Dolmen: The Souls-Like with Dead Space Atmosphere (PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One)

Announced during the E3 period in June 2021, Dolmen had an element that changed from the traditional Souls-like: a horror sci-fi (science fiction) environment and not a dark fantasy for most of the titles in this section. This atmosphere of dead space is also a big part of the game.

Dolmen Hall is the brainchild of the developers at Massive Work Studio. Founded in 2016, the Natal-based Brazilian team has members who have already worked in the world of video games. On their counters, there are titles like Wow (World of Warcraft), Diablo 3 or Injustice 2.

In space, no one will hear your screams

If it’s really part of the Souls-Like branch that provides information to discover during games (newspapers, etc.), Dolmen is betting on a difference, the context of which is immediately notified to us.

We live in a science fiction universe, many star systems for new technologies have been colonized by humanity. The first: space travel and the second, genetic manipulation. This evolution of the human species and their offspring have transformed living beings into what is called “genospaces”.

This is how the story unfolds in the Revium system, especially in the Revion Prime, the most distant planet in the galaxy, attracting an unparalleled discovery: the “Dolmen” crystal. The latter, possessing radiation, interdimensional properties. If previously an alien race (Vahani) refined these red crystals, it is now the Joan Corp Company that has adopted the process of refining dolmens.

Unfortunately, an interdisciplinary event occurred and the evil creature called the “nightmare” landed on the Revion Prime. Today you are the first person to visit this hostile planet. Your goal is not only to recover information as well as materials and samples for Zoan Corp, but also to contain this great threat that represents a “nightmare”. A heavy work, needless to say …

Its universe, with its twists and a few terrifying passages, strongly reminds us of Dolmen’s overall environment, dead space (heavy, oppressive moments, etc.) very successfully and easily immerses us in the feeling of clear anxiety.

The foundation of the soul, the class,.

But before exploring the Raven Prime and coming across different aspects of the game including the very Souls-esque RPG elements (demand, patience, etc …) as well as some welcome features such as a separate power gauge, you must first shape its fighter or At least have to choose. Her class. While one may choose a common character as a recruit, in other words it is a fairly starting one from scratch, other classes have a slightly more general dominance. For example, the sniper logically focuses on the use of guns / broad weapons, the tank class is more based on survival and explicitly refers to the Constitution (PVs) and shields. Although Bounty Hunter tolerance quotas are a very important feature, like Souls and Souls, every “classic” action (strike, dodge, etc.) draws on a gauge before automatic regeneration.

However, be aware that the choice of class is not necessarily critical for the rest of the events. In fact, since the structure of our character is changeable, it is possible to differentiate its properties (energy, science, vitality,…) or statistics if you like, as well as weapons,… so we can try different types to create a unique character, for example a An even “slower” HP bag for balancing between blows and a range of weapon combos, or hits but more resistant in return.

… But also the demanding aspects and welcome features

Like a soul, Dolmen has many subtle subtleties, such as the Dark Souls, the Mortal Shell, the Lords of the Fallen, the Code Wayne, the Serge or even the Demons Souls. Not surprisingly, evolving into a world like this – of course science fiction and oppression here – with multiple hazards, enemies sometimes discover multiple branches of secrecy in poorly perceived passages (for example, behind a low wall or in a narrow corridor), for crafts and other resources. .

However, we also find two common recurring features for this type of title, the first being the recovery of arrears (nanites or points of experience) lost at a place of death, or certain loss in the event of an earlier untimely death. Essential recovery – used to motivate our hero – and the second process comes from the relay which basically works the same as the Dark Souls campfire: healing, boost (here with a spin on a ship) as well as resurrection of enemies who die in battle.

At the heart of the gameplay, the Dolmen clash is as much a source of frustration as it is a source of satisfaction. In fact, the movement of the character is quite slow and heavy in a rather “inflexible” direction. Jenner’s regulars will therefore be familiar with most of the features present: weak and strong attacks should be combined or not combos, slow dodge set at the right time, all controlled by a stamina gauge, guard, hesitant action, enemies betraying or hitting groups that Sometimes hard to deal with, and so on. As always, reading enemy patterns is one of the most important points of survival.

