Sci-fi Lovecraftian SoulsBorne title Dolmen has been floating around the internet for a number of years now, and you may recall its successful Kickstarter from 2018. While the game has largely flown under the radar since, it is actually in the final stages of development, according to developer Massive Work Studios, who has teamed up with publisher Prime Matter for its upcoming release.
Dolmen's mixture of sci-fi and lovecraftian elements, became obvious from the very first moments of the hands-off demo we were shown earlier this month. Setting foot on the world of Revion Prime, the protagonist's futuristic gear heavily contrasts the monstrous, organic opponents that block his path.
Taking the role of the Commander, it's your mission to retrieve samples of mysterious Dolmen Crystals for the Zoan Corporation. The local wildlife won't be too happy about your intrusion, and you'll use both melee and ranged weapons to forcefully convince them to step aside.
You can either stick to one combat style or mix both as part of a hybrid character build. Dolmen lets you take the fight to your opponents with such weapons like axes, swords, shields, and different guns.
You can switch between them on the fly and dash to avoid attacks, ensuring that, although slower, combat still involves planning and mobility, while giving the Commander enough time to size up enemies before they strike.
Every ranged weapon in Dolmen comes with a perk, Sound Designer & Community Manager Daniel Geber explained. The pistol showcased extensively during the hands-off demo occasionally fired a triple-shot, dealing more damage. Weapons can also apply status effects, such as Cryo, which slows enemies.
Ranged weapons also have a heavy shot, that's essentially a stronger charged attack. There's also a parry system that allows you to counter enemies both up close and from afar, provided you time your shield defense properly.
The Commander's armor gives him access to Energy Mode, which can prove very useful in particularly stressful situations. While it's activated, he performs attacks using energy instead of stamina. The armor's reactor type also determines what kind of element infuses your attacks.
Further on in the demo, the Commander encountered Sentinel enemies who had a force field that could absorb ranged shots. We also got to see one of Dolmen's tough boss fights, which featured a large spider that could summon smaller versions of itself to its aid, but also pounce and use both long and short, sharp limbs to attack.
Dolmen's enemies seemed to have clearly telegraphed attacks, which made encounters quite readable without removing challenge from them.
In true SoulsBorne fashion, dead body holograms lying on the ground indicate spots where the Commander died. Interacting with them, "restores the timeline" and lets you uncover lost Dolmen Fragments.
You can also interact with beacons found in levels to save your progress, restore energy and HP, or teleport to your ship.
Dolmen's contrasting aesthetics really make it stand out, while its slow-paced, methodical combat aims to provide a different flavor of combat based on stamina management. The game will feature both single-player and multiplayer modes, and is currently on track for a 2022 launch on PC and consoles.
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