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Heretic Kingdoms Series


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This week I finished up a good game called Kult: Heretic Kingdoms.  It's published as "Heretic Kingdoms: The Inquisition" in North America.  This game came out in 2004 and was among the first of the "Diablo-clones" but honestly it's much more than that, because dungeon crawling is only half the game.  I won't post the trailer cause it doesn't remotely do the game justice.

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Kult also has an RPG aspect, where you have multiple lines of dialogue with characters to learn about the world, and you may also solve quests in different ways. For example, you can choose clever or diplomatic lines and avoid conflicts. Or you can be something of a psycho.  Oh, and did I mention that the premise of this game is that mankind literally killed God, and now strives to maintain order in a world where religion is forbidden and heresy the law?

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The game had one the most interesting, if not fully balanced, systems of leveling up your character and her skills.  Yes, HER, as you can only play as a single pre-made character, a female Inquisitor named Alita. To level up, you wear certain types of equipment, and the more experience you gain (fighting, questing) while wearing that gear, the more "attunements" you unlock. After they're unlocked, these attunements stick with the character and can be equipped like passive skills so long as the requirements are met (wearing heavy armor, using a fire weapon, etc.).

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The other really unique and fun aspect is the Dreamworld, which is like a parallel dimension your character can slip into.  Think of the Upside Down from the show Stranger Things and you've got a good notion of it.  Let's you're getting swarmed by bandits out in the wilderness.  You can slip into the Dreamworld (because of your mage powers) where the bandits can't follow you.  But... there may be even worse things in the Dreamworld waiting for you, like vengeful spirits and demons.

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It runs really well even in very high resolutions and I only had one crash (the game does not like being alt-tabbed out of).  Guys, this game is only 50¢ right now on GOG! That's a steal even for an older game like this.

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I love the premise... Dystopias fascinate me...and that little extra touch of magic is delightful.  that first image of the sand and dungeon with the winding stairs is just beautiful.  There's a lot of great artwork here... does it remind of Sacred?

.50 cents...steal :thumbsup:

:lol:

 

gogo

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18 hours ago, gogoblender said:

I love the premise... Dystopias fascinate me...and that little extra touch of magic is delightful.  that first image of the sand and dungeon with the winding stairs is just beautiful.  There's a lot of great artwork here... does it remind of Sacred?

.50 cents...steal :thumbsup:

:lol:

 

gogo

Remind of Sacred?  A little bit. It has a similar style, but the replay value is a lot lower, due to there only being one playable character and only a few different playstyles. Most attunements are just passive abilities as well. Overall I'd say it's about 15-20 hours of gameplay before you've seen everything the game has to offer.  I've played twice since its release in 2004 and I'm satisfied.   I'm STILL playing Sacred after 13 years lol.

It's also brutally difficult at the beginning. There is a nice optional mega-dungeon at the end to sate the hack'n'slash urge and test your powers.  And although the story is much shorter, I think it's actually a much BETTER story than any of the Sacred games, and that's where the RPG aspect comes in.

They released a sequel just a few years back called Shadows: Heretic Kingdoms, so I will be checking that out next.  Apparently it's the same developers and it continues the same story, which is just unheard of these days lol. So I'm looking forward to playing it.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 12/18/2019 at 7:51 AM, Flix said:

Shadows: Heretic Kingdoms, so I will be checking that out next.  Apparently it's the same developers and it continues the same story, which is just unheard of these days lol. So I'm looking forward to playing it.

Never played heretic kingdoms but the sequel is on special at Steam till Jan 3

https://store.steampowered.com/app/585450/Shadows_Awakening/

Edited by Augmint
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On 12/27/2019 at 8:42 AM, Augmint said:

Never played heretic kingdoms but the sequel is on special at Steam till Jan 3

https://store.steampowered.com/app/585450/Shadows_Awakening/

You're right, it is the sequel.  I thought I had bought a trilogy of games, but it turns out that Shadows: Awakening that you linked actually remakes the entirety of Shadows: Heretic Kingdoms AND completes the story line as well.

So... wow. I'm kind of torn on whether to even finish Shadows: Heretic Kingdoms since it's only half the story and I would have to replay the content all over again when I moved on to Awakening.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I LOVED the lost vikings... this is a brilliant review! I haven't played the game, but I do love a good read. I'm also a huge fan of themes from games, I can remember even main notes, and I would always hum them endlessly to the annoyance of my parents :lol:  The concept of these *puppets* is brilliant... and so is that range of different talents? It's like gaming has no limits!

