ELDERBORN is something I’ve been looking at for a while, what seems to be a first-person dungeon crawler where you fight a bunch of skeleton creatures. I at first thought in my head, because I’ve been so used to this genre by now, a procedural-generated rouge-like, but my time with ELDERBORN showed something else.
No this is not a rouge-like, but a first-person action game where you’re raiding these interconnected temples, with gold, traps, possible secrets and a bunch of ghouls to fight. When it comes down to combat, you can dash around, traverse around the terrain, slash, and kick your way through these demons containing orbs all over their body, representing their health bar.
In the demo I experienced, I traveled through tight canyons, slicing these ghouls on-screen, but the further I progressed, the more enemy types, environment variation and overall gameplay opened up. So far, there were shielded ghouls you had to kick for countering, ones who fire spears at you from a distance, forcing you to guard or dodge as their were currently no ranged weapons, and quite a few more.
The craziest part is that you’ll be fighting hordes that mash-up these enemy types together, keeping you focused, especially when you’ve got small regenerating health. I did end up dying quite a bit, but at the very least, you aren’t punished too much. Along with enemies, you’ll find fountains to drink from as little mini-checkpints so you don’t have to be sent back too far. Combat may become a prime factor, but there’s some key card-inspired puzzles and gold that at this point, doesn’t really lead to anything.
According to the plans in this Early Access phase, there will be a purpose for collecting and much more, so I’m interested in seeing how the exploration cooperates with the bread and butter of ELDERBORN. Speaking of which, yes, there’s some minor annoyance with not being able to hit a ranged enemy from a distance, but that doesn’t detract from the satisfaction of slashing creatures or kicking them off high areas.
I had three interesting weapons on me that played out their own attacks, special attacks and environment abilities. Some secrets can be found by smashing through an unstable wall with a hammer, indicating arsenal can have multiple uses. I just had fun experimenting between that, the thorn claws and my starter blade. Like the recent Doom, you get some nice heavy metal music to go with your monster slicing/environment maneuvering.
There’s so much potential for this to be an amazing game. Right now, I only ask for A.I. improvement with the ghouls not jumping down or climbing up, making it easy to get away from them. It wouldn’t hurt to have a crossbow for those ranged targets, since it does get a little irritating to have them firing at you from a very far distance.
Or, maybe have a difficulty setting since I think there’s more to enjoy than just being tough. You could even add a little more heath to the player possibly.
I would like to know what the gold can do, either upgrading or purchasing new gear, because they don’t have a purpose in build. More ways to kill demons would be great too, maybe slicing off body parts or doing finishers. Not just more ways to kill, I really want to know what you can do with the other weapons far as exploration.
The last thing I can immediately think of would be on the options menu to detect your PC’s graphical capabilities. This game is too beautiful for my wimpy laptop to handle on its default settings.
Right now, ELDERBORN is looking very promising for making a modern approach to another old-school first-person action game and I’m excited to see what becomes of it when this leaves Early Access in 2019.
Looking forward to it!