Friday, February 25, 2022

Death's Door

 Death's Door


Solid Zelda-like game. Simple yet polished. The story is similar to fable yet original (no princesses to save). It improves on the classic Zelda formula in many ways:
  • It keeps things simple even as the difficulty ramps-up. Enemies always remove one point of health when they hit the main character. There are no armor that reduce the damage taken or enemy attacks that remove more than one point of health. Fights get progressively more chaotic as enemy attack become harder to dodge, but these attacks are telegraphed so even if the game seems hard sometimes, once you learn enemy attack patterns and how to avoid them then it's not too hard to overcome these challenges.  There were two bosses I didn't figure how to beat without looking up online guide, but in general I could just learn the bosses behavior by trying again and again.
  • As progress is made in dungeons, shortcuts are permanently unlocked to navigate the dungeons and some harder encounters will not respawn after dying if they are completed, but plants used healing do respawn after death. So even if you die often, as long make some progress, it's not too frustrating and its possible to progress even when struggling.
  • An other thing is that new enemies change when you progress through the different areas of the game. So this keeps the experience fresh. Its also not tedious to travel between different areas as there is a central hub that connects all the different areas of the game.
  • There are many hidden secrets that contain resources that can make the main character slightly stronger. These could make a slight difference if you were missing just a few hits to finish a boss but overall these are not as important as in Zelda games. For example in this game you start with 4 health points and can unlock up to two additional health points (as far as I know). Where as in some Zelda game you can get up to 30 hearts in total. So upgrades help a lot; 6 health points is 50% more health points but learning the patterns of enemy attacks is more important. To find these hidden secrets you don't need to bomb random walls or burn random bushes. There are always visual hints so it is probably possible to find everything if you are observant, but there are additional hints found on items or given by characters in the game. Many times a reward is visible from the beginning it's just not obvious how to reach it or you have to remember its location and get it later. Sometimes when you lead the character behind a structure, the camera will turn and reveal a secret door or something, so exploration is rewarded. Whenever I found an empty room I knew something was up since usually the level design is always very dense and thoughtful, I don't remember any area that was completely useless.
I played on windows, the game is include with the Xbox game pass subscription.

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