on the other hand, is an interesting concept in Wolcen. Reminiscent of Path of Exile's skill tree, Wolcen ups the ante by switching a tree for wheels, and allowing players to rotate the wheel. I started on the basic "soldier" passives, rotated to a more "dexterous" on the second wheel, and ended up with my totally-bonkers pistol/shield character. It's a unique take, emphasizing the no-class tagline even more.
Reminiscent of Path of Exile's skill tree, Wolcen ups the ante by switching a tree for wheels...
As of now, and if you are looking to scratch that hack-and-slash RPG itch, I would recommend Wolcen.
Kingdom Hearts devotee, From Software fanboy and aspiring Audiophile (the good kind that believes in FLAC files). Vincent enjoys writing about games almost as much as playing them.
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