Achilles: Legends Untold Early Access Review

Achilles: Legends Untold brings the “early ones” to Early Access. Across the board, this action RPG is packed with ideas that feel like they’re still an epic journey away from being ready. Combat, which has soul-like ambitions, is competent but a bit shallow; The first tier of this world looks nice and is full of monsters to kill but nothing worth exploring. and the story – apart from its interesting restatement of the death of Achilles by a well-placed arrow from Paris of Troy – is trivial and its characters are memorized. And while it should go without saying that Early Access games are buggy, Achilles has more than its fair share at launch, even by that standard. In its current state, there is nothing legendary to talk about.

The fanciful addition to the myth is that after being killed, our titular demigod goes to Tartarus and meets Hades, where they agree it would be in their mutual interest to allow Achilles to return to the surface so he can exact his revenge; In return, Hades is given a superhuman tool to carry out his bidding. Familiar characters like King Agamemnon encounter the newly undead Achilles and aren’t always happy to see him. It’s a good start, but the other characters and story elements introduced so far are largely forgotten, and much of the dialogue is downright disappointing.

After his rebirth, Achilles is thrown into a colorful, verdant Greece, with the first parts of his new life spent finding Hades’ missing nephew, Hephestus, the god of fire. Once reunited, the three hatch a plan: they will restore the link between Greece and the underworld so the shambling undead can return to their homeland. Sounds good to me, what could go wrong?

It’s incredibly easy to get lost along the way.

From then on I’ve been running from dungeon to dungeon a few times, collecting doodads for so and so, all in pursuit of Hades’ grand plan – which takes about five hours to reach the current finish line. This was more of a hassle than necessary as without a mini-map, combined with the great distance between these locations, it’s incredibly easy to get lost. You can eventually fast travel between shrines, but since there’s also no proper world map, it’s impossible to know where they are in relation to each other. An example of the problems this causes: When you first start your adventure, you unlock a Forge, which should be your early go-to place for upgrading and buying gear… but you can’t teleport to it. So until I could remember exactly where it was among many similar looking ruins and rocks, I spent more time looking for it than crafting it.

This confusion can double for dungeons. The second, Temple of Cronus, changed its layout every time I died in it – but only slightly, with some sections being exactly as I left them, sandwiched between new sections I’d never seen before. This was an annoying and cruel punishment, causing what should have been a simple reboot to take so much longer, and one that could easily be palatable through a map or pathfinding system of any kind. Contemporary games with random dungeons are almost always a linear path from one room to the next, or at least have tools to navigate them – and I didn’t realize how much I’ve missed those until now.

Rarely did my distractions bear any fruit.

All of this aimlessness is a side effect of the fact that the landscape between dungeons is surprisingly vast, full of beautiful landscapes and diverse locations like rugged mountains, dark temples, and rolling hills… but there’s also nothing worth exploring off the beaten path to go discover. Perhaps expecting too much from a humble game like Achilles, but many years after games like The Witcher 3 and Breath of the Wild sparked our urge to explore by filling their vast open worlds with interesting side quests or puzzle dungeons. I was disappointed with what I found. Rarely did my distractions bear any fruit, and when they did, it was only to add a new stealthy weapon to my arsenal of swords, larger swords, spears, and shields. That might be one thing when you have an exciting loot system, but right now Achilles doesn’t have that. That being said, a lot of the items you find are different types of health potions or status heals, most of which I’ve never bothered with because (yet) things like poisoning are never presented as a real threat to you.

Top 10 Soullikes

As you would expect from a game in the mold of Diablo, as you level up you can unlock special abilities through a constellation-shaped skill tree. An item lets you throw your shield early, but spending fate (i.e.: souls) gives you things like parries and a weird “stealth” drain attack that allows you to drain life force from unsuspecting enemies from afar, in Style of Legacy of Cain. These have the potential to mix up the combat, but the progression could use an overhaul because right now, unlocking the cool stuff requires a pretty serious investment in this resource, bypassing the grid of points on the various star maps, with lots of upgrades from uninteresting ones Passive skills necessary to progress to the next major active skill. So you can expect to spend a lot of time with what you have before you get the chance to try something new.

In the meantime, there are some disposable items you can pick up and use to spice up your offensive game plan. One of my favorites was the explosive Greek Flame – basically a grenade that deals a lot of damage to enemies in an area while also setting them on fire. I also got a ton of mileage out of Groggus Darts, which slow down enemies and give you wider attack windows. If Achilles had taken these to archery, Paris would have had a much harder time getting that lucky shot.

Speaking of luck, it’s going to take you a lot to navigate Legends Untold’s bugs, which pose a bigger problem than most Early Access games I’ve played. Almost everything about this game is currently janky in some form. Enemy AI is error prone; invisible walls sometimes prevent you from returning to areas you were just in; The lock-on system often ignores enemies within stab range in favor of those off-screen. Cutscene audio cutouts; and (you guessed it) more. Again, this is early access, but the price of playing Achilles isn’t all cash, it’s sometimes a Sisyphean test of your patience. And in its current state, that’s a price I wouldn’t recommend. Achilles: Legends Untold Early Access Review

Fry Electronics Team

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