#899 Demigod

Posted: 11th February 2013 by Jeroen in Games
Tags: , , , ,

216th played so far

Genre: Strategy
Platform: PC
Year of Release: 2009
Developer: Gas Powered Games
Publisher: Stardock

Okay, I can not believe it took me this long to play this game. I have always been a sucker for games that tap into the world of mythology. Whether it be God of War, Okami or Age of Mythology I have devoured these games. With a name like Demigod this game struck me immediately and, like The NewZealand Story, has been in my sights for a rather long time. In fact there are not many of these games that immediately struck my attention from their name or screenshot… guess that means it is time to read more of the blurbs.

Our Thoughts

Okay, so the only really mythological character to feature as a playable character in this game is Sedna from Inuit mythology… apart from that they are all created for the sake of the game (which sucks as I was hoping to play as some actual factual gods and/or goddesses). In retrospect this makes sense (and actually is a bit of an insult to Sedna) since the plot of this game (if you can call it as such) is that the Gods have wandered off somewhere and these demigods are playing war games against each other to see who will get promoted or take over or something equally as inane. Either way it makes sense that Ganesh, Artemis or Loki don’t feature in this game since they are actual factual gods. Oh well. It’s worth noting, though, that others contain similar religious references – Regulus, for example, is a fallen angel, while Erebus is an ancient sort-of god of darkness.

The point of this game, if you could gather, is that you assume the role of one of these characters (ten in total) and play various skirmishes against your fellow demigods. The game itself is a real-time strategy heavily influenced by the Warcraft III mod Defense of the Ancients whereby you are directly in charge of fighting with and levelling up your hero without being in actual control of the wave after wave of soldiers that fight for your cause. Other things you are able to do in this way include the upgrading of your buildings and portals to further improve your defense and offense capabilities.

The main way of getting ahead, in fact, is in improving your hero. Using some basic RPG tactics (you level up and every level get to improve or add a skill) your hero gets specific powers. This can be a basic stat upgrade for each, but more important is improving other stats. These differ depending on the hero. For example, Rook is a large building-type monster, reminiscent of Shadow of the Colossus. By upgrading it, you can add the power to leech life from building or erect your own defensive towers, but, even more awesome, you can get it to grow towers on its shoulders, containing archers, trebuchets or other upgrades that attack enemies on their own. Others gain the ability to drain life, grow a field of thorns that attack and trap enemies, or allow them sniping abilities from the other side of the battlefield. Each hero feels unique and quite powerful through that, and each is a different playing experience.

In many ways this game is very simple but things are made less so by the complete lack of documentation with this game. This made the first skirmish rather one sided since the majority of it was spent figuring out what each button does and how the differences between each demigod can affect their playabilty. After this you tend to get the hang of things andyou can start having a lot more fun. However, a lot of this fun depends on online multiplayer or how happy you are playing skirmishes by yourself. It’s annoying since there is a huge scope for a campaign mode or at least an actual story but the plot has to be stitched together from character biographies.

This is not a complete dealbreaker because there is enough variety in the characters and game modes to lend itself to hours of challenging fun. The game modes are incredibly standard so it’s not worth going over them here since the real stars of the game are the characters. This motley crew of a vampire, minotaur and other fantasy creatures ooze personality and the character you choose really influences how well you do in certain game modes, yet it does not feel broken in any way. The characters that steal the show are The Rook and The Queen of Thorns (although the angel that references R. Kelly and Mr. Mister is also pretty awesome). The Rook is a towering creature with archers in his shoulders (much like a wooden Collosus of Rhodes) whilst the Queen of Thorns is a barely-clad fairy who rides in a rose-chariot on the top of four golden beetles.

One of the things that’ll draw you in as early are the game’s graphics. While one of the things you forget about after you get into the game further, the game is often gorgeous. The models are nice and detailed, in particular the demigods, adding a lot of personality to the characters you can pick between. It’s amazing how much the game can keep going, too – plenty of enemies, detailed god models and plenty of stuff flying around without a single problem. It looks amazing and big, and works both zoomed in closely and from a large distance. There’s a seperate mention here for the buildings, which look nice, especially your citadel which keeps upgrading. It’s a gorgeous game.

Final Thoughts

There are few DotA type games on the list, and it seems odd the original (which already spawned its own genre, heavily contested now between several companies created a sequel) isn’t on the list. Still, out of the options this is a good version of it, with a fun, strategic gameplay, good AI support and stunning graphics.

The only oversight is that there’s no singleplayer mode, which feels especially obvious now. You have to guess how the game works and what your options are, which takes time and may mean you’re facing a tough first few games. Perhaps for a sequel?