Dark Gates PC

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  1. Feb 4, 2015
    Dark Gates simulates old-school board games like "DeathMaze." It's a minimalist idea, to be sure, but one that it does very well. The playerDark Gates simulates old-school board games like "DeathMaze." It's a minimalist idea, to be sure, but one that it does very well. The player selects 6 characters to form a party (many are multi-class and can use both melee and ranged weapons, as well as offensive and defensive magic). Once they breach the front entrance of the labyrinth (there's a back story that explains its existence, but it's typical fare), movement tiles are revealed in a similar fashion to "Dungeon Quest" in order to simulate the Fog of War. There are doors that may or may not be trapped, events to find, chests to open, and, of course, encounters. Each game is randomly generated.

    Party members can be replaced or swapped at will, and they can be upgraded as their exp increases. The usual stat increases are here, but there are also Masteries that can be raised (such as the bonus they get to their melee weapon) and Skills (such as a bonus to successfully navigating Traps).

    This may not be the popular opinion, but I actually like this game. I've been playing the DRM-free version for the last six months (as I write this review, Dark Gates has been on Steam less than a week), and I appreciate that it feels like an old-school board game. I don't even have a problem with hitting Enter (a common complaint is that the mouse is not used, although it should be noted that the game does claim full gamepad support), because rolling dice would take just as long, if not longer. It's not supposed to be Skyrim; it's a board game. The description even states that it "tries to capture classic tabletop RPG experience," and it easily achieves this goal. Does it have amazing hi-rez ultra smooth graphics with Oculus support? No, but why would it? The graphics are perfectly serviceable for what it is.

    Look, it's a simple game with simple rules. It might be too slow-moving for some, and I'll admit that the sound gets old very quickly. But, in my opinion, the very things that irritate some players are what make the game work for me. Gameplay isn't overly convoluted, which makes it easy to pick up and play in 5 minute increments or for an hour. The Fog of War keeps things interesting, as does the opportunity to try to settle encounters either through force or diplomatically (by Negotiating or Bribing). Different monsters have different abilities to keep things tense (for example, spiders cast webs over random party members, making them unable to fight). That said, I do believe that $10 US is too much for what this game is. I'd recommend it, but at a price half that, as it really feels more like an iOS game than something designed for PC.

    Dark Gates is a lite, board game-inspired time waster. There is nothing particularly deep or strategic about it; this isn't an RTS by any means. Those players who are looking for something simple to pass the time will enjoy it. All others should steer clear. For me, it's a fun and interesting diversion when I don't want to think too hard or button mash (and speaking of button mashing, previous reviews state that the game doesn't tell you what the controls are, which really baffles me. The keys are listed on every. single. screen. That's not an exaggeration; every time the screen changes, the keys that are usable on that screen are displayed as icons, without fail (you can also see this in the screen shots). I'm at a loss as to how one could even miss them, and they've been that way for months.).

    Recommended, but make sure you know what you're getting before pulling the trigger.