:)
 

gogo

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  • 1 month later...

I have finished Shadows: Awakening.  And I enjoyed the hell out of it!  This game is a sequel to Kult: Heretic Kingdoms and also remakes Shadows: Heretic Kingdoms, and while continuing the story, basically doubling the content.

First thing's first: how does this game stack up against Shadows: Heretic Kingdoms?  Here's a side-by-side review:

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I'm glad I found out for myself, so I'd never have doubts, but my advice to any new player is to skip S:HK and go straight to Awakening. The newer title is superior in every way. It feels more complete, stable, balanced, smooth, streamlined, and overall more satisfying.

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The only things I miss from S:HK are:

1) Having 4 active spell slots instead of 3.  That being said, the spells are much better design in Awakening. They look better and more fun to use.

2) Darker, more contrasted dungeons - much more menacing atmosphere.  I guess they wanted to show off their new improved designs haha.

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3) More individual graphics options to tweak in the game menu (would be nice to turn off bloom). Awakening has this soft, hazy pink glow compared to S:HK's sharp and defined lighting.

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4) The missing prologue section linking the game to the original Kult: Heretic Kingdoms from 2004. I can't see any reason why they removed this.

5) This is an extremely minor nitpick, but they swapped the music between Thole (starting city) and the Outlands Oasis in Awakening. The Oasis music was goofy and I hate hearing it in Thole constantly. Thole's music was awesome and now you only hear it for a few seconds when you go to the Oasis.

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The list of ways that Awakening beats S:HK, on the other hand, is HUGE, and would take pages to list in detail. The characters, the attribute, skills and talents system, the level designs, the interface, the crafting system, the loot, the healing/mana system, all handled much better.

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The models and textures are a definite upgrade for all characters and items, and for most of the environments (though some lost a little details - see above comparison).  Despite the visual upgrade, performance is just as good or even better at times.

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Awakening also feels closer to the original Kult compared to S:HK, in terms of both visuals and mechanics. For example, the "Shadow World" where your spirit-self resides, ditched the green sci-fi Matrix visuals for a cool blue runic magic look (more like the Dreamworld from original Kult).

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In brief, Shadows: Heretic Kingdoms, feels like an unfinished, buggy, early access version of the "real" game, Shadows: Awakening.  If you bought S:HK you may be able to Awakening for free, if they're still honoring that deal. Very cool move on the part of the developers.

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Where the two games diverged is where the story really got interesting.  At this point we start returning to locations from the original game, Kult.

Kyallisar, which now has a far-east aesthetic.

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Entrance to the Oracle in the Redsmoke Mountains

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Frozen Dragon within the Oracle

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I hate to just talk about the game in relation to its predecessors, as it is a wonderful game all its own, and judging by what I've read many players came it to fresh without any context and still enjoyed.

A big part of what made this title stand apart from other action RPG's are: Puppets and Puzzles!

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There are 16 different puppets in the game. These are fully fledged playable characters, with their own unique skill trees and equipment, that you can switch between on the fly. They each have their own strengths and weaknesses. Many of the best battles will require you switch between various puppets, for example to apply debuffs to the enemy and buffs to yourself.  This makes for very dynamic and exciting combat.  You could play the same battle a hundred different ways.  You can't get all puppets on a single playthrough, so I see replay value for the game as pretty good.

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The puzzles are scattered throughout the game, some easy, some hard (I had to consult a few youtube videos lol) but typically not too bad.  Like the battles, they often requiring switching between your puppets to solve them.

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Best of all, I had zero bugs.  What a breath of fresh air!  No technical issues, and no bugged or missing content.  Get this game whenever you can find it on sale!

 

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I've been going very slow, have only gotten to Chapter 2 and about to fight Zaar. Been using the Barbarian, got Urshak and the Chromotan. Watched some playthroughs (had to in some cases for the puzzles). 

It is well designed but anyone looking for fighting hordes of enemies is going to be disappointed. 

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14 hours ago, Augmint said:

It is well designed but anyone looking for fighting hordes of enemies is going to be disappointed. 

There are a few dungeons where they really throw the enemies at you, especially in the second half of the game.  The Necropolis underneath Kyallisar was one of the most fun times I had in the entire game. It was waves and waves of undead, really required a lot of puppet-switching. 

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