WRATH: Aeon of Ruin (PC) Preview

By Athanasios 03.12.2019

Review for WRATH: Aeon of Ruin on PC

2019 saw the return of Duke Nukem 3D's engine, via the marvellously retro, Ion Fury, courtesy of Voidpoint, with the legendary 3D Realms behind it as publisher. KillPixel's WRATH: Aeon of Ruin is a similar kind of deal (again, with 3D Realms backing it up), but with Quake's tech powering it. With a beautiful, heavy metal aesthetic, and '90s approach to action, this definitely scratches that old-school FPS itch, even on its incomplete Early Access form.

The problem with titles that claim to be ‘retro,’ is that this is usually a facade, hidden behind of which is something that doesn’t understand the era it pays homage to. WRATH: Aeon of Ruin isn’t like that. Apart from supporting widescreen resolutions, it feels like it was actually made in 1996. Running on the so-called Quake engine, this dark fantasy world on offer is simply beautiful, whether one is blasting undead and mutants in a bleak snowscape, a gothic dungeon, or a murky swamp. This is a love letter to Doom, Heretic, HeXen, and Quake, in one game.

Screenshot for WRATH: Aeon of Ruin on PC

Old-school in terms of gameplay as well, this keeps things refreshingly simple: kill everything that moves, and explore around to find weapons, ammo, helpful trinkets, and, of course, secrets. The two available levels that can be accessed via the main hub world are quite large, similar to stages found in Hexen rather than Quake, which, coupled with the decent level of challenge and lack of a quick save function (it uses consumable save states), adds a feeling of survival to it all, not to mention that there are plenty of secrets as well. This is 20% of the promised full release, and it already offers two-to-four hours of fun.

Are these two-to-four hours of fun... fun? Yes. Shooting down enemies, dismembering them, or simply blasting them into tasty gibs, looks, sounds, and, most of all, feels great. The action is super fast, you can use artefacts that, for example, temporarily make you invisible or let you gain health from kills, and the weapons, while a pretty typical assortment of boomsticks, are pretty darn good, with each having its particular use in the battlefield - they even come with a secondary firing mode; again, nothing as diverse as in Unreal, as the alternative mode is usually just a stronger version of the standard one, but you will enjoy using those. Speaking of Unreal, note that WRATH: Aeon of Ruin isn't all about shooting.

Screenshot for WRATH: Aeon of Ruin on PC

Even 2016's Doom, which gracefully combined the old with the new, was more focused on the shooting business. There's plenty of shooting to do here as well, but there's also an abundance of quieter moments; great for those who are into exploration, and getting immersed into a game world. These moments are also a great opportunity to use the hero's arm blade, whose secondary mode is quite powerful for a "starter" weapon, and even lets you make some longer and higher leaps when using it in order to reach higher places. Thankfully, WRATH never forces you to explore. You can always avoid going off the beaten path, and just head towards the next couple of unlucky fiends.

Screenshot for WRATH: Aeon of Ruin on PC

Now, the version tested is a very Early Access one. As expected, it has its fair share of problems. The speed of your character, for example, needs some tuning, as he moves a bit too fast, and feels more as is if sliding on ice. Swapping weapons also needs some work, as the game doesn't register button input, so choosing, say, the pistol while reloading the shotgun means that you have to wait for the reloading to conclude. There are a couple of smaller issues at hand, a heavy need for some rebalancing here and there, and a level design that's great for Early Access, but not for a full release. As a whole, though, this is on the right track of becoming something really good.

The developer's biggest challenge lies elsewhere, however. The main problem with this can be summed up in a single question: why play this? Fans of retro-style FPS action and looks will love this, no doubt about it. If any of you who read this wants to try something that has a similar flavour with the likes of Quake, Blood, HeXen, and Duke Nukem 3D (minus the boobies), this is a must-have. Unfortunately, you can pretty much find most of what's in WRATH in some of Doom's mods. In other words, while this is already awesome, KillPixel must try and add something special to its recipe, in order to make it more so.

Screenshot for WRATH: Aeon of Ruin on PC

Final Thoughts

Even at its current, incomplete state, WRATH: Aeon of Ruin is a very promising, retro-infused FPS; one that doesn't necessarily break new ground, but is very enjoyable none the less, especially if a fan of the genre's mid '90s era. Undoubtedly a very rough gem, the developer behind it has to do tons of work for it to really succeed. Demonic fingers crossed…

Developer

KillPixel

Publisher

3D Realms

Genre

First Person Shooter

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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