Our Dark And Darker preview features an upcoming dungeon-crawling battle royale from IRONMACE. The game features classic RPG elements, combined with unique PvP and PvE to create a very interesting mix of mechanics that we haven’t seen before.
The game is set out to release in Q4 of 2023 and is currently in alpha testing, so the article you see before you is more of a preview than anything else. So keep that in mind, as everything discussed here is subject to change.
Story And Setting
There is no clear story to follow along in the game, but the setting we are presented with is quite interesting. It is heavily inspired by classic games such as Dungeons And Dragons, where players can choose from multiple fantasy classes.
The gameplay loop supports the setting quite a bit, as players are supposed to clear dungeons with the help of their party, or solo if they so dare, and obtain various treasures throughout their exploration of the dungeon. These treasures can then be sold off or used, provided that you make it out alive.
An actual narrative is missing for now, but that may change as the game is still yet to be fully released. The developers might add a story for players to follow as well, which might give the gameplay a sense of cohesion. But for now, we shall cover the main aspect; the gameplay in our Dark And Darker preview.
A unique assortment of systems has made the gameplay of Dark and Darker quite interesting. The main objective of the game is to venture through the depths of the Citadel in groups of three and plunder as much treasure and riches as you possibly can. While exploring these dungeons, you will come across a plethora of obstacles that will make it challenging to leave alive.
Currently, the game features six classes that you can choose from. These are the Rogue, the Fighter, the Barbarian, the Ranger, the Cleric, and the Wizard. All of these classes are fundamentally different from each other and provide unique gameplay experiences.
The Rogue focuses mainly on stealthy gameplay and picking off enemies without them noticing. The Fighter is the most straightforward character that uses a straight sword to fight, while the Barbarian is more attack-oriented that uses a heavy axe but is slow when it comes to movement speed. The Ranger utilizes a crossbow to take down foes from afar, and the wizard uses spells to make quick work of enemies. And finally, the Cleric is the resident support class in the game.
Combat in the game is pretty simple and straightforward. For the melee classes, there are three basic movements when it comes to attacking, those being left and right swings, and a simple stab. These three attacks form the basis of your offense. With that being said, the combat seems a bit too simple at times, with little variety.
Moreover, it can also feel quite clunky when you are dealing with multiple enemies at once. Ranged options are more powerful when compared to their melee counterparts as you can deal with enemies from afar, giving them little to no options for dealing with you. In addition to this, players have already developed various metas in the game that give you a better chance of winning fights. Things like crouch spamming or jumping seem to be the go-to options to evade attacks by reducing your hitbox.
Depending on your playstyle, you can build a team with your friend that has different synergies, and with a solid party composition in place, you are ready to go down into the depths. The dungeon has multiple levels that all have various riches, and to come out alive, you will have to face both enemies and other players. This is what makes Dark And Darker so interesting, as other players can actively affect your runs.
Killing other players means that you can loot them and take away all of their items. Of course, the same can be said for you as well as others can do the same to you, which is why it is recommended that you move through the dungeon as a group so that you have better odds of overcoming your foes. On top of this, Dark And Darker is actually a Battle Royale as well, taking elements from various games in the genre and incorporating them into the experience.
Just like other Battle Royale games, when you start your run, there is a shrinking field on the map that damages players that step out of it. This field shrinks as time goes on, leading to more interactions with other players. Towards the end of it, the game spawns portals that players can use to escape alive, and the main objective of the game is to loot as much as you can and survive till you can use a portal to escape. Once you are out, you can sell the treasure that you gathered to the Collector, who will buy it from you. The game also features a market where other players can buy and sell items to each other.
There is a decent variety in terms of AI-controlled enemies that you will encounter on your run as well, such as Skeletons, Spiders, and Zombies. Players have to find equipment and loot, all the while dealing with these foes, and the game focuses on first-person combat so that it can maximize immersion. The combat does take a bit of time to get used to, and it is undoubtedly the most fun when you try it out with friends.
Visuals And Performance
The game has an old fantasy aesthetic and visually it looks a bit outdated. But that isn’t to say that this is its final form, as it is currently in its alpha phase, and visuals should hopefully get polished by the time it is fully released.
When it comes to performance, the game runs very well on high settings, albeit, there are a few issues when it comes to matchmaking. The connection to the servers seems finicky and failing to connect to one seems to be pretty common. During my time with it so far, I encountered this particular issue many times. Moreover, finding matches seems to be hard in general, with a lot of waiting time involved.
Dark and Darker is an ambitious game that aims to combine a lot of different genres. Although the game is still in its alpha phase, there is a lot to play through and enjoy. For people who are fans of games such as Escape From Tarkov or other Dungeons And Dragons adventure games, this is something worth checking out and keeping an eye on.
The experience may be underwhelming for people who aren’t fans of slow-paced combat, but it should nonetheless scratch that fantasy-themed itch.
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Dark And Darker Preview
- Story And Setting
- Visuals And Performance
Dark and Darker is an ambitious game that aims to combine a lot of different genres, and although it is still in its alpha phase, there is a lot to play through and enjoy.
- Battle Royale Dungeon Crawling
- Multiple Classes With Different Abilities
- Enjoyable Multiplayer Experience.
- Unpolished Visuals
- Slow-Paced Combat
- Connectivity Issues And Waiting Times