Developed by KING Art Games, The Dwarves met its Kickstarter goal last October with the hope to release the game midway through the 2016 calendar year. While the game is still not officially released, Kickstarter backers can experience the Beta version of the game, which was released the first week of June. A tactical role-playing game (RPG), The Dwarves focuses on centering the game around a story driven narrative with physics-based combat.
Based on the best-selling novel of the same name (The Dwarves), KING Art Games plans to bring the game to PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. During E3 2016, I was fortunate enough to sit down with one of the developers of the game and be guided through 45 minutes of gameplay covering the game’s opening sequence and beyond. Although the presentation was controlled using an Xbox 360/One controller, it was recommended to play the game using traditional mouse and keyboard controls, as they were still tweaking the game for full controller support. I was assured that the bugs would be ironed out in time for release, especially with the game coming to consoles where every player will be using a controller.
The first thing I noticed was how the game had a similar camera angle to Diablo, Victor Vran, and other action RPGs, but The Dwarves is not an action game. Playing like one will be your downfall, as the game employs a tactical pause similar to Dragon Age and Mass Effect, making the game more about strategy than focusing on hack and slash combat. The game is designed to make your feel like you are up against incredible odds, and it evidently showed, as the lonely dwarves were surrounded by countless green-skinned Orcs. Moving near foes, your character will auto-attack, however, only with their most basic attack. To put down the filthy Orcs for good, you’ll want to take advantage of your four slots for special abilities. You’ll gain more during the campaign, some active and some passive, but you’ll only be able to use four different active abilities at a time.
Pausing the action to get a better understanding of the battlefield is paramount, especially since most of the abilities that I was shown targets more than a single foe. Leaping into the action, for example target a wide area, highlighting enemies in red and friendly units in blue. With the game’s physics-based combat, enemies can fly off ledges/cliffs or even knock each other to the ground, allowing for a one-hit kill, replenishing your meter to use special abilities.
Throughout the narrative party members will come and go, but parties will max out at four different members at a time. The game includes a narrator the help keep the narrative moving forward, as well as fully voiced conversations. Dialogue choices provide additional details to the story, for those that wish to become enthralled in the world’s lore, but it is entirely optional. I do not want to give too much away, but the plot features ambitious dark elves; and elves and dwarves don’t usually get along in most fantasy settings.