Iratus: Lord of the Dead (PC) Preview

By Athanasios 10.08.2019

Review for Iratus: Lord of the Dead on PC

Iratus: Lord of the Dead doesn't hide its influences. Developer Unfrozen flaunts them with pride, but more importantly, dignity, as despite the heavy similarities with Darkest Dungeon, and some light ones with Dungeon Keeper, it avoids feeling like a shameless rip-off - oh, and like in the latter, you are actually playing the bad guy. A necromancer, to be precise, who doesn't want to explore a dungeon, but escape it… with the help of his undead buddies, of course. Deeply tactical, pleasantly dark, and, occasionally, enjoyably corny, this rogue-like RPG will test your mettle.

This begins with a slideshow that tells the tale of Iratus; an imprisoned necromancer, who managed to exit his temporary tomb, and can now unleash his undead horde to the world. It isn't something special, but it does what an intro is supposed to, quickly explaining what you need to do, and setting the mood for the rest of the experience - while the marvellously evil voice of Stefan Weyte excites that little corner within you that's still a teenage metalhead stuck in the early '90s. Yes, Iratus: Lord of the Dead is corny, but in an awesome, unironical way. Russian developer, Unfrozen, understands the silliness of it all, and doesn't attempt any form of mockery.

Screenshot for Iratus: Lord of the Dead on PC

Borrowing a quote from Hugo Martin, creative director at id Software, when asked about Doom (2016), "it's horror for the whole family." It looks cool too! Your rotting units (eww) are, surprisingly, the most varied, colourful, and all around good-looking in here, and while their "mannequin" attack animation feels a bit cheap, their idle movement gives them a nice, pseudo-3D look. Unfortunately, while the sound quality is great, the music, as well as the necromancer's constant comments are repetitive to the point of aggravation.

As for your quest, it's divided between your "hub," the dungeon, and the actual battles that will ensue in there. The hub is where Iratus can prepare his forces; "craft" minions by using the body parts of his fallen enemies, and even upgrade them; add spells to his arsenal, and place items on his inventory that provide buffs; engage in some alchemy to create new items or better parts for crafting minions; and, finally, build structures that provide all sorts of goodies, but require "sacrificing" specific units to do so, and leaving others behind to "work" on them.

Screenshot for Iratus: Lord of the Dead on PC

The dungeon is a multi-branching map where you choose which path you'll follow, with "tiles" of various types that range from those that provide you with some resources or equipment (free or otherwise), and battle titles. Currently, this is probably the least entertaining, as well as least challenging part of Iratus: Lord of the Dead, as it is way too simple in design, especially when compared to the hub and battle segments, in which you have the ability to make numerous choices that will greatly affect the outcome of your adventure. Luckily, prepared or not, swords, spells, and flesh will eventually clash, and it is here, in the battlefield, that the real fun begins.

Screenshot for Iratus: Lord of the Dead on PC

All encounters are four-VS-four matches, with you having to take advantage of your units' abilities, which go beyond the typical damage/buff/debuff ones of most similar games. One interesting mechanic is 'Stress;' an enemy-only gauge that decreases with the use of certain skills, and can drive a foe insane, affecting said foe in all sorts of ways. Combat is generally a highly tactical affair, where things that die stay dead... and that applies to your undying troops as well. Yup, as this is a rogue-like game, it won't ever hold its punches.

You are expected to think every move twice; prioritise your targets; be mindful of your positioning; carefully decide party composition; methodically spend resources (and minions); and so on and forth. This is simply a great, deeply tactical, challenging rogue-like strategy. Its few flaws? Apart from its slightly unbalanced nature, which is pretty normal for a title still in development, there's not exactly much replay value in here, as there's only one mode and three difficulty settings, not to mention that, although a rogue-like, it plays it a bit too safe with the randomisation bit.

Screenshot for Iratus: Lord of the Dead on PC

Final Thoughts

Iratus: Lord of the Dead is a enjoyably cheesy, tough, and fun tactical rogue-like/bad-guy lair resource management, which has you playing the role of an evil Necromancer that uses the body parts of his fallen enemies to build his army of undead. Gameplay-wise, it only needs three things to become even better: an improved balance, something more than just a simple campaign, and, most importantly, a RNG that's not as… polite.

Developer

Unfrozen

Publisher

Daedalic Entertainment

Genre

Strategy

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  n/a

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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