I’ll be honest: I’m not entirely sure what to make of darkForge Games’ Nekro. A fast-paced, bloody action game with a healthy dose of RPG elements, there’s a lot that’s familiar to me by way of other games I’ve played, but with a ton of twists that make it something different than I’m accustomed to. Rather than taking a high-powered player character into combat with some help from powerful spells and summons, Nekro focuses on the summons and powers as a primary means of play, leaving the central figure a pretty frail creature that can’t accomplish much on its own.
I’ll admit, first and foremost, that it took me a few attempts to really get the hang of Nekro. It’s not that it’s an especially difficult thing, but that I’m so unused to relying on support characters to get anything done. I was a bit put off by the ease with which my character was killed, no matter which of the three powers (aka classes) I turned to; the initial offering for these choices are the Alchemist, equipped with a ranged attack and the power to heal summoned creatures, the Grim Keeper, who hurls grenades and swings a hefty sack, and the Outcast, a brawler type with a long chain-hook for drawing enemies in for beatings. I had the most success overall with the Alchemist, personally, but I could see how the others could work well for other playstyles.
Gameplay centers on causing death and destruction, with a heavy slant towards careful resource management. Enemies killed by your primary attack or standard summons will leave behind corpses; these can be consumed to regain health and blood (used for most summons), or can be used up to boost many of your summons in some way – increased duration, higher strength, or even additional creatures may result from using a corpse in this way. Your Nekro can also unleash a Scourge, a serpentine beastie that causes extreme damage that will also destroy any enemy it kills, meaning no corpse is left.
As to the nuts and bolts of gaming experience, Nekro delivers pretty well. The graphics are crisp and well-done enough to help out the somewhat poor sound design, and the controls, while a bit tricky to get the hang of for me, are pretty responsive. The variety offered up by different classes, summons, and items brings a lot to the table, and there’s a thorough promise of more content to come as release nears. Available now as a preorder for $19.99 via Steam, I’m not entirely sure I’d pony up for it, but if it’s more your style of game – especially with multiplayer capability in the works – I’d easily say it’s got enough content built in or coming down the pipeline to justify the price.
[+Great variety of play styles] [+Solid, gore-filled graphics] [+Humorous story and plot] [-Poor sound design] [-Steep learning curve] [-Still in beta]