As our fighters are less lively than their opponents, we must anticipate injury, play with patience, but also consider this particular “old” movement associated with delay. If you are of a nag nature, for example by making several attacks in a row from the first movement then a dodge, the software follows the programming and executes it without you being able to intervene. In other words, if the enemy hits you during your attack, you will not be able to intervene, so you really need to consider this delay.

The dead are undoubtedly in the game, especially since we often encounter powerful enemies, but in return the software still manages to integrate the pleasant mechanics openly. We’re specifically thinking of a “blue” power meter that can be recharged during games So we’re not talking about health penalties or tolerance, we’re talking about a third individual gauge used for a number of things. First, it is used for the use of a range gun, each shot – depending on the weapon – temporarily drawing on this power before the automatic regeneration.

Second, even basic properties like ice or even acid have special abilities that allow them to exploit the opponent’s weakness through charged or conventional shots or blow weapons. And finally the possibility of curing part of the PVs, except that in this case the energy bar does not reproduce on its own. This third measure is therefore very useful, but you also need to know how to use it wisely so as not to make yourself small in fragile or desperate situations. Because we like to warn you, in the middle of a fight you will rarely have the luxury of being able to recharge your energy (using a suitable object) without being attacked by opponents and therefore see death hovering over your head.

If the gameplay is too long for newcomers to learn, especially in the case of latency, energy recharge, strikes or the difference between one or two hand weapons, the software is not extra punitive because the relays (backups) are at a good distance from each other, but because we Can make stronger a little stronger and more resistant to return to charge.

However, if, some enemies have an AI stuck behind a wall at the bottom, and some officers need less to defeat them, Queen Kaniptei is already at a much higher level. It brings with it a fair amount of difficulty, pain and satisfaction after defeating him, which is rarely admitted.

The last point before closing this gameplay passage, be sure to go through the improvement of your character. Because in this area Dolmen has a tool system, in addition to distributing feature points (energy, science, etc.) missing a small role for casuals. That way, after we create them using resources, we can equip ourselves with breastplates and other leggings with multiple features and bonuses: primary, health, … and let’s not forget the skill tree palette, we should not neglect to prepare well . For example, the human axis focuses on damage and motion, while the drill part focuses on increasing endurance and hit points.

A dead space atmosphere

Now let’s move on to the graphic cover, and let’s be clear at this point: Dolmen isn’t here to impress or compete with some recent production. Conversely, if we clearly see a heavy atmosphere as well as an oppressive atmosphere through the places we travel, while certain textures and models prove to be a little more basic than others, the camera is sometimes a little more amusing. Similarly, the menus deserved a bit more ergonomics and attractiveness, there we are really on the basics but in the long run we must get used to it.

Let’s end this graphic / technical aspect by mentioning that there are two modes: performance and quality. Clearly for this type of heading, we recommend that you favor a liquidity supply and therefore 60FPS, for the loss of part of the visual aspect.

From a word standpoint, the dubbing is in English or Portuguese (Brazilian) and the interface and subtitles are in French. The sound effects are rather well-crafted, and even if the music is often “received” so that we can further soak up the surrounding and disturbing atmosphere, OST contributes well to the atmosphere.

Tested on Xbox Series X.

If Dolmen is inspired and reproduces from a few years ago with everything related to the mechanics of Souls: sometimes the big size problem, a perfect AI, sometimes a clever camera, lack of ergonomics on the menu, still not a good experience. Clearly, to repeat itself, its heavy and annoying dead space atmosphere is really different, such as its fields for improvement or the subtleties of energy measurements. But beware, Dolmen is an experience that is not given to certain hands, even though it is worth playing with several in multiplayer against the bosses. It is obvious that casual gamers and newcomers to the genre will be put aside in need of high quality and patience. The note is therefore a mixture of the two parts.

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