Alders Blood Review: Solid, But Thin

The latest game from Shockwork Games, Alders Blood is a stealth advised, turn-based game set in a horror-filled atmosphere that heavily relies on tactical gameplay. It’s an entertaining stress-inducing game but the slow-paced story and similar level design drives this game to fall short of being one of the better indie games of the year.

The game follows hunters in an old aged world who were banished from civilization but have the pact to help humans from malevolent beasts and ghouls. 

These hunters use an assortment of weapons to rid the world of evil. For instance, they use long-range guns such as rifles, short-ranged weapons like two sets of pistols. Long swords, greatswords and Five types of rapier type blades and machetes. You are equipped with two-plus spots for items for the Three hunters you have per level like health boosts, potions to stop your hunter from bleeding per turn or being poisoned by different beasts you encounter throughout the game. You can also pick a net to trap beasts in an effort to escape a stronger level beast. To lure beasts out of an ideal area you can throw rocks and whistle to lure them out.

There is a pretty standard level system. The Hunters gain XP from killing characters or completing various objectives in the world. The Hunter’s role in this world is to protect mankind at all costs, but a little gratitude for their efforts is always welcomed from NPCs. Your Hunting Party (which consists of Three Hunters) may receive items, weapons, charms or resources as a reward for completing missions and side quests. The upgrades go to upgrade the movement of a character (how fast the character moves), Vison (how far a character can see), Smell (to sniff out the various beasts in the area), Health/stamina  (this improves your health bar and stamina bar). Resources are also obtained such as food to travel from location to location and to heal character in downtime and crafting resources to create new weapons after acquiring weapon blueprints which are also acquired from finishing quests.

The game is a horror game so the world shows that well. Filled with mist and a playing field filled with all sorts of evil it’s a great atmosphere to be wary of every move you make. Every move is crucial. After playing the first several missions you start to notice that every area is exactly the same but with just larger XP villains. This makes the game gets boring real quick. If it wasn’t for the fun stealthy tactical gameplay this game would not have been finished. This game is completely gameplay driven. The A.I. is very smart which makes it a challenge to get through each level. The A.I. combats every move you make with great precision so you have to plan your move three steps ahead.

The Character design is also very inviting- the hunters look like something out of Assassin’s Creed and the beasts look like some of the horrors out of the PlayStation exclusive Bloodborne. They have a pencil sketch element for each character model. 

The Good:

  • The Stealth Gameplay is what drives this game forward. Not only does it make you think but it makes sure every move is crucial.
  • Character Models and landscapes are really cool with its pencil shading style for every area.

The Bad

  • The Story Falls Short of keeping the player’s attention
  • Minor Bugs Such as not being able to revive a Hunter after death. Resulting in restarting the game.
  • Autosave is not Existent this is really unfortunate because some of the levels are really long and you need to dashboard to the home menu to stack more items. 

Final Thoughts

With the revitalization of horror games coming out, this is one of the better ones to drop since Evil Within Two and Resident Evil 5. Even though it isn’t a third-person experience, it still captures the horror element very well. It”s a great start to what could be a franchise. Minor bugs/glitches sprinkled throughout the game due to it still being in early development. It will be exciting to see what Shockwork games have in store next.

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