Horror season continues as Bill Boreham reviews Eldritch. Never heard of it? Allow us to fix that for you…
“Tell us, Boreham: What IS Eldritch?”
Why, I’m glad you asked. Walking through the world, it feels as though you’re entering one of H. P. Lovecraft’s dreams, a mix of strange concepts and odd characters, hypnotic music and dark labyrinths. It uses the brutal (but surprisingly popular) permanent death mechanic of Minecraft and also shares the same graphical style – which to some might come across as unoriginal, but give it a try and you’ll soon realize it makes perfect sense as you blow your way through dungeon walls using dynamite, hoping to discover a hidden artifact or two awaiting your arrival on the other side. The level of replayability here is astounding, those who really invest in the world could spend over a hundred hours exploring every layer of the game’s various dungeons.
Eldritch is split into two sections, the first is filled with moderately difficult enemies whom players should be able to take out (or sneak past) with little effort. This portion serves as a kind of tutorial as you move around at a leisurely pace finding hidden artifacts and purchasing new items from the merchant, such as boots that allow the player to jump higher or talismans to help with magical spells. Once you enter the second world however, the increase in difficulty is colossal, enemies inhabiting this area are much faster and a lot tougher to kill, forcing you to instead run and hide if you have any chance of escaping with your life.
This is where the stealth and parkour mechanics come into play, offering players two wildly different play-styles. The slick parkour mechanics allow players to slip and slide their way through levels, blasting away those passing by with a revolver or magic spell. While the game’s stealth, as you would expect, allows players to sneak through areas unnoticed, silently taking down an enemy or two using a dagger along the way. Both feel great, but blend the two styles together and Eldritch really starts to shine as you slide, shoot, stab and crawl your way through rooms, collecting as many artifacts as possible along the way.
While looting, shooting and stealth the heart of Eldritch, those who prefer a quieter, slightly slower paced experience will discover a collection of books littered throughout dungeons and the main hub area. In this hub, players can take a well-earned break and spend time customizing their character, storing any artifacts they may have found in the bank, or simply picking up and reading a book or two. It’s a small feature, but a very welcome one. The world, although extremely hostile, has a unique charm to it. It feels alive as you move deeper through the game’s dungeons, often hearing the sound of creaking doors in the distance or enemies muttering bizarre things to themselves. Small details like this make Eldritch feel rich in atmosphere, and although it can be a little tense at times, it’s a world you will undoubtedly want to keep returning to.
All in all, Eldritch borrows an array of ideas from some truly great games, forming them into one massively enjoyable experience. It may be brutal at times, but keep at it long enough and you’ll soon be looting dungeons and taking out enemies without breaking a sweat.
-Bill Boreham (@AngEalsh)
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