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Death’s Door Review

The young raven works as a reaper, a kind of “scythe”. Like most of his feathered relatives, he fulfills the orders of the omnipotent Commission – he takes the souls of those who need to retire. Sometimes “clients” are not ready to part with their lives – in such cases it must be taken away by force, so the reapers carry swords and master them masterfully. But sometimes the “confiscation” becomes overgrown with such a bunch of difficulties that at least grab your paws in the wings and run from the office wherever you look …

The previous project of the British studio Acid Nerve , Titan Souls , with sophisticated solutions resembled Shadow of the Colossus . The brave archer there confronted a series of “bosses”, and each could be killed with one sure hit. Death’s Door is less pretentious – it’s a minimalistic isometric action game that takes a significant amount of harshness from Dark Souls .

“Black crow, why are you curling …”

The next mission turned into big problems for the hero. He went for the soul of some giant, overpowered him … and suddenly got in the back of the head, losing consciousness. And when he woke up, the fan of attacking from the back had already slipped into the portal along with the metaphysical prey. And not just anywhere, but in the Forbidden Area, for some unknown reason, closed by the Commission many years ago. According to the rules, the reaper is obliged to deliver the entrusted soul to the vault, period – no matter how long it takes or what obstacles stand in the way. And the raven rushed in pursuit – through unknown and strange lands, which the messengers of death usually bypass the tenth road.

He quickly found the thief, but bad luck – he himself turned out to be a raven-reaper, who had once fallen into a similar situation. The soul entrusted to him fled to the mysterious Death Gate, sticking out in the middle of the Forbidden Region. To open them, you need incredible reserves of energy, that is, the souls of extremely powerful beings. Stolen, for example, was not enough … Chances to complete the task are still there, you just need to defeat the three most powerful inhabitants of these lands. Their souls are guaranteed to be enough to unlock the damned door, the trouble is that they are truly powerful. Reapers have not been sent here in a long time, and the trio successfully used their longevity, accumulating transcendental power.

The light delirium of what is happening, oddly enough, does not spoil the picture. A British studio has created a cozy phantasmagoric tale, in which the tribes of a swampy thicket are tyrannized by a giant frog king, an insidious witch has a morbid weakness for ceramic dishes that come to life, and an octopus cook opened a diner on the outskirts and diligently portrays a person. The office of the Commission resembles a cross between an archive and a police station, large bugs and people-turtles wander in the meadows and ruins … Despite the deliberate frivolity, the character of the game is melancholic. No, the authors do not avoid humor at all, jokes are regularly skipped in silent dialogues, but the smile comes out sad – there is a “cartoon” all around, but still devastation, the deadly office is in decline, the work of its reapers is not very funny in principle.

And there will be plenty of wanderings – powerful centenarians settled in different parts of the Forbidden Region. Each of them will have to stomp for a long time, fighting bizarre creatures, solving puzzles and wandering in intricate labyrinths. Globally, Death’s Door is a kind of straightforward “metroidvania”. We consistently visit different zones, acquire new abilities and return with them to the studied places in order to find previously inaccessible caches. And from Dark Souls, there is a location structure that forces you to open short paths to control points-portals, resurrect enemies and an uncompromising approach to battles.

At first, there is only one trick up the sleeve – a magic bow, equally suitable for shooting aggressive animals and pressing distant buttons. Over time, the raven will learn to set fireballs on fire, explosive spheres that break cracked stone fences, and a chain with a hook in order to jump over chasms. All this is applicable in battle – magic, like a bow, deals damage (charges must be restored by swinging a sword), and with the help of a chain, you can quickly jump to opponents. Having found and defeated certain “bosses”, we get the opportunity to once improve any ability – say, learn how to end a flight on a chain with a crushing swing of the blade. Another careful study of the area will help to increase health and “mana” – corresponding altars are hidden in secluded places.

The growth of the hero is not limited by such improvements, there is also a simple role-playing system. Traveling, the formidable reaper picks up and knocks souls out of rivals, which in the office are exchanged for an increase in characteristics. Strength is responsible for the weight and spread of blows, agility – for their frequency, speed is necessary for effective rolls, all ranged attacks depend on the magic parameter. Yes, in theory, Death’s Door allows you to play in different ways: change your faithful sword for a heavy hammer or dual daggers, focus on magic … Alas, there are not enough differences between the types of weapons, and the influence of “pumping” is absolutely insignificant – it seems to be about percent and fractions of seconds.

In battle, they are often important too. There is no consumption of stamina and fixation on the target, but otherwise the battles are close to Dark Souls – they make you calculate actions, measure out time intervals and remember other people’s habits, and any negligence threatens immediate punishment. The controls are responsive, the set of enemies is wide (though there are quite a few “repainted”) – it turned out to be entertaining, albeit without any special frills. It is a pity that the sense of proportion has repeatedly changed the developers. Hefty carcasses attack more often and faster than a trifle, making it difficult to carry out combinations, the “thickness” of individual individuals exceeds reasonable limits … Well, without situations like “fight on a narrow bridge across an abyss among flashing laser beams” it was clearly worth doing.

Lasers present problems in solving puzzles, along with braziers, pressure plates and other such things. Problems, however, are good – not too easy, not too difficult, and miracles of dexterity, as a rule, do not require. But the most interesting “puzzle” is to find all sorts of secret nooks. The authors approached their design with great ingenuity, the vast world is filled with unobvious passages and secret rooms, so tours to places of military glory bring positive emotions. It is especially pleasant that the game boldly gives approximate tips – it is not necessary to rummage around every corner blindly.

But for the interesting structure of the campaign, the tiny Acid Nerve (it consists of only two people) did not have enough strength. We see the same scenario three times – we wade through all kinds of evil spirits and puzzles to free the languishing souls, we gain another “superpower”, and then we follow to the main villain. It’s overkill – in the back streets, “mini-bosses” twins are guarding, for the sake of improving their abilities, they offer to kill variations of one creature over and over again … The story is also built according to a simple template – despite attempts to provide the “bosses” with personalities, you cannot call it touching. And yet the wanderings of the young reaper are captivating – just more texture than essence.