A Mighty Hands-On Preview of The Mighty Quest For Epic Loot
The whole isn’t always the sum of its parts in game design, but Ubisoft Montreal is hoping to defy that conventional wisdom with The Mighty Quest For Epic Loot, a new free-to-play title that combines Diablo-style hack-and-slash action with Dungeon Keeper-style building mechanics to form a single, compulsive whole.
It’s the first free-to-play effort for the studio, and a “big initiative for the company,” according to developer Matthew Zagurak, who presented a hands-on demo to journalists last week at Ubisoft’s San Francisco offices. If you’re looking for evidence that the French publishing giants are trying to create a new online addiction, look no farther than the game’s color scheme, which cribs liberally from Facebook.
The game is set in the Kingdom of Opulencia, a constellation comprised of dozens of epic medieval castles floating charmingly in the sky. Each castle represents a short, digestible chunk of action-RPG combat, designed by either Ubisoft or another player — more on that later.
After selecting a castle and a hero — Knight and Archer are currently available, with a Mage class to be unveiled at E3 and another still under wraps — players will charge across the drawbridge and wade into the fray, hacking and slashing through mobs and traps on the way to the “treasure room” at the end of each castle. Assaults last no more than 5-10 minutes at early levels, and if you die in the attempt, or fail to reach the treasure room within the prescribed time limit, the amount of loot you receive at the end will be harshly curtailed.
Each class is furnished with four action bar abilities and a potion slot. Though they can’t hope to rival Diablo’s best-in-class mechanics and long experience in the genre, Ubisoft Montreal have done themselves proud, creating an intuitive set of action-RPG skills and animations that is both fun to use and fun to look at. The Knight mixes sweeping cleaves and strikes with buffs and dragon-inspired fire powers. The Archer is an expected but inventive mix of multi-shots, traps, and abilities for his pet hawk, which swoops at enemies in a number of useful ways.