Blightbound Early Access Preview
The complex mechanics of hour-long MMO raids, such as those found in World of Warcraft, will be crisply packaged into 20-minute co-op adventures. We played the early access for a few hours and are now checking whether the idea will work.
Coop means in Bloodbound: You are adventuring in groups of three and basically online, each taking on a hero in a way that could hardly be more classic. The heavily armored Brute (= tank) protects his companions and attracts the attention of the enemies, while the Assassin (= Damager Dealer) takes care of them in a flash and the Mage (= Healer) supports the group with shields and healing spells – a proven balancing principle that also works brilliantly in Blightbound.
The synergy of the trio is the heart of the game: Blightbound rewards team play and coordinated action. Especially in the higher, but also especially loot-laden levels of difficulty, teamwork is an absolute must.
The battles play like a wild mixture of 2D sidescroller beat-em-up and action-RPG – and look damn good in motion. The hand-drawn characters are reminiscent of Darkest Dungeon and fit perfectly into the dark fantasy setting, while effective skills and spells light up the dark dungeons. The gameplay is challenging and requires timing and agreement of the party members.
After defeating heaps of henchmen, elite opponents, and the final boss, we head back to the city to equip our heroes with the captured items. However, Blightbound still offers too few opportunities to specialize your character.
Two weapon slots and three slots for jewelry are available, armour is missing completely. Of course we deal more damage with a new sword, legendary weapons add special effects like chain lightning to our attacks – but Ronimo Games have overdone it here with the simplification. After all, a dungeon crawler gets its appeal from constantly improving its hero. It remains to be seen whether the already announced additional weapons will bring more depth in the future.
But the loot spiral, which doesn’t really take hold, isn’t the only thing that keeps us from plunging straight back into the next game: Blightbound currently has only six levels, some of which play in a cave and some in a graveyard. There’s nothing to complain about in the level design of the handmade cards, they each offer different enemies, puzzles and boss monsters – but once you’ve seen them all, Blightbound quickly loses its appeal because the random factor is missing.
Exactly the same enemies appear in exactly the same places you get to by solving exactly the same puzzles. Procedurally generated areas like the rifts in Diablo 3 or the maps in Path of Exile could have increased the replay value enormously. But according to the developers this is not not planned for the future.
If you want to play Blightbound, you have to like multiplayer, because currently you can’t play it solo. Although the developers promise to add bots at some point in the roadmap, until then you’ll have to bring two friends or go into battle with random players. Currently, you can find a group in a few seconds – but if the number of players drops, you have to expect long waiting times.
Since the title is still in Early Access, you should also be able to overlook the fact that you have already seen everything after a few hours and have to comb the same levels over and over again in search of Loot – additional cards, enemies and heroes will be added later in Early Access.
If you’re looking for a new co-op game for you and two friends and enjoy mastering the challenging combat system to complete ever higher levels of difficulty, you can still take a look.
What I Like about this game:
- The coherent, dark look fits perfectly to the dark fantasy setting.
- The fighting system is easy to learn, but difficult to master.
- There is a suitable challenge for every type of player – high difficulty levels are really demanding, but reward well coordinated parties.
What I DONT Like about this game:
- No single player mode: You are forced to play with friends or random players.
- Only 6 levels: As these are handmade, you will have seen everything after a few hours.
- The motivating loot spiral in other action RPGs doesn’t work with Blightbound – there are simply too few customization options.challenge for every type of player – high difficulty levels are really demanding, but reward well coordinated parties.
If you like raids and maybe want to get deeper in group rpg content, check out my list of TOP MMORPGs: