Posted on October 15, 2014, Marshall Lemon Legend of Grimrock 2 Review: Old-School Success Story
Legend of Grimrock 2 shows that old-school dungeon crawlers are still fun when you’re exploring the overworld.
Legend of Grimrock was one of the biggest surprises of 2012, revitalizing a genre many thought was long dead. Adopting classic dungeon crawler gameplay with modern sensibilities, this game wasn’t only a blast to play, it helped restore confidence in a growing old-school gaming movement. The only question was whether Legend of Grimrock 2, a sequel leaving its large dungeon behind for an above-ground island, could meet the expectations of the original.
Thankfully, Legend of Grimrock fans have nothing to fear: Not only does Legend of Grimrock 2 meet those expectations, it seamlessly adds several new features, character creation options, and monster types to the mix without sacrificing the core gameplay. Puzzles are as challenging as ever, and the island of Nex is a vibrant setting to explore. If you enjoy classic RPGs of old, and love gameplay that refuses to hold your hand, Legend of Grimrock 2 is right up your alley.
Legend of Grimrock 2
Developer: Almost Human Games
Publisher: Almost Human Games
Release Date: Oct. 15, 2014
Legend of Grimrock 2 starts players off with a new quartet of prisoners, only this time trapped within a ship. The party is freed when the ship runs aground on the island of Nex, but they haven’t reached safety yet: Nex is controlled by the Island Master, who entertains himself by luring adventurers to brave his menagerie of monsters, traps, and puzzles. To escape, the heroes must explore Nex and uncover its secrets before the island overcomes them.
Just like the original, Legend of Grimrock 2 is an old-school RPG designed for modern systems. You can design a new four-member party (or use the default heroes provided) and take them on an adventure through a grid-based world rendered in a 3D first-person perspective. But where Legend of Grimrock focused on a massive dungeon, the sequel expands its scope to a large island environment. Instead of crawling through darkened chambers, you’ll traverse a huge overworld that covers forests, beaches, rivers, and bogs. Not that Almost Human is leaving behind its dungeon crawler roots; Nex also has dungeons scattered across its landscape, not to mention castles and even a pyramid that can be fully explored.
The new environment is a great evolution on Legend of Grimrock’s old-school presentation. Compared to Grimrock’s square and static hallways, Nex’s overworld is vibrant and alive. Each individual sector stands out with varying types of plant life, bodies of water, and uniquely designed ruins that rarely feel repetitive. Even better, Legend of Grimrock 2 introduces a day-night cycle, adding the sense of time passing while forcing you to break out torches after nightfall. Even though you’re still exploring a 2D grid in a largely unchanging world, Nex feels far more dynamic than Grimrock, where levels were largely distinguished by varying brick shades. Meanwhile, the new monster types help each area feel unique, with giant frogs in the bog, wolves wandering the forest, and those poisonous mushroom creatures patrolling underground caves.