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No Rest for the Wicked has potential, but there’s much work to be done

No Rest for the Wicked 1
Image: Moon Studios/Private Division

When it comes to action-RPGs played from an isometric perspective, what do you think of? Diablo? Torchlight? Last Epoch? Moon Studios’ No Rest for the Wicked is nothing like those, instead being much more of a Soulslike.

There’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s certainly something you need to know before jumping in. This isn’t a game where you’re going to be slaughtering tens or hundreds of foes, all gathering around you, with a mighty screen-clearing attack. Instead, the combat here is tense and measured, with you typically trying to take your foes on one-by-one. Make one false move, depleting your valuable stamina, and you could momentarily find yourself a sitting duck.

Die — and death can come very quickly in No Rest for the Wicked — and you’re taken back to your last checkpoint. Thankfully you don’t lose any experience, but you are punished in others ways. You’ll find that your weapon loses durability, for example, so if you die too often you’ll either have to make a journey to get it repaired, or let it break and be forced to equip another one that might not be as good. This could be a pain when going up against troublesome bosses.

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Image: Moon Studios/Private Division

You also don’t have an Estus Flask equivalent in No Rest for the Wicked, replenished every time you die or take a rest. Again, this causes problems if you die a lot, especially when you’re stuck on a boss, as it means you’ll have to farm resources in order to heal. Ideally you’ll want to cook recipes, as these are the consumables that are going to heal the most health and perhaps also provide a buff or two.

Add in the fact that No Rest for the Wicked is another game that you can’t pause, and you should have an idea of whether or not it’s for you. Unlike the likes of Diablo 4, it’s a the game for those who want to unwind after a hard day’s work, seeking catharsis by effortlessly slaying a while dungeon’s worth of enemies in minutes and being rewarded for it with an inventory full of loot. It’s a challenging game where progress is slow and has to be earned.

Of course, being in early access means that No Rest for the Wicked is in no way complete. And so, some existing features and mechanics could be tweaked before the game fully launches. We’d certainly welcome changes to the weapon durability system and not being able to pause, at least when playing alone: co-op and PVP multiplayer is set to be added to the game at later date. Right now, you can only play through the first chapter of the game’s story, too, which means if you really get invested you soon might run out of content.

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Image: Moon Studios/Private Division

The biggest issue we have with No Rest for the Wicked right now, however, is performance. At the moment, there are very few graphical options that you can tweak – instead you just choose between multiple presets. Even on the lowest of these, performance on a gaming laptop equipped with a Ryzen 7 7735HS and 7600S GPU, considerably above the minimum specs, struggles to maintain what we’d call a truly playable framerate. It doesn’t help that neither DLSS nor FSR are available yet, as these would no doubt improve things. Hopefully they’ll be added soon.

Beyond performance, there are other issues too. We found ourselves momentarily stuck at the beginning of the game, for example, because a barrel clipping through a wall stopped us from shimmying across a ledge. Granted, the game is in early access, but such problems don’t leave a good first impression.

Ultimately, then, No Rest for the Wicked has lots of potential. It looks absolutely gorgeous, with a beautiful painterly art style that really gives it a lot of character. Its story seems interesting, too, and when poor performance and bugs aren’t getting in its way, the gameplay is tense and engaging. So, at some point this is likely going to be a very good game indeed, especially for Soulslike fans. But unless you have a monstrous rig, you might want to wait a bit before jumping in during early access.

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!