It’s a fact, time is one of difficult adventures, products that challenge players and journeys that put nerves in compote. Tough dungeons, labyrinths to break the medulla, bosses as sticky as darons after a pretty busy trip to a club … you have to believe that the average player loves to suffer! There haven’t been Metroidvania and Souls-style journeys that much and the developers understand the message. This time, Brazilian studio Massive Work is keeping it up and trying, along with Dolmen, to drive a genre that is starting to tour. With its sci-fi storyline and claustrophobic atmosphere, it has an interesting approach to it. But whoever wants to copy out of control, is in danger of getting a menhir blow.
Dolmen wasn’t there to dazzle us with an amazing script, with lots of explosions of situation changes. His thing to him than the drama and fight against creatures that are willing to do anything to defeat the poor man you are. Commanded to investigate paranormal phenomena occurring on the mining planet Revion Prime, you discover that it is in the grip of an invasion of extraterrestrials made possible by the emergence of interdimensional portals and strange crystals. . And that’s about it. The plot then takes place in the form of documents and consoles that can be activated on the right and left. A bias like the others, but don’t expect a more scripted adventure, despite a lore that isn’t interesting.
Souls of Souls in a sci-fi universe
So we can quickly examine the plot to focus on what Dolmen is all about: its game mechanics. If you’re familiar with the Souls philosophy, you won’t be surprised by the team options from the Native town of Brazil. By retrieving genre codes souls like, the title is not there to bother with a well -established formula. Endurance, target enemies (the famous lock system), light attacks, powerful blows, dodging, blocking… we are in familiar ground! The set is more dynamic, less moving and has some interesting bestiary ideas. Now, if Dolmen is able to resonate with fans of the genre, it is also and above all for its atmosphere that comes from the chivalrous side of Souls. The software actually captures the contours of a difficult adventure in a Dead Space universe. The recurring loss of music, the frightening atmosphere, the dark sound effects… Dolmen reminds the player that he is the only one who can save himself from this alien fall. Unfortunately, most of it emerges quickly, especially since the hero is annoyingly slow!
From Software carved in stone
Here, there’s no question of camping in a corner to get your sniper (does anyone have a refrigerator?). Dolmen takes pride in the area of battles and the player has no other choice, during heavy attacks, than to wait for the end of the animation to re-launch an offensive. This simple move is very slow and there is no way to counter its opponent, so you limit yourself to faster – but not too loud – explosions. In fact, the game records the actions (the inputs in technical language) and it always happens, without care, that the corresponding button is pressed multiple times. As a result, if you don’t do anything, attacks are launched and Dolmen sometimes gives the impression of not being able to control anything – or almost. This feeling, not as good as it could be, causes interest to suffer. Fortunately for him, the Massive Work Studio work also offers rounds of shooting from a distance. The guns are strapped to the blue color energy bar. Its originality sneezing lies in the fact that this same gauge allows you to heal yourself. In fact, with a weapon, the bar discharges then rises slowly. On the contrary, if you are in bad shape and you choose to change your health, the gauge is eaten! So you have to constantly oscillate between getting big pop-guns (between 25 available) or energizing yourself by careful shots. If we add the bestiary abilities, force the player to workers its arsenal and equipment, and the relatively immersive universe of SF, the Dolmen from it above all thanks to its atmosphere.
Like a feeling of deja vu?
From there, we have to recognize that Dolmen is hard to surprise. The suggestion isn’t bad, but it’s like everything: if a genre is cut, you immediately become more in demand. During our journey, we had to fight against this slowness in animations, but also to deal with the problems of collision and poor camera adjustment. The title is still tough, sometimes very punishing, and all this gathering (wanting to favor light attacks to get speed) means we always oscillate between joy and frustration. In the end, the impression that lingers on us is the feeling of a poorly finished job, undoubtedly hastening the end of development. With such a title, the balance should be at its best and the Dolmen will clearly fish in this area.
- Energy measurement for weapons and health
- Interesting Dead Space universe
- A sometimes shocking bestiary
- A fairly complete arsenal
- Pretty generic look
- Balance review
- The slowness of some animations
- A strong impression of deja vu
- Obvious collision problems
- Annoyingly inappropriate camera
Despite all the sympathy we could feel for Dolmen, the perfect experience left us with an incomplete amount. Promoting FARMING too much (we face bosses and enemies over and over again to improve our equipment) and a very classic approach to the genre, the title Massive Work suffers from a game that is pretty strict and slow. If the adventure doesn’t lack interesting initiatives, such as gauges that affect health like weapons, the game struggles to get off to a perfect start. The atmosphere of Dead Space is well translated, but overall it remains very generic and we end up fighting against collisions and the camera to get the very high difficulty. With an update to encourage fights, we can hope for a more immersive journey, but as it stands, Dolmen doesn’t have kidneys as strong as the tenors on which they were inspired.
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