Achilles: Legends Untold – PS5 Review

It’s been a good year for souls-likes. Whilst the more notable ones haven’t all clicked with me, I enjoy seeing the genre take on a more robust shape. Dark Point Games arrive with, from what I can tell is their first effort. Achilles: Legends Untold takes the Greek mythos and populates a world dominated by otherworldly creatures and Gods. Despite some potential teething problems, what remains is an enjoyable, solid adventure.

The Greek pantheon has been plundered many times but it’s a good way to mix Gods and mortals. Achilles definitely has the strength to slay thousands of people and beasts alike. It begins with him slain by Paris but he returns to Greece with no memory and with half a foot in the realm of the dead. It’s a decent premise for mystery and the game plays with the two plains of existence well.

There’s plenty of characters to meet for more context. Unfortunately the voice acting is wildly inconsistent. Clearly it’s a reality of budget but the Polish cast is not the right fit for the story. Achilles especially sounds flat. The female actors seem to fare better, approaching something more classically English. As it is, the performances don’t feel cohesive.

The isometric perspective makes Achilles: Legends Untold feel more like a traditional dungeon crawler than a souls clone. The combat certainly takes hold of that blueprint. Attacks take stamina, have a certain amount of animation time associated with it, but it combines to be something more fluid. Mobility in battle is aided by a roll which I found more effective than blocking. A well-timed block can trigger a parry but it needs to be unlocked on the skill tree to be used.

The overhead perspective does provide a greater sense of the battlefield. If fights remained as one-on-one contests, things would feel smooth. As it is, there’s a big onus on dealing with groups. Thankfully, animations can be cancelled out of and I do feel that helps keep your nose clean. Lock-on is a lot less favourable. In a crowd, it can be really difficult to pick the right target. On top of that, I’ve had strikes whiff completely because I was targeting an enemy behind the one I wanted to hit.

It’s messy but what saves Achilles: Legends Untold is how lenient the combat can be. The roll has such a range on it that you can poke and prod whilst also staying out of damage range. As long as your spacing is good, it’s relatively-trouble free. On top of this, I found healing items easy enough to come by. Groups could be a pain to manage but, as long as I kept my weapons upgraded, I could swing through them.

What it tended to devolve into was a game more akin to something like Diablo. Enemies felt like fodder mobs and exploring each area became more intriguing than the bread and butter combat. You are rewarded handsomely for poking into every corner. The map does a good job of showing uncovered ground and points of interest. There is so much gear to discover. I found myself sticking to a strength build with axes but I could see any weapon being viable.

There is a skill tree. Rather than the traditional stats sheet, it’s presented as astrological signs. Each stat has it’s own branch and meeting certain thresholds gains access to bonus abilities. It looks nice but I do find navigating it can be a bother. Scampering back through the tree to upgrade a neglected stat feels a little clumsy. As can looking ahead to see if there’s any skills you really want to unlock.

The stats available to you are fairly standard and very minimal. I decided to leave wrath (which governs your special attacks) and luck. Concentrating on vitality, endurance and strength got me more than enough resilience and damage. A more balanced jack of all trades looks doable as I’m still gaining levels long past the end of the playthrough.

Achilles: Legends Untold is very generous with experience. The game is probably going to take you 15-20 hours but there are numerous side missions and diversions that will reward an extra level on completion. Again, wandering the world is gratifying and very little of my time felt wasted. It’s surprisingly good at keeping you moving forward.

I feel the visuals are serviceable. The isometric perspective doesn’t allow for much in the way of spectacle but there are moments where the camera will shift to show off a background vista. Cutscenes typically maintain the viewpoint which means there’s not a chance for a close up or some nuance. Most conversations are between rigid participants. The areas have varied motifs but they largely come off a little bland, to me.

Enemy variety does eventually arrive but there’s a lot of wading through soldiers to get there. Their lines will frequently repeat and it just hammers home much most of the opposition feels like disposable fodder. Areas have an ambience to them but there is very little musical accompaniment to speak of. It does help add an atmosphere but lacks a certain bombast.

Achilles: Legends Untold is a competent and enjoyable hack and slash adventure. It may take combat cues from Dark Souls but the challenge is much more forgiving. Exploration feels satisfying and I never felt like much of it was wasted. Group combat can be occasionally clumsy but the leniency with health, stamina and damage led to a game I genuinely enjoyed.

Achilles: Legends Untold
7 Overall
+ Lenient and enjoyable combat.
+ Rewarding exploration.
+ Nicely paced.
+ Varied environments with solid ambience.
- Group combat can occasionally feel clumsy and chaotic.
- The voice performances are all over the place.
- The perspective can make the narrative feel a bit distant and plain.
- Enemy variety is a little thin.
If you can look past the issues with presentation and group combat, Achilles: Legends Untold is an interesting effort that delivers a competent power fantasy from the Greek mythos. Whilst I didn't feel engrossed by the story, the exploration was satisfying and the rewards just kept coming. It lacks finesse and fighting can be clumsy but I was engrossed enough to see the journey through. It's worth checking out.

About Mike

Mike gets all the racing games because he understands that stuff even though he doesn't drive.

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