After our recent interview with Steven Peeler of Soldak Entertainment, I was able to get a preview of his current game in development, Din’s Curse. This action role-playing game promises to contain advanced character development along with dynamic and progressive enemies.
Din’s Curse is an isometric action RPG much like Soldak’s previous games, Depths of Peril and Kivi’s Underworld. Because of your unfaithful lifestyle and the destructive actions in your former life, Din, champion of the gods, has cursed you to live a second existence and work to redeem yourself. You must prove yourself to Din by saving towns facing terrible dangers from nearby dungeons filled with monsters. You can save these towns by protecting the people from small attacks, going on the offensive against intelligent monsters, recruiting new forces for the town and generally helping people. If you have done enough for a town, you can move onto the next town — all while gaining reputation with Din. If you fail these objectives, you can lose reputation and be stuck in this existence forever.
Your character in Din’s Curse can be heavily customized in combat. There are six main classes (warrior, rogue, wizard, ranger, conjurer and priest), and each class has three specialities of fighting. You can choose to be any of the six basic classes with access to skills from all three specialities or choose a hybrid class that has access to any two specialities of the 18 available, no matter the class. My first choice was the ultra-dependable warrior/healer, quite capable of taking and dealing damage but with some magic to back me up when I need. Every level that is earned gives your character some statistical points to use to increase raw strength, stamina, magic, spirit and the like, as well as some skill points. There are a huge number of skills available, and combined with the sheer number of class combinations, an unthinkable number of character builds exist. Skills range from passive regeneration or damage boosts to active attacks and magic spells; I’m sure there are some incredible combinations in there, too.
In each game, you will start in a town (which isn’t nearly as random as the rest of the game) and some basic equipment. Many people in the town will have quests available for you to complete, and after talking to Din, you should head into the dungeon that threatens the town. Each dungeon is unique, having different combinations of monsters that may be in battles against each other or working together to attack you. The levels will often have hidden secrets, from stashes of loot to hidden vaults and numerous tricks and traps that can work for or against you; I even noticed monsters using the traps against me. As you descend the dungeon, it generally will get more difficult, but the real threat is what boss enemies are hidden, planning and building their strength. Some named monsters will build forces and attack the town, so if you can’t advance fast enough and stop their plans, you’ll have to move to town defense and hope too much damage isn’t done.
Much like the dungeons, the equipment you can find in Din’s Curse is numerous and highly varied, but I quickly found the process of identifying equipment tedious. Thankfully there are times when you stumble across junk for ages then hit a weapon far beyond anything you have seen and it makes life a whole lot easier. The difficulty levels of Din’s Curse can be customized, from slaughtering low-level enemies to living in cursed worlds fighting superior forces. Luckily for such challenges, you can also play in cooperative online play, developing far more strategy and tactics than possible with just a single player.
Din’s Curse has a lot of elements in common with Soldak’s previous games, but it also introduces quite a bit of new gameplay and a lot of surprises. For fans of the action-RPG genre, the different style of gameplay and tricky enemy AI attempts to keep the genre fresh; the class combinations also could easily keep some people occupied for quite some time. The randomness of almost every element present in the game, for me, is a bit of a letdown; but then again, I’m a huge sucker for a persistent world and the story that goes with it.