Indiewatch: Din's Curse and Expansion Demon War - The Best ARPG You Never Heard of
Welcome to Indiewatch, a series where every Friday, we take a look at a good, yet unknown, unappreciated, and overlooked indie title. In order for a game to be covered on Indiewatch, it must fit into the following criteria:
- It must be an indie game
- It was not covered (or it was given minimal coverage) by mainstream video game websites and YouTubers
- It must be good! Nothing below 7 out of 10 will be covered.
This week we are taking a look at the unknown yet brilliant ARPG Din's Curse and it's expansion Demon War. Din's Curse is developed and published by Soldak Entertainment. It released March 31st, 2010 on Steam for Windows, Linux, Mac and SteamOS. It later released on GOG.com.
The expansion Demon War released just under a year later February 22nd, 2011 adding in a new array of features. Din's Curse takes a different approach to the standard ARPG formula, creating a new and exciting experience for a genre that is often afraid to change.
Cursed to live a second life
After selfishly squandering your life while causing misfortune to others around you, Din champion of the gods has cursed you to live a second life of service. To redeem yourself, you must help the towns in the western plains of Aleria, and save them from the brink of annihilation.
Only then you are forever doomed to wander the earth alone for eternity. The plot to Din's Curse isn't the primary focus of the game. Unlike most ARPG's where the game follows a plot from start to finish, Din's Curse is more about the gameplay and creating various worlds.
It is one of those games that you play for its unique take on the ARPG as opposed to a deep and complex storyline.
Choose a character class or make your own
Upon starting Din's Curse you get to choose from six different classes, each with three different skill trees or specialities as they are called in the game. There is an additional option of the Hybrid class. The hybrid is a mixture of two different classes. You get to choose two specialities from your chosen classes leaving you with two skill trees as opposed to three.
In total between the six standard classes and the combinations that are possible with a hybrid, there is a total of 141 classes within the standard game. This gives the game an endless amount of replayability along with tonnes of varying characters to change up the gameplay.
As far as character classes go Titan Quest is about the only ARPG that has come close to this amount of possibilities, due to using a similar system to that of the hybrid here in Din's Curse. There are also numerous modifiers to choose from that offer new challenges and change up the gameplay for that character. There is plenty of choices to be had and if you are looking for such a game, then Din's Curse is sure to please.
You choose how the town is made
Before starting your adventures in a town, you get to choose what way it is going to be. From its size to its difficulty to the level of the monsters, the choice is yours. It is a mechanic that allows you change things up with every new town you arrive at.
While there is a good bit of variety to choose from, there is also the procedurally generated modifiers for each town too. The modifiers affect how the dungeon and town acts. For example, an infested town will have far more spider webs in its dungeon or a heroic town will cause the townsfolk to be far more heroic. That is just two example of the many that are on offer.
As with most games of this genre, each of the towns, dungeons and their layouts are entirely procedurally generated, allowing for a new experience every time. There are also lots of different types of dungeons, each with their own variations of design and dangers, resulting in a refreshing experience each time.
As you progress through the town and its dungeon, new events happen, causing things to change. These events include monsters raiding the town, monsters starting an uprising, lesser monsters becoming bosses and so on.
If there was to be any complaint the procedural generation it would be the quests. You will from time to time have quests fail because the procedural generator causes an event to happen. For example, I had a quest to avenge someone's death that failed because the monster I needed to kill changed somehow.
With that said, it is a minor annoyance that doesn't affect the overall gameplay. Between the character classes and combinations, the town options and the procedural generation of quests and events, no town is ever the same, providing a unique and exciting experience every time.
Good old-fashioned ARPG gameplay
While everything else is quite unique to Din's Curse the general gameplay is good old-fashioned ARPG. You progress through dungeons, killing tonnes of enemies, collecting procedurally generated loot of varying rarity and power, completing quests and levelling up your stats and skills. It is the only thing that it has in common with other ARPG games.
Throughout your adventures, you can be sure to find rare items, legendary items and item sets, all with a variety of bonuses attached to them. The same can be said for the enemies too, which come in all forms of rarity and powers. There is also a player stash available along with a shared stash allowing you to transfer items between your different characters.
The gameplay of Din's Curse is very much a case of why fix something that isn't broken. It doesn't do much different to other games of the genre but instead changes how its characters are created and how the worlds are built. If you like the gameplay of ARPG's, you are going to enjoy Din's Curse just as much.
The Demon War Expansion
The expansion for Din's Curse, titled Demon War is essentially an addition to a whole array of new things, hence why I am reviewing the two together. There isn't enough to say to make a review on its own. These include a brand new class the Demon Hunter with new skills, new quests, new enemies, new NPC interaction, new world modifiers, new environments and much more.
While it does little to change up the general formula of Din's Curse it does add in a whole bunch of new possibilities that really make it a worthwhile purchase. It is very much a case of, if you want more options and more procedural generation goodness, then you will love what the expansion has to offer.
The best ARPG you probably never played
Din's Curse is the definition of what it is to be an indie, that being throw out the tradition formulas and make a game the way you want it to be. Din's Curse does exactly that and does it very well. Its visuals make it look like a far older game and its animations are a bit amateur and rough around the edges, to say the least. But it is, after all, an indie game and I can forgive those shortcomings.
Those minor issues aside, Din's Curse is an outstanding game that changes up the formula of the ARPG genre. It is a unique experience that cannot be compared to any other title of its genre. If you love ARPG's the only reason you may not like this, is if visuals are an important factor for you.