A pre-release review of Swords of Gargantua, which is currently in Open Beta at time of writing. This is not a review of the finished product, which will come shortly after full release.
The sword play in this game is fantastic, and felt extremely realistic at times. I especially loved the parrying/blocking, it felt spot on and you could literally feel the connection of sword against sword, or sword against shield, and it made the fighting even more immersive and exciting as you battle your way through wave after wave of bad guys, some of them absolutely huge and very challenging.
Movement was good, and the lock-on helped you to circle your foe whilst in combat. I really liked the dash mechanic, but haven't yet quite got the hang of it, though to survive some of the bosses special moves you really need to be able to dash proficiently, as they pull off some extremely cool looking yet powerful moves that can destroy you in one shot if you don't manage to evade, so dash is pretty much essential.
The graphics and animations were very nice indeed, and I love how the developers have gone for a game with incredible scale to it, which in VR adds an additional wow factor to everything. Some of the bad guys were absolutely massive and very frightening indeed, especially when you consider this is a melee combat game, so you're more often than not right up close in their face!
The art style is excellent, a sort of mix between futuristic sci-fi and the ancient Egyptian world, reminding me a little bit of the movie the Fifth Element, where you see the friendly alien species called the Mondoshawans (the big bulky metal guys with small heads) get locked inside the pyramid.
You need a fairly good sized play space if you don't want to be breaking anything. Mine is pretty much minimum for games like this, so I have to be careful, which does have a bit of an impact on the gameplay as I can never relax, too worried I'm going to hit something. My space is around 2.3 metres squared and I had to be very careful as even with the chaperone up, I found myself occasionally getting so engrossed in the excellent combat that I'd swing out and hit something I shouldn't, so be warned.
The tutorial was excellent and pretty much a game in itself, giving you tips, then letting you try it out for yourself against various bad guys that came at you in an arena. I was pretty much sweating buckets by the end of it, but thoroughly enjoyed it and thought it was one of the best I'd experienced.
Multiplayer, in this open beta at least, was a fun but simple affair of human players vs the NPC enemies who were trying to destroy a large structure in the middle of an arena. Your job, along with the other players is to protect the structure by eliminating wave after wave of bad guys, with each wave bringing something new, such as a mini boss with special moves. It was an immense feeling teaming up with others and fighting together side by side, especially against some of the bigger more deadly foes. It took me back to my days of playing World of Warcraft, when in a dungeon we'd all pile on the boss or a mini boss, with people dying and people being resurrected (which you can do in this game). I also got the feeling of 'pulling aggro' as sometimes the large mini boss would turn and focus on someone, and if it was me it gave me a real sense of imminent peril, which felt awesome and was a real throwback to my MMO days of being a rogue and applying too much aggro on a boss. It was a real nostagic moment when it first happened and just thinking about it makes me want to dive back into the game.
All in all, I am extremely impressed with what there is so far, especially the combat which at times was truly breathtaking. I just hope there is a lot more gameplay elements to come, which I am sure there will be. I also wish I had more play space to make the most out of titles like this, especially when they are as good as this one. A really memorable experience and a game that is shaping up to be something very special indeed.