Choices are the future of the past in our hands-on with this upcoming Souls-like
Souls-like is a definite genre now, perhaps right under the main Action RPG banner, and the plethora of games being developed with it as a definition isn’t a small number. Prime Matter, Koch Media & GoldKnights’ The Last Oricru is one new entry in that genre, focusing on the importance of choice as its core foundation.
Oricru is set in a medieval world, where human factions are at war with beasts (and each other), and it’s up to us to somehow resolve the mess. The game functions much like you’d expect from the genre: hack & slash, magic, run, loot. In my case I add in “die a lot” as a feature. It’s not a difficult game, but there is plenty of opportunity to fuck up (and I did!) and have to respawn way back at the beginning of an area. Each area is linear, so dying doesn’t bring you back to a different spawn point but the very start.
That’s where, in this demo, the game really tries to get us to understand the value of its co-op. Playing alongside Tobias, one of the development team, I’m in the game as a 2nd Player hologram. There’s a sci-fi twist to the narrative that we don’t get into too much in the demo, but suffice it to say that the medieval world is not exactly as it seems. As a hologram I can die endlessly and the main player only needs to run over and revive me — unless they’re in a heated battle or preoccupied and can’t reach me in time, after which I respawn alllll the way back at the beginning of an area, sometimes taking a few minutes to get back to where we were previously. The advantages of going co-op are almost immediate, as battles are more manageable and bonuses and stat progressions work for both of us at the same time. At one point we equip a sort of lightning rod staff, allowing the main player to connect to me with huge electric bolt that decimates any enemies in the path between us. It’s very satisfying to take down a row of giant rat men all at once, I have to admit.
Co-op may very well be the way to go with Oricru. Playing alone doesn’t give you some of those fun, destructive multiplayer benefits, but it does let you have choice-based plot adjustments. Though they’re not fruitful in a short demo session, these would include things like allying with one human outfit against another, or breaking allegiances with certain characters that may ultimately lead to them turning on you in battle.
And it’s all presented as a Souls-like, which means that the challenge is ratcheted up and the battles against the larger enemies and bosses can sometimes be brutal. We die a lot, and have to pick up all the same loot again, and fight the same rat dudes we just defeated. The short play session may not do it all justice, but the co-op may pique the interest of genre fans.
The Last Oricru is coming this year to PC Steam and consoles.