An Action-RPG Love Letter
DimasjkTV’s Vengeance RPG drops you into the incredibly small town of Lakestone. Population: 2, and a ghost no one seems to mind. With only a weapon at your side, you retrace the steps of said ghost, the Wandering Spirit, and rid the nearby paths and underground system of monsters and other creatures of the night.
The first few moments of Vengeance RPG, I half-expected my character to say, “This place reeks of death. The fallen star is near.” And how can I not? Vengeance RPG draws many parallels between itself and Diablo, right down to the muted colors and Gothic architecture. It teeters between being inspired and being a copycat, but is nonetheless a love letter to Blizzard’s seminal ARPG franchise.
Who Will You Be When You Grow Up?
Vengeance RPG has big shoes to fill if it wants to be anything like Diablo. To my surprise, the game is off to an excellent start. The developer (it’s one person) made the smartest decision by emulating the best parts of the Diablo series such as its replayability and penchant for unique builds. Some minor tweaks were made here and there, and the scale of the game is much smaller.
Starting with classes, there’s technically seven: paladin, assassin, support, mage, archer, druid, and necromancer. I say “technically” because you’re a clean slate who’s given the option to mix and match abilities whereas Diablo III leans towards class variety within the context of its lore. Each class has four tiers of abilities, each tier having one ability. Having 28 abilities is a healthy amount for a mobile game. However, you’ll likely focus on six, considering seven can be mapped to the screen, one of which is usually taken by health potions.
Without a predetermined set of spells, builds you create can be entirely unique. Even gear can shape your character by providing additional skill points in a specific spell so long as you wear it. For example, I picked up a two-handed staff during the first quest. It granted me the ability Shadow Golem, a pet spell inaccessible until level 24. Since it gave me a huge advantage, I focused on improving support spells.
Vengeance RPG also implemented a system similar to Diablo III’s Paragon. When you level up, you can allocate a few points into your main stats: strength, dexterity, intelligence, and vitality. Improving main stats will affect secondary stats such as critical chance or weapon damage. But if you so choose, skill points reserved for abilities can be used on secondary stats.
It Does Have Some Issues
There are three major issues that put Vengeance RPG in a weird place: combat, story, and physical appearance. Overall, casting spells and moving responds well enough for the majority of the time—even the AI is relatively competent. What irritated me the most was being glued to the ground whenever I fired off a few abilities. Because the animations take too long, I’m a sitting duck until it’s over. What’s worse is this makes kiting basically impossible.
I was rather disappointed my character’s physical appearance changed very little. Gear doesn’t alter your appearance, other than weapons. There are costumes you can find and craft—which were originally in-game purchases—but they often lack flair. Character progression feels better when your character physically changes as you get stronger. In other words, it’s a bona fide misstep.
The worst offender was the story, or rather, the lack of. I’ve never cared so little about a story before. It’s told through dialogue with quest givers, which is fine if the writing was given to an editor. When I did accept a quest, it never felt like I was moving towards an end goal. Most quests weren’t very engaging, and simply boiled down to kill quests. You’re more a tourist than a member of the main event.
A Diamond in the Rough
Even when considering how frustrating combat can be and the lack of story, Vengeance RPG is still surprisingly fun. It nailed class customization and now needs to lean heavily into fixing its major problems. While half the game’s issues are a byproduct of an unfinished project, the writing needs a facelift. To be fair, patches are frequently released, which include both content and gameplay fixes. So long as you purchase the game, you have access to new content when it drops. And you don’t have to worry about microtransactions. At this point, Vengeance RPG can only improve.
Is it Hardcore?
Vengeance RPG is an admirable effort towards a Diablo clone, even in its unfinished state. While it shares many similarities with its inspiration, it still manages to be its own unique action-RPG.