Necropolis: Brutal Edition (PC) Review

By Athanasios 17.11.2016

Review for Necropolis: Brutal Edition on PC

Soulsborne games. All fun. All dark in theme and setting. All oh-dear-Lord-of-Cinder-Gwyn tough. Now, take the battle mechanics and crushing difficulty of these titles, have it all take place in a procedurally generated maze, and add a permadeath system, and… Necropolis: Brutal Edition! Sounds like a swell idea for a rogue-like? Maybe, but this should probably spend some more time in the oven, and here's why.

Basically a dungeon crawler rogue-like, Necropolis: Brutal Edition has the player hacking, slashing, and looting, and trying to keep on going deeper and deeper into a procedurally generated labyrinth without dying, because death resets everything, whether you have played for five minutes or five hours. Wait, though. Hardcore, Dark Souls-esque challenge, and a permadeath system? How on Earth can this be fun? Well, as a concept it can be since, after all, half the pleasure in rogue-likes is the tension that the fear of death creates - something that makes people get addicted to having "one more try."

Screenshot for Necropolis: Brutal Edition on PC

Unfortunately, the execution leaves a lot to be desired. For starters, it's all insanely repetitive. Kill enemies that, after a while, all start to feel the same (since they can go down with pretty much the same few "tricks"), collect loot, craft consumables (in-dungeon, thankfully), and keep repeating all this to the end of time, or the end of your character - a monotonous experience that owes a lot to its randomly generated levels.

This is a mechanic that, depending on the game, can improve or destroy the overall experience. In titles like Diablo, for example, that works to its benefit, because the fun mostly revolves around the action and the looting, not the level design. Necropolis, however, should probably have handcrafted levels akin to those in Dark Souls, mainly because it would add a layer of progression and make the players feel as if they were actually going somewhere.

Screenshot for Necropolis: Brutal Edition on PC

Rogue-likes tend to give some sort of reward for when death inevitably comes; a reward that can make the next play-through a bit easier, and, thus, offer some incentive to try a bit harder next time you start your trek. Necropolis provides magical codexes, which are basically passive perks… and that's all. Not that interesting, right? Not to mention that only one can be equipped per game…

Another problem is the fact that, besides battles being boring, they also feel somewhat… unfair. It's not that fighting doesn't require skill, but it's surely far from the level of polish that FromSoftware's creations have. Even worse? This was clearly made with a co-op mind-set. While dying in solo play means… well, dying… playing with a bunch of friends allows for resurrecting each other free of charge, and indefinitely! Not to mention that the challenge doesn't get boost when multi-playing.

Screenshot for Necropolis: Brutal Edition on PC

There are a lot of small or big issues here and there, like how items don't have helpful explanations, forcing Wiki-hunting, or how, even in the current Brutal Edition, there are lots of bugs and - light - frame-rate drops, or in how the price doesn't reflect the content at hand. Even in terms of audio-visuals, where Necropolis seems to be at its best with its striking low-poly look and haunting/mystical OST, it all soon gets boring, because of a severe lack of variety.

What was the thing that actually made the author of this review rage quit after a few hours, though? The answer is the frustrating controls. Bad? Not exactly, but they are somewhat annoying (especially for fans of a keyboard and mouse), partly because they still need a little bit of tweaking, but mainly due to some really awkward button placements, especially when it comes to dodging. "Well then, just re-map the keys, you moron!" Well, that's the problem, fellow angry reader, you can't; you can't re-map the keys in a videogame as hard as Dark Souls

Screenshot for Necropolis: Brutal Edition on PC

Cubed3 Rating

4/10
Rated 4 out of 10

Subpar

Necropolis had a somewhat awful start, with a product that was repetitive, buggy, and very rough around the edges. The problem is that, even after its recent Brutal Edition release, many of its flaws still persist. Repetitiveness and monotony, unrewarding challenge, bugs and glitches, an unfair for soloists focus on co-operative play, and still no way to re-map the controls. Ultimately, this is simply not worth the price-tag.

Developer

Harebrained Schemes

Publisher

Harebrained Schemes

Genre

Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  4/10

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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