REVIEW – Arrowhead Game Studios, the developers of Magicka, have had a tough task, when they were developing the latest installment of Gauntlet, which originally debuted in 1985. Still, they managed to modernize the game while keeping the original’s traits. The game is now available on the PlayStation 4, while keeping one important segment on console too…
– Four! – Gauntlet, which was dubbed Slayer Edition on PlayStation 4, completely focuses on us to play with three other players cooperatively. This immediately reminded me of Diablo III (and no, I still do not have good memories of that game after all these years), because that game had a similar premise. And to be fair, Gauntlet isn’t far off from Blizzard‘s game. This is a hack ‘n’ slash, but here, the fights are divided off to several levels. Well, Morak, who created this entire thing, didn’t want to punish us, in a good way of course. On paper, your goal is to find a sword called Tyrfing, but in reality, you have to stack up more and more and more gold.
But what’s that „Four!” in the lead? This applies to the character types too: Warrior, Elf, Valkyrie and Wizard – the last one can instantly remind you of Magicka, which was Arrowhead’s first game. But taking good ideas from a good game and implementing them in a good manner is okay, especially, if you take from your previous works. Of course, the four characters have way different playstyles: the Warrior is the slow, but powerful offensive character, while the Valkyrie goes for pulling a lot of weaker attacks on. My favourite was the Elf, because he’s the ranged character. Of course, it didn’t really end up that well…
The gold will be the most important currency in the game, bcause you can buy stuff with it, and yes, the enemies, and the vases around the levels will all have a lot of them. No surprises here. Each level has a crowd though: if you can keep it on you and finish the level, you will get a big bonus for that. The Skull Coins can be converted to gold too, but try to keep some of them on you, because effectively, these are the continues. You can buy upgrades too with gold, so collect, collect, collect, always have a ton of gold in your pockets.
What’s the difference compared to the PC release? Customizable loadouts, a ton of new weapons, special attacks that are really helpful during coop sessions, plus there are two new game modes: Endless and the waves of attacks-styled Coliseum mode, in case you already got through the campaign, which has three difficulty levels as well. And of course, gear – fortunately, Arrowhead did not go for the extremely annoying and harmful way of putting gear behind a paywall: you can get everything unlocked in the game, as long as you play and perform well. Each character has its own unique potion, and they also got extra skills in the process in comparison to the PC original.
Death will come to us not just once, and literally: he will show up, and one hit equals death, making it another reason to not play alone. As if Gauntlet was developed specifically to play it cooperatively. But then, watch out for the lag. Online playing will pull some lag off on some busy places, and in a fast game like this, it can kill you quickly. And in the Coliseum mode, the lives are in a shared pool, which makes that mode even more harder – add the game’s difficulty to it, and you already have a tough nut to crack.
Is it visually appealing?
Somehow, I didn’t get to like Gauntlet‘s visuals. I’m not saying that it is ugly, but for me, the design somehow lacks life. Sure, this might be just my taste, but I didn’t like the style. However, the game itself isn’t that serious. On the voice acting, you can hear that while it’s generic, it wants you to relax and take it as a joke. (Because honestly, can you take Gauntlet seriously, if one of the loading screens throws a „Don’t drink and drive” line at you?) And the music: generic. Nothing special. I can only say the voice acting is okay.
Worth it, but not in solo
I can only recommend this game, if you don’t plan to play it alone. But watch out, multiplayer makes your character a bit… small, and it might be disturbing to see. Still, this is an alright dungeon crawl title. Not easy, making you think about playing with others. If you can get over the lag and the really generic audiovisuals, then it’s turning into an acceptable, alright game. I can definitely recommend it for dungeon crawl fans.
+ Improvements over the PC release
+ You don’t have to take it seriously
+ The 4 characters have different game styles, it shows especially in multiplayer
– Really generic audiovisuals
– It’s not easy in solo, multiplayer has issues with the character sizes too
– It lags here and there
Publisher: WB Games
Developer: Arrowhead Game Studios
Genres: Action, Adventure
Publication: 2014. Sept. 23.