Achilles: Legends Untold preview (PC)

Early screenshots and footage of Achilles: Legends Untold immediately caught our eye, so we thought we’d share a preview of this upcoming isometric Souls-like title with you. Titan Quest meets Dark Souls, anyone?

What we know

Developer and publisher Dark Point Games is bringing Achilles: Legends Untold exclusively to Steam for the time being, where it recently entered into Early Access. While it resembles classic action RPGs like Titan Quest with its Greek mythology-inspired visuals when you look at the screenshots, the team is aiming for a more Souls-like experience here. Playing as Achilles, you can expect hack and slash combat that can also be experience in co-op with a friend.

You’ll still plenty of RPG elements though, including a skill tree to unlock new abilities and plenty of loot that can be used to craft new weapons. Fans of Greek mythology will also enjoy traveling through familiar locations and encountering famous names and monsters on their journey. The game also promises a new approach to battle tactics through enemies that cooperate when they face you and have a numerical advantage.

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The game is expected to stay in Early Access for roughly a year, and has been in development for about a year and a half at this point.

What we saw

We started playing the Early Access version that launched on May 12 and almost immediately received a patch (version 0.1.1) on the next day. A subsequent patch (0.1.2) was released on May 18, but this version wasn’t tested for this preview. At the time of testing, the Early Access version consisted of a prologue and a full chapter, with the rest of the game to be added later.

What we thought

Jumping in without too much advance knowledge, we underestimated how Soulslike this game was going to be – probably because of the visual resemblance to games like Titan Quest. But with its combat that has dodging, rolling and a large role for stamina that keeps you from hacking away, that expectation quickly went out the window. When checkpoints turned out to be just out of reach and healing items were nowhere to be found after a while, it became very clear what they were going for.

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Seeing that from an isometric point of view is refreshing, as we’re so used to the third person perspective within the genre. Achilles – Legends Untold also looks great, but the screenshots are a little deceiving at this point. They don’t show that the animations are quite choppy in the current build, and that the cutscenes are especially underwhelming. Framerate/performance issues also don’t help, so a heavy layer of polish is certainly needed before the game does its detailed visuals justice – which also holds true to the environments, which could be a bit more lively.

Where Achilles also needs work is the gameplay balance, as a good Soulslike feels like you’re trying to beat down a concrete wall but at the same time steadily making progress. Here, in the Early Access version, progress can feel like a real grind, mostly because upgrades are very costly but fairly essential in the early game. Because you’re mostly fighting the same enemies again and again, this can feel repetitive, even though the combat mechanics themselves are fun and seem to get more interesting at time goes on and you unlock new gear and abilities. Achilles is pretty handy with a sword and shield, and it’s empowering to have so much control over a character in an isometric game.

So while Achilles: Legends Untold shows plenty of promise both visually and in terms of gameplay, it needs a good amount of polish during Early Access. Luckily, they’re anticipating that they’ll need a year to finish the game so there’s plenty of time, but if you want to jump aboard early then be prepared for a game that is granting fans some very early access indeed.

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