Achilles: Legends Untold Beta Hands-On Preview – Sing the Rage of Peleus’ Son

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With Demon's Souls, From Software took the world by storm, refining the action role-playing game formula seen in their King's Field series to present a game that has become seminal, spawning not only multiple sequels but also an entire genre that is colloquially known as Soulslike.

Many developers attempted to make their own Soulslike game, like Team Ninja with Nioh and Deck13 with The Surge. Still, while solid enough, most of these games never really tried to present the experience differently, as they all featured the same third-person view seen in the From Software titles.

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Achilles: Legends Untold by Dark Point Games tries to set itself apart from the competition, attempting to literally use another perspective with the isometric camera view. It remains to be seen whether this will work, but it's undeniable that the developer has a decent foundation to work with.

The game's current Beta, which precedes the Early Access launch planned for the second quarter of 2022, allows players to try out a small slice of Achilles: Legends Untold, including boss battles and a few sidequests. Outside of the isometric camera, the game plays like any other Soulslike on the market, with Stamina-based combat, light and heavy attacks assigned to the right shoulder buttons, a limited amount of healing items, and enemies that hit extremely hard. Some quick tutorials teach players the basics as soon as Achilles jumps down his ship, ready to face the Trojans and whatever other hellish creature will bar his way, but Soulslike players will feel themselves right at home and will soon dodge and block attacks, retaliating accordingly with relative ease. Once enemies are defeated, Achilles gets their Souls, which can be used at save points, the Hades Temples, to improve his stats in a rather basic Skill Tree.

As any Souls series fan can plainly see, Achilles: Legends Untold doesn't really attempt to do anything truly different in terms of gameplay, as it is an almost 100% recreation of a From Software game with a different setting and isometric view. It is a solid enough effort, to be sure, but the developer will need something more to make Achilles: Legends Untold emerge as its own game and not simply as isometric Souls.

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Innovation isn't the only thing that Achilles: Legends Untold will need in the future, as the game does need plenty of tweaks. Balancing is rather bad now, with regular enemies dealing way too much damage, but controls and interface need some work too. While Achilles's movement and attack speed feel in line with that seen in older entries in the Souls series, the controls do not feel particularly responsive, and the main in-game interface badly needs repositioning. In a game with Stamina-based combat, an interface at the bottom of the screen is a big no-no. However, these issues are easy to fix, so we expect to see improvements in these areas as development proceeds.

Achilles: Legends Untold has the potential to be an extremely enjoyable Soulslike, and the developer already has a solid foundation to build upon. Without the right tweaks and a healthy dose of unique features, the game risks becoming only an isometric take on an established, but there is enough time for Dark Point Games to make the proper adjustments and ensure Achilles' legend will be one to tell for years to come among gamers.

Achilles: Legends Untold launches on Steam as an Early Access title in Q2 2022.

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