Dolmen Preview – When Mass Effect Meets Dark Souls

Dolmen Preview – When Mass Effect Meets Dark Souls

Dolmen is a third person action sci-fi RPG horror that combines elements of Dark Souls and Mass Effect. Take on space bug creatures as you explore the planet of Revion Prime, a forgotten planet ravaged by time, haunted by a massacre and discover the secret of it’s darkness. Dolmen is currently looking for funding on their Kickstarter project which is nearing it’s time with only a day to go! Here’s a preview on the Dolmen project and overall thoughts.

Dolmen – Preview

Genre:  RPG,  ARPG, Horror, Sci-Fi
Developed by: Massive Work Studio
Published by: TBA
Release date: Q4 2019
Platforms:  PC, Xbox One, PS4
Website:  http://dolmenthegame.com

Dolmen Features

  • A sci-fi based action RPG offering third person combat
  • The ability to craft items/weapons and harvest materials to create upgraded armor
  • Smart ranged combat – elemental weapons use debuffs to slow down creatures and help create critical damage
  • Challenging enemies and range of bosses
  • Survive and explore a planet with less than friendly inhabitants
  • Online co-op mode and PvP (part of the Kickstarter stretch goal)
  • Constantly changing terrain, plants, fog in every level

Story & Setting

The story takes place after the player awakens from a cyropod inside their ship miles away from the surface of the planet of Revion Prime, a cruel and harsh environment overrun with large bug like creatures that are ready to rip apart anyone who comes into contact with them. As an abducted human astronaut who has little to no memory of the previous events, the player can hear a distinct voice in their mind, but whether the alien voice’s intentions are amicable or harmful is yet unknown. There are also clues left around from past crew members, helping the player to piece together the parts of the puzzle of what actually happened.

The environment is unforgiving with an array of life at every turn, the path is full of traps and exploding plants that could be your last step. The demo shows rocky caverns below the surface of the planet, the player must proceed to discover the remnants of their past crew.

Gameplay

Dolmen offers melee combat that allows the player to hit and swipe at creatures, together with some duck and roll maneuvers, creates fast paced movement and ability to dodge attacks. Still at the early stages of development, actions are a little primitive (to say the least), yet shares promise of what can be expected later on as the game draws nearer to launch. Those who enjoy hand-to-hand combat, and have played Dark Souls, will appreciate it’s drawn inspiration and similarities in terms of combat style. Players can attack, block and dodge in order to take down enemies using a close range melee weapon and a portable shield.

Dolmen also features Elemental Weapons, which are ranged weapons that have interesting debuffs that counter alien creatures you find on the planet. Using the ability of frost to slow enemies in their path, gives time to melee them down before they thaw which is strangely satisfying and fun. This leads me to believe that they may have different enemies susceptible to certain elements depending on zone. It will be interesting to see them to expand on this concept with something hopefully in the flame thrower region, because wouldn’t that be awesome?

The in-game menu looks very similar to Souls and Bloodborne.

As you progress through the game, there are activation points that allow you to access your ship and act as “save points”. The ship is your main sanctuary where you can store weapons in your vault, use harvested material to upgrade/craft items, and regenerate your health.

Dolmen allows the ability to craft new items, upgrade weapons as well as armor from harvesting materials from the bodies of your enemies. Materials will come from an array of enemies which you must track down and can be used to make survival gear. Crafting can only be done in the sanctuary of your ship, you must have the required materials in order to upgrades the weapon/armor.

How to you make a fly swatter?

Audio & Visuals

The soundtrack is composed by Antônio Teoli who does a fantastic job of combining cinematic scores of classical music with sci-fi electronic vibes. A choir can be heard adding to further tension and mystery in all the right places.

From what we can see from the demo and available graphic art, Dolmen has a derelict backdrop making the player feel instantly alone (you know, apart from the not so comforting alien voice in your head). The sense of being underground with only a glimpse of light above gives an eerie feel to it, and leaves you wondering if you’ll ever reach the surface again…

Looks warm and cozy…

The creatures that live on the planet resemble bugs that have been given a fairly high dose of radiation, morphed into their true form and have now decided to take their revenge on human kind! The visuals of these aliens really remind me of something from Starship Troopers, as some have long arachnid-like legs that seem as though they come at you from every direction. The Dolmen team do a fantastic job in creating creatures that are truly horrifying to look at and something you just won’t feel guilty about when you’re bashing in it’s brains.

The only good bug, is a dead bug.

Final Thoughts

Although Dolmen sets out to be an action packed game, it does create a lot of intrigue when it comes to the back story. Why or how the main character finds themselves alone on an alien planet is mysterious and hopefully there’s an equally satisfying answer to follow. The fact that I’m even curious at all after a demo, is a great sign, however.

The game definitely has a horror vibe to it, much like Hellpoint, and there is some definite potential for jump scares. There are different types of alien creatures yet to be encountered, while maybe not as creepy as something like Dead Space, they are definitely in the same neighborhood. If you like worrying what’s around the next corner in these sorts of games, Dolmen definitely has you covered there.

Dolmen shows promising signs of a sci-fi action RPG. With a chance to discover a mysterious planet, craft and upgrade weapons, and find unique elemental weapons, it all adds up to a fun-filled game. The fact that it concentrates on melee combat a lot more than most sci-fi games is something that is unique. Most games in this setting or genre opt for gun play to be the main focus, but because you are on a desolate planet where you must harvest material to survive supports the idea of survival, facing more melee combat, at least to begin with.

The intent of possible co-op or PvP would add versatility to the game, join up with friends to take down bugs would be a fun experience to be had by all, but as this is stretch goal for the Kickstarter will all depend on funding. Dolmen will be available once funding is completed on Windows PC, Xbox One and PS4 in late 2019 and have a Nintendo Switch version is an early stretch goal.

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Avid PC gamer and Twitch streamer. Loves online multi-player games and believes games should have amazing storylines not just great graphics.

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