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Played in 2023
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Look at this moron (me) dropping this DLC for four months thinking he had hours of game to play through, only to finally beat it in less than 2.
That aside, I think it says something that even several months after I stopped playing Grim Dawn broadly, and Ashes of Malmoth specifically, I could still recall a lot of fun moments, be it boss fights or just general ambiance of the levels. I definitely undersold the base game as having a "bland" aesthetic, because Grim Dawn has a beautiful blend of Blizzard-esque stylisation combined with post-apocalyptic fantasy, where spooky tentacle mosters, ghosts, bugs, knights and cowboys roam around giving the stink eye to the last remnants of civilization.
And in terms of gamedesign, AoM feels like a straight continuation and evolution of the base game, and also like it should've been the actual end of it. Grim Dawn ended on such a damp fart of a bossfight that not much would be required to improve it, but trudging through a factory where flesh monsters and cultists torment innocents into becoming a part of some fucked up other-wordly mega-structure of suffering DEFINITELY is a better conclusion to a story like Grim Dawn than the original final chapter ever was. Funnily enough, Ashes of Malmouth's ending suffers from some of the same problems as the original, like how defeating the final boss is rewarded by middling loot and a humble congratulatory speech from the big guy at the nearest human resistance camp. Not a cutscene, not a change in scenery, just a "We Did it Guys!" and an invitation to do all the grindy bounties and sidequests. The boss itself was awesome, but overall it's still kinda weak ngl.
But the ending is very much an outlier, with the beginning and middle being a straight upgrade on everything in the base game. AoM really focuses on just a few, tonally similar concepts for levels and enemies, thus being a bit more concistent while staying varied. There are some fun special enemy encounters, and the new totem system is a fun little activity to do while exploring or backtracking through already explored areas.
Also holy shit was it fun punching Cuthulu monsters and forest spirits in the face, I'm so glad I did AoM with a Shield Guy + Occultist combo. DON'T DO A SUMMONER BUILD THO, WORST MISTAKE OF MY LIFE
I played around an hour of this and I can't anymore.
After the success of Genshin Impact it really seems like Chinese MMO devs really homed-in on games from complex genres that simplify it to the point of blandness, where no-skill mechanics and systems are held together by FOMO, good art-direction and a somewhat big production value for the boring story cutscenes.
I love ragging on Genshin for bad female character design, where every woman (including children) should have either their legs, chest, belly or arms naked, but Torchlight Infinite is redicilous in this department: scantaly clad women with insanely unrealistic proportions run around in gigantic armour that might look cool, but doesn't really fit their character and is hilariously objectifying. At least here the art-direction is really strong; the spalsh-art specifically looks amazing.
Speaking of characters, again, like Genshin, this game doesn't allow you to have a character, even your pre-made character has no character. You're just an (arguably) cool-looking archetype for the typical RPG classes. Except here even the classes don't really matter, they play pretty similarly and, again, this game has no depth. You can only equip 5 skills on your hotbar, and they don't really matter (at least in the beginning), because you can't die and you do insane damage even to bosses.
Maybe on mobile it's fine as a sort of turn-your-brain-off game to play after a 12-hour shift, but man, why does it have to be one or the other? Why are free2play MMO-ARPGS either obtuse and extremely time-consuming (PoE), pay2win kid casinos (Diablo Immortal), or this braindead toddler's first ARPG of a game? Can't we just have a fun multiplayer ARPG where you can actually make choices and challenge yourself somewhat? That's such bullshit
Why'd I even play this during Next-Fest