Friday, 23 June 2017 00:00

Rezrog Review

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Rezrog is a turn-based RPG with roguelike elements. My initial thought on seeing the setup of the dungeons was a blend of Diablo (I, especially) and a turn-based dungeon crawler; it has that Diablo feel, with its dimly-lit rooms and corridors. The premise and execution of these styles are implemented well, if you set aside the bugginess that unfortunately creeps in and distorts an otherwise pleasant experience.

The Classes Have Issues

There are seven classes from which to choose. You can take one at a time to a dungeon, and if you let a player die in battle, you must send in someone else to rescue the imprisoned character. I tended to prefer the ranged classes of Rezrog, since you can fall back and attack from a distance — this tactic doesn’t work however with any enemy whose attack is ranged. I wasn’t much a fan of the summoner here, which is unfortunate since a summoner-type class is a personal favorite. For some reason, your basic attack consumes mana — or, the game glitches and prevents you from using a basic attack, stating you don’t have enough mana. If you run out of mana potions when using them to restore health, you’re unable to attack, and are forced to run around and dodge the enemy. Somehow, despite not being able to use it, my mana dropped below zero. Mana does not seem to restore on its own when a turn passes. I was unable to use a potion — the game informed me I did not have enough mana to do so. Additionally, potions act like a skill that has a cooldown when in combat, something for which you should plan.

I tried the warlock. No issue, but he suffered the same fate of the summoner and the warrior — all this on the first level. Time to use the archer and rescue them, who, at this point, is at level three while the rest of my party remains at one. A character doesn’t keep gained experience if he falls in battle, so I must either rely on my archer or farm for items for my other characters to ensure that each person is more or less as powerful as everyone else. Nor do you keep a skill you’ve acquired in a run if the class you’re using dies. One might say that your weakest link limits your team. The judicious plan seemed to lie in the hope that one character could carry the rest of the team (but what if that person is captured and needs rescuing?), or to focus your efforts on your entire party. You might find the difficulty discouraging (and there is no way to change this setting) along with the subsequently potential grindfest. Adventuring becomes easier once you adopt tactics that work and gain familiarity with a class, but there remains the incentive to distribute your efforts.

How do you sharpen a knife?

Each dungeon has an objective to complete and a modifier that alters an aspect of the run. These modifiers range from potions having more potency, to an increase in gold a container grants. Objectives range from activating a number of levers to defeating all of the enemies in the dungeon. It seems prudent to replay a dungeon, for more gold and experience, as there seems a risk of under-leveling, and also for loot and your end-of-dungeon reward. This potential under-leveling issue stems from the likelihood that you’re probably not going to use each character in each dungeon; you might even complete the earlier ones with just one character. That character, after a few runs, is a few levels higher than the rest of your crew, who are still at level one. (Although, once I leveled my archer, she seemed to dodge an enemy’s attacks less, so a dungeon might scale slightly.)

Once you complete and exit a dungeon, you have a choice between a weapon, piece of armor, or gem box. Boxes vary in rarity and grant a random piece of equipment. The best option to obtain a full set of equipment is a gem box. These can grant accessories, such as a ring or necklace, and based on what you can equip; you have one slot for a weapon (two for the rogue), two for armor, and four for accessories. It’s smart to replay the first dungeon, as that is where a character obtains his starting equipment and two skills.

Digitally-adapted tabletop style

Besides leveling a character, you may level up a skill by using it. Once you use a skill a certain amount of times, you may then upgrade it to the next level by using gems, which are obtained as loot or bought from the trader in the tavern. What gem you need depends on the skill; archer skills that require a bow takes air gems. If you have a multicolored and multifaceted legacy gem, and gold, you can forge a legacy stat for a player, which carries over in subsequent runs in case your party dies. You cannot forge a legacy stat for a class that did not pick up that gem unless you purchase the gem storage space, which costs a staggering (for a new player) 10,000 gold. A strategy to obtain gold quickly is farming for stat boosting concoctions which can yield 1,000 or more gold, use this money for the gem storage, then transfer the gem to another player.

If your entire party falls, you must disband them, and start anew. You retain the legacy stats for each class, but that’s it; you lose any storage and skill upgrades, equipment, and gold. Whether or not you keep skill upgrades is obscured by the fact that, although the level of the skill reads one, the damage increase percentage-wise remains, as if you’ve upgraded the skill, until the next time you launch the title. Leaving a dungeon early does not result in a penalty; this option proved useful when a glitch prevented me from moving anywhere or performing an action after activating a skill. You lose what you’ve gained during a run if you exit early.
The detail and background setting of the dungeons provide an intriguing and suspenseful, yet homey, feel. Navigating your way through a dimly lit dungeon, as sources of light cast your shadow upon the wall (and spectacularly well, I might add), not knowing what dangers might lurk around the corner... Rezrog is a good fit for a stormy night when you’re looking for entertainment, with its digitally-adapted tabletop style.

At the start of the game, though, there are issues. The layout of the early-game tavern is unintuitive — I kept wanting to double-click a character to bring up the inventory-equip and stat-allocation screen, and also to click on the door to go to the world map (as there is a huge map situated behind that door). It’s good that Rezrog autosaves, as otherwise I would have had to restart from the beginning a few times. You may, in exchange for gold, purchase slots for a shared stash and store items, but, these items disappear if you exit the application. There’s also an issue with activating a potion: The Q key uses a health potion even if you assign a mana potion to that slot in the user interface; the W key acts similarly for a mana potion regardless of your changes, though a health drink is also consumed if you slot one in. This seems to be an issue with hotkeys, but I couldn’t find a way to configure the hotkeys or what’s in them, so I couldn’t rectify the issue.


The Verdict

There are noticeable problems that prevented fully enjoyment of Rezrog, especially the mana consumption/potion issue. I initially thought the balancing of stats needed adjusting, for I could blow through a dungeon with ease with an archer, yet struggle with other classes. But, the stats are balanced. Despite the issues, Rezrog is an enjoyable experience in its current state, if you stray away from problematic classes and can avoid a glitch mid-run until the bugs are all worked out — but, the frequency that a glitch occurs makes this borderline unplayable. This RPG shows promise, and it’ll be great, a go-to, even, once fixed.

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Chris Hubbard

A fan of RPGs above other genres, Chris has been playing video games for as long as he can remember. Some of the games that had the most influence on his gaming preferences have been the Final Fantasy and the Diablo series. More recently, most of Chris' gaming time has been going toward Gems of War and Clicker Heroes (give it a try, it can be addicting), along with open-world RPGs such as Skyrim and ESO. He's also dabbled with RPG Maker software, and it is a goal of his to someday create an RPG.


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