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Deathbound Preview: It’s Morphin’ Time

Douthbound Preview 1 (1)

Have you ever played a Soulslike and wished that you could switch between multiple builds on the fly? That’s basically what upcoming action RPG Deathbound by Trialforge Studio allows you to do, and it makes things very interesting indeed.

Like all Soulslikes, Deathbound drops you into a dark and hostile world wrought with conflict. But when it comes to survival, you have at least one advantage: your ability to Bind. On your adventures, you’ll find the bodies of powerful warriors slain during their exploits, and by reaching out and touching them, you can embody them. Ultimately you’ll find that you can have a pool of four bodies that you can switch between with the push of button, each with their own strengths, weaknesses and range of abilities. If one dies, however, that’s it – back to a Phylactery you go. It’s Deathbound’s equivalent of a Bonfire, where you can rest, level up and more.

Embody an armored warrior, and as well as being able to perform strong melee attacks, you might also be able to block and parry incoming attacks, for example. But if the situation calls for it, you might want to embody an assassin instead, able to sneak up behind enemies to backstab them and also strike with a crossbow at a distance. Even spellcasters are available, allowing you to mix up your melee play with magic. Needless to say, put a solid team together, and you have a breadth of options at your fingertips.

Deathbound Preview 2
Image: Trialforge Studio

As already mentioned, though, there are some caveats. For one, if you die, you die, even if you have other characters that are healthy. Additionally, your stamina is linked to your health; get hit, and you’ll find your ability to attack being hindered. On the plus side, you can heal characters by giving them some rest while playing with another. Change between characters frequently and play to their strengths, and you can keep your team in tip-top shape.

Related: The Best Games Like Dark Souls on PC

Changing characters – or Morphing as it’s called here – can be used to your benefit in other ways, too. You can quickly change to your character with the most stamina with a simple button press when you’re in a bind, for example. And once you’ve built up a Sync meter by hitting and defeating enemies in combat, you can also morph after landing a hit with one character to quickly change to another and get in an extra hit. You can even morph while dodging, avoiding an incoming attack then switching to another character to exploit an opening.

The only thing we’re not too sure about when it comes to Deathbound so far is its setting. Mixing a “technological past with a Medieval present”, you’ve got old fashioned armour-clad warriors, fantastical mages, and cloaked assassins, all juxtaposed against an environment that is frequently cold and modern-looking, yet littered with futuristic doors and strange devices. Its a bit of a mish-mash that isn’t all that aesthetically pleasing. We’ve only played a demo giving a taste of what Deathbound is set to offer, though. Maybe there are other locations that aren’t quite as bland and uninteresting.

In any case, Deathbound is certainly a title that Soulslike fans are going to want to keep their eyes on. It has some very interesting ideas, and mechanically it seems quite solid even at this early stage. It’s set for release on PC via Steam later this year, but you’ll be able to go hands-on with it via a demo from 5th February courtesy of Steam Next fest. Be sure to check it out.

Editor in Chief // An avid gamer since discovering the wonders of the Acorn Electron in the '80s, Rich has nearly played more games than he's had hot dinners. Not one to put all his eggs in one basket, Rich is happy to play games of all genres, but he particularly enjoys racing games and anything that's full of non-stop action, especially if it includes a good dose of humour, horror or crudeness!