Dungeon Encounters: Square Enix’s Newest RPG is a Celebration of Old-School Active Time Battles

Dungeon Encounters is directed by Hiroyuki Ito, concerned within the creation of titles together with Final Fantasy IV, V, XII, and Tactics. I began sweating a little bit as I started enjoying as a result of not solely is he well-known for his work designing battle techniques, however I used to be advised that it was at first about its techniques, so naturally, I ready myself to need to take a lot on board. Some of you might also have an interest to know that Cattle Call, recognized for the Metal Max sequence and The Legend of Legacy, dealt with its improvement.

Not a sport with lush visuals and results or a deep, engrossing story, however a turn-based, numbers-focused, bare-bones RPG of types. IGN Japan had the chance to attempt it out earlier than launch, so listed below are our preliminary impressions.

Dungeon Encounters Screenshots

This dungeon crawler RPG includes forming a get together of as much as 4 characters and delving into the depths of a board-game-style sq. grid map. Though the dungeon is divided into squares, you are capable of deal with exploring and combating your means throughout maps with out having to fret about techniques like stamina or starvation. As you progress down flooring, the maps get larger and the enemies get more durable.

Stepping on one of the numbered squares discovered alongside a map triggers both a battle or an occasion. Think of these numbers as replacements for enemy symbols or treasure chests, with black numbers representing battles and white numbers resulting in occasions. Almost like a sinister model of snakes and ladders.

Despite the board game-like layout, these aren't linear dungeons, with maps containing many branching paths.

Despite the board game-like structure, these aren’t linear dungeons, with maps containing many branching paths.

The sport’s easy battle system options bars that fill based on every allied and enemy character’s pace. Once a bar is full, that character turns into capable of act. Some of you could know this as an energetic battle system, a half of Final Fantasy starting with FFIV. Though attribute-based weaknesses and useful resource administration for highly effective offensive or therapeutic methods and spells are generally present in RPG battle techniques, this sport makes use of neither attributes nor MP and never even objects! What you will see that, although, are easy but deep slugfests.

What makes the battles on this sport stand out are the three values that each enemies and allies have: bodily protection (a protect that absorbs bodily harm), magical protection (a protect that absorbs magical harm), and HP (which of course means defeat for allies or enemies if it reaches zero).

Physical and magical protection stats are comparatively in style in RPGs, however in Dungeon Encounters they act as shields that take harm in place of HP. In different phrases, taking bodily harm from swords and bows will first scale back your bodily protection, and your HP solely begins taking harm as soon as that protection reaches 0. The identical applies for magical harm, so you may need to first whittle away an enemy’s magical protection if you wish to defeat them with magical harm. What’s extra, extra harm usually would not carry over. Even if an enemy is right down to 1 bodily protection and 1 HP, you may have to assault twice to defeat them even with a 200-damage bodily assault.

Each character solely has two sorts of assaults at most, additional complicating your choices in battle. Physical and magical assaults have totally different ranges of effectiveness in opposition to totally different enemies, requiring you to provide some consideration to how your get together’s assaults are balanced. Also, whereas MP might not exist on this sport, multi-target assaults and tricky-to-use random harm assaults drive you to make every easy alternative with nice care.

During my time enjoying, I appeared to get moderately good outcomes with a get together of characters who every had one bodily assault and one magical assault, nevertheless it felt like a fairly fundamental technique that anybody would provide you with, and one I doubt would preserve being as efficient as you progress by means of the sport. Making you assume and switching issues up is the truth that not all enemies may be approached in the identical means: flying enemies can solely be broken with ranged bodily assaults like bows and weapons or with magical assaults, enemies with petrifying assaults can utterly disable your get together members. As a end result I started to get the sensation that the range of nasty and fierce enemy assaults would solely develop. One assault particularly absolutely drained the motion gauge of all its targets, trapping me in a loop when its consumer appeared alongside different enemies. You’ll undoubtedly have to pay shut consideration to the order by which you’re taking down your foes to keep away from sticky conditions.

Another essential level to notice is that whereas your bodily and magical defensive shields are reset after every battle, your HP stays the identical. Not solely that, however only a few methods exist to revive your HP, making it essential to effectively navigate every battle whereas taking as little harm as attainable.

An example of a map puzzle.

An instance of a map puzzle.

Just as essential to Dungeon Encounters as its battles is its exploration. As famous earlier, gamers progress down maps of squares, some of which include numbers. Though black numbers symbolize enemy encounters, white numbers set off occasions that profit the participant. These may be a huge quantity of issues: retailers the place you should purchase and promote tools; possibilities to get well HP, standing illnesses, defeated allies and extra; information on particular enemies; treasure that gives new objects; new learnable talents; and puzzles to resolve.

Abilities are a important half of this sport, starting from HP restoration and protection in opposition to particular standing illnesses to people who assist in exploration like an expanded map show. Using these requires Ability Points, however these are gained as you journey throughout the map, organically encouraging exploration.

Puzzles might present the coordinates of an merchandise after a string of questions are answered, whereas others ask you to infer the placement of a hidden merchandise based mostly on the form of a map, including some additional pleasure to what might in any other case threat turning into uninteresting exploration.

I solely had a possibility to play the start of this sport, the primary 19 of 99 flooring to be precise. Even so, I discovered myself in conditions the place one mistaken alternative in battle or one crippling standing ailment put my whole get together at hazard of falling. Because this sport makes use of an auto-save characteristic, you may even begin to sweat once you fail to flee a number of instances in a row. It was laborious to inform from my expertise simply how far the sport’s battles might go in phrases of difficult the participant with out feeling unfair, however I did go away with the sensation of desirous to beat the sport and see all of what Dungeon Encounters has to supply.

With its heavy design deal with techniques and numbers particularly somewhat than wealthy worldbuilding and visuals, Dungeon Encounters is maybe not the kind of sport that may discover a extensive viewers. But in case you are the kind of participant drawn to battling it out in easy but deep methods, you must undoubtedly give this one a attempt.

Dungeon Encounters is scheduled to launch on PS4 and Switch on October 14, 2021, and on PC (Steam) on October 15.

Yoshiki Chiba is an editor at IGN Japan.


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