I played this game for a little over 20 hours and hit a major snag with the second to last boss based on the Xbox Achievement list. So I took a break and decided to write down my thoughts and experiences with Dolmen thus far. After crafting nearly 20 items and fighting a wide range of enemies, it’s safe to say. It will be simple for me to break down my experiences with this game so that you can decide whether it is worth your time and money. Prime Matter the publisher provided LV1 Gaming with the copy for the Xbox Series X.
Dolmen is an action-adventure RPG where corrupted aliens and ledges all work together to stop you. Not only the name of this title but the ultimate goal of the game Dolmen is the key to everything. The ability to travel vast distances in space by warping realities all with the power of Dolmen. Now, in order to get this Dolmen, you have to fight through hordes of Starship Trooper-style insects and fireball toting lifeforms. Keep in mind that as you are adventuring through Revion Prime when you die you will lose
The Enjoyable Parts
The story was not hidden in weapon descriptions or obscure to the point where you need a YouTube Lore Master to understand. The environment lets you know some gruesome level of violence is taking place and it’s all to find the Dolmen. Another important part was how close the respawn points are to each boss. The idea of having to fight through enemies again after already getting beat down by the boss is daunting. The folks over at Massive Work Studio saw it fit to show mercy and I’m grateful.
Also, the idea of crafting space greatswords was a definite plus. You are able to craft swords, axes, pistols, shotguns, and a variety of armor types. Not only do they offer different stat and element buffs. They also add or subtract faction ability points. There are three technology trees that your gear stems from Human, Revian, and Driller. When your gear has enough points from a certain faction you get extra abilities. For example, when you have three points in human tech you gain an energy boon.
Energy mode, enough said. In Dolmen, you can become a space marine super Saiyan. When you activate energy mode, you not only attack with energy rather than stamina. You deal elemental damage in the same way that your equipped reactor does. Despite the fact that there are only three options, they have made all the difference in many fights.
The Meh Parts
There were significant areas that felt deserted. Not to say that this game must be a boss rush or overrun with enemies. There were numerous areas that felt empty in between fights. Open areas that would lead a seasoned gamer to expect a large battle contained only a few enemies.
When it comes to crafting, two things can be true at the same time. Crafting is always a welcome mechanic in this genre of games. Loot drop variety and consistency were insufficient for this mechanic to shine. Loot drop rates may be increased in future patches, but for the time being, they cause some issues that lead to bigger problems.
This one might seem silly if I misread the directions, but I wanted to switch shoulders while shooting and couldn’t. Call me spoiled, but not being able to swap shoulders in combat feels awkward. The shooting isn’t bad, reminding me of Mass Effect, but having a blind spot while shooting is a pain.
The Bad Parts
When the multiplayer worked and enough resources dropped from enemies, it was a lot of fun. Dolmen fragments are required to obtain assistance or to assist someone in fighting a boss. Dolmen fragments appear to be dropped at random by random enemies. So getting four fragments to set up a multiplayer boss encounter is sometimes extremely simple. Sometimes it feels like an hour has passed and you still only have two fragments. To cut a long story short, the fragment drop rate must be increased.
Another issue with the multiplayer is that I did not find anyone playing whenever I checked the stations. Even back on the ship, no sessions were available. Now I did not look into it but maybe there is an overall problem with the online in-game.
Locking on to enemies when there is a group can lead to headaches and reset timelines. The lock on needs some improvement its led to me changing targets randomly quite a few times. Then the way bosses attack track-like homing missiles made by Iron Man. Seriously the dodge mechanic with a few of the bosses began to feel arbitrary. Now I’m not a pro at dodging and parrying so take this complaint with a grain of salt.
Overall Thoughts On Dolmen
To be honest, I’m proud of myself for not mentioning FromSoftware until now, but yes, this game is heavily inspired by those titles. You’ll die a lot, you’ll dodge and still get hit. There will be times when you need to rest, regroup, try a new weapon, and so on. To be honest, this isn’t one of the best experiences in the genre, but they do add new mechanics to keep things interesting. The energy mode and crafting are a welcome addition, but they cannot compensate for the game’s flaws. Dolmen gets a 6 out of 10 from me because it’s fun to play, colorful, and doesn’t require extensive research to figure out what’s going on in the world. But it falls short in key areas such as multiplayer, drop rates, and tracking. Dolmen is available on PC, Xbox Series X, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PlayStation 5 for $39.99.
Dolmen was reviewed on an Xbox Series X and the code was provided by the publisher.
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