From 505 Games!
The folks at 505 Games held a VIP party the night before my scheduled appointment where I got my first taste with Underworld Ascendant, an adventure game on the PC. Visually the game looks great and it reminded me a lot of a point and click adventure game with a lot more freedom since most of the things you see in the environment can be interacted with. Wood can break and burn, wood can be stood on, and you can throw plates and other objects at certain things like enemies or switches.
I couldn’t a get a feel for the game during the mixer but I was given a second chance during my scheduled appointment with 505 games. I felt that I had a much better understanding for the controls as well as the layout for the dungeon/demo. The demo starts out with a semi tutorial level and for someone who isn’t that familiar with PC games, this was a welcome sight. Games that are a little complicated in terms of controls should have a tutorial to teach/remind the controls. You also have the narrator giving you tips to get through the demo stage as well.
I asked the developer if the narrator is going to give you tips throughout the whole game and there will be interactions from time to time but not as much as the demo interaction. During gameplay, there was an interesting mechanic where you can use arrows that have hydro properties to douse fire so enemies can’t see you. You will need to be sneak around in the dark so the enemies won’t be able to see you and hit you. There was a slight glitch in the demo where when you killed an enemy, they were sent flying all over the place, sometime looking like they were breakdancing on the ground. You could use anything you find to attack but for the most part you were attacking with good old fisticuffs. Speaking of all kinds of things you could find in the area, you could find things to heal yourself with as well such as old cheese to eat, various wands to attack with, and other items to better your situation.
During the demo you were given hydro arrows before you found the bow so you knew something was going to happen with them way before you had to do something with them. There were times that I was taking inconsistent fall damage while walking through the area. Sometimes I would fall and take the hit and then other times, I would jump to prepare for the damage and not take it. This didn’t happen everytime I fell but it really shouldn’t happen at all if the game doesn’t have fall damage programmed in and from the looks of it, it doesn’t. Another damage issue I had was when I would walk into certain gates and the bottoms of torches. The same thing could be said that damage wouldn’t happen everytime I walked into gate but it did happen when I walked into the bottom of torches.
The realism is crazy good in Underworld Ascendant and in terms of getting burn by holding torches, or walking into the bottom of torches, sometimes the realism is too real. Being able to burn wood to open a door or balance wood on top of each other and then jump on top of the wood is pretty cool and needs a steady hand to complete. However, like I said, you can take damage from holding the burning wood too long after it burns, so much so that it could kill you.
It also felt a bit too dark at times where it was tough to see what you could stand on. There was one area that I burned the door down to get into and it even took the developers a few minutes to realize where I was in the demo/get their bearings. If it’s tough for the developers at times to realize a location, it might be too dark? However, like I said the realism is amazing you can use pretty much anything to solve a problem.
That could range from plates to yourself to get the job done. I threw a plate across a pit to hit a switch but for comparison, thought I needed to use a wand to activate a switch that I needed to stand on. There are all kinds of problem-solving methods in the game; you’re just going to have to find them!