Derf Reviews: Grim Dawn

For the past few weeks, I’ve been playing through Grim Dawn, a PC ARPG by Crate Entertainment. Set in a dark, gritty, Victorian era-inspired atmosphere, Grim Dawn is notable for being a PC game backed by fans via Kickstarter. The game launched in 2014, and has been updated with new content and upgrades ever since, with the first piece of DLC being released just this past August.

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I would sum up Grim Dawn as a shallower, more visually dynamic, loot-happy version of Path of Exile. Grim Dawn’s endgame is not nearly as deep, but the physics engine makes combat feel fluid and powerful, and there are a multitude of character builds to try. Your character chooses two of the six Masteries available, accessing skills and attributes from each of the two skill trees you’ve chosen. Respeccing points doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, allowing for a generous degree of experimentation.

The loot system also offers some very cool pre-generated epic and legendary items – and while any ARPG becomes a loot grind in the end, Grim Dawn tries its best to make the effort fresh and entertaining. Various kinds of treasure chests exist throughout the game world – some which guarantee you an epic/legendary item or recipe, rewarding those who take the time to explore each map. The crafting system is deep and involving, almost to the point of Path of Exile (minus the mind-boggling item economy).

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Like its granddaddy Diablo 2, there are three difficulties to play through, but other than grinding dungeons for your BiS gear, there isn’t much left to do once you’ve conquered Ultimate difficulty (not that this is easy). It resembles Path of Exile in this instance, where you’re encouraged to try building new characters for different gameplay experiences. Maybe you’re discovered the perfect combination of Masteries and skills to wreck face, or maybe you just want a character to use those Soiled Trousers you found from a previous playthrough.

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If you’re an ARPG fan, I’d highly recommend Grim Dawn, especially at its current price point ($25). When it goes on sale via Steam, the game becomes a steal. Crate staff are active on forums and receptive to fan feedback, so you really should just pick up Grim Dawn to reward a good bunch of devs.

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