If Titan Quest and Dark Souls had a baby, the result would be Achilles: Legends Untold.
Available now via Steam Early Access, Achilles: Legends Untold is an action RPG that combines the Souls-like format with an isometric viewpoint. Oh, and plenty of Greek mythology: as the title suggests, you take control of Achilles. Opening with him launching an assault on Troy, everything seems to be going his way. You move from one group of enemies to the next, butchering them while learning the basics. You even go up against Hector and emerge victorious. But when you finally face off against Paris, things go awry.
It’s when you find yourself in Tartarus that Achilles: Legends Untold really begins. Stripped of your immense power, and even your shield, you’ve got your work cut out for you if you want to reclaim your honor. There’s also the matter of a quarrel between Hades and Ares that stands in your way. But hey, you’re Achilles; you’re nothing if not persistent and determined. You’ll find a way to put things right.
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With the action viewed from an isometric perspective, it’s easy to look at Achilles: Legends Untold and assume it plays like something such as Titan’s Quest. It certainly looks like it, albeit much more detailed and polished. Though while there is loot to collect, and many soldiers and mythical creatures to slay, the combat here is much less mindless. You need to block or dodge enemy attacks and capitalise on openings with your own, all the while managing your stamina. Run out of stamina and you’re in for a world of hurt.
There are other Souls-like features here, too. You can rest at Hades Shrines to refill your health and spend the souls you’ve collected on improving your skills, for example, though it also resets the enemies in the area. And if you die while exploring, any souls you’ve collected will be left on the spot, challenging you to retrieve them. But thankfully, this isn’t quite as hard as your typical Souls-like. At least not at the start anyway.
It’s just a shame that Achilles: Legends Untold doesn’t make a great first impression. When assaulting Troy, the lovingly-crafted environment feels empty and wasted. Then later, in Tartarus, there are initially far too many enemies. You’ll get fed up of fighting skeletons with the same basic combos, trying to work out what to do next. But if you persevere until you’ve obtained you’ve gained some new equipment and some souls so that you can unlock some skills, things start picking up.
Once you have the basic skills that you probably should have had from the start, like the ability to parry and counter attacks, combat becomes much more interesting. Increasing your power and maybe finding a better weapon will also help your enemies go down that bit quicker, making it less laborious killing so many of them. Ultimately there’s some work to be done on Achilles: Legends Untold, but it definitely shows promise.
Planned to be in Early Access for about a year, pick Achilles: Legends Untold up now and you can play through its prologue and the first chapter of its campaign. You can even play in co-op with a friend. The finished product, however, will feature five story chapters, as well as additional features. As with most Early Access games, the price of Achilles: Legends Untold will increase when it launches. Right now, it’s available for just £15.49/$17.99, and there’s 10% off until 19th May. If the idea of fighting mythical creatures in challenging combat appeals to you, it might just be worth jumping into early.