Depths of Peril Review

I never really thought about how hard it would be to truly review an indie game before. Sure, the gameplay usually does something refreshing, but for the most part a lot of indie games fall short for obvious reasons compared to the blockbuster and high-budget titles. Is that fair to them? Should they be rated lower if they’re the same game but have worse visuals than a big-budget title?

Unfortunately, they are. You can’t help but compare; it’s just human nature to work in binary opposition. That’s why playing Depths of Peril and reviewing it was difficult. There are plenty of indie games which take the gaming scene by storm, but others which just don’t match up in a variety of elements.

Whether or not you have any issues with indie games being compared to big titles, there’s no doubting that Depths of Peril is a unique entity in the gaming realm. Visually, it’s about Diablo 1 era, or “Pick a number of free MMO games” level. The models are repetitive, the animations are clunky, and the customization and varying areas really don’t look that good at all.

But that’s not what you’ll play this game for. (Hopefully.) What Depths of Peril DOES do well is be a unique take on an overworn genre desperately waiting for a Diablo 3 to come along. It has the staple point and click aspect, as well as the mindless hacking through swarms of enemies ranging from one type of orc to a similar looking monster that isn’t an orc to wolf-like creatures, but it’s more than that.

Combined with one of the most simplistic gameplay strategies there is, is a deep strategy game with a heavy reliance on politics and influence. It’s a mix between Diablo and Civilization, and it’s pulled off surprisingly well.

By completing quests, trading things, bullying people into submission and a variety of other means, you can gain influence and reputation. Using these, you essentially strong-arm or negotiate with one of 5 computer-controlled factions. You can ally with them, declare war on them, ignore them – the choice is all yours. Once you get the influence and everything going, you’re able to acquire better items, build up your own faction’s strength, and do things I’m sure I never even touched upon.

Unfortunately, there’s very little in terms of explaining how all of this works. You’ll likely load the game up, see a bunch of complicated menus, get a bunch of confusing messages, go click a few monsters and get bored of it after your third or fourth death. It’s not until you’re familiar with the game that you recognize how the strategic and Covenant gameplay works, and if no one told you to pay attention to it, you’d likely skip it all together.

That’s the biggest flaw in Depths of Peril (other than the visuals): not really showing the average gamer what it is. It looks like a Diablo clone, it plays like a Diablo clone (in terms of combat) and it feels like a Diablo clone in terms of items and equipment. With the Covenant gameplay and the political nuances, though, Depths of Peril is anything but a Diablo clone. Unfortunately, many mainstream gamers won’t be willing to stick with it long enough to learn that for themselves.


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Author: Brendon Lindsey View all posts by

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