Dragon Fin Soup is one of the many projects that has seen the light thanks to the existence of the Kickstarter platform and the perseverance of some old-time developers. Grimm Bros is in fact a small independent company whose members are located in different geographical areas, from Los Angeles to Bankok, passing through Chicago and London. The project was financed, at least in part, through a crowdfunding campaign launched in March 2014 with an initial goal of only $ 24.
At the end of the month of funding, the figure reached exceeded $ 119 and was sufficient to guarantee multi-platform development. Given the logistics, it took about two years of work, coordinated entirely via the web and without an operational headquarters as a fixed point of reference. For the moment the game is available on PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Steam and Humble Bundle, but in the future the marketing has already been planned also on Xbox One, Mac, iOS, Android and Linux, as confirmed by the relative logos present. on the official website. Dragon Fin Soup is essentially a tribute to the tactical RPG genre with a top view but also to the Roguelike mechanics, which determine the high level of challenge and the considerable degree of punishment. Grimm's interest in action adventure dynamics and Japanese-style role-playing drifts led to the fusion of the two genres, combined in the context of a procedural architecture that embraces the construction of quests as well as the formulation of scenarios. Given that some members of this new reality have over fifteen years of experience spent in video game development, we could have expected very good things, but after having tried the whole offer firsthand we were rather indifferent.
Dragon Fin Soup has a role-playing imprinting that is juxtaposed with Roguelike dynamics
Dragon Fin Soup has twenty trophies, of which eleven are silver and eight are gold. Some are related to the main campaign, others to the completion of additional modes or mini games.
The fantasy world outlined in this RPG tells of a deity known as the Dragon Turtle, on whose back lies the magical world that players have the opportunity to explore. Due to a war between humans and the Wesen race, life aboard this creature was in danger of capitulating forever. Now, thousands of years after those events, an interstellar planet has entered on a collision course with that entity and thus another era has begun, made up of new feats and heroes. These banal premises are the pretext to introduce us to the adventure that sees the young Red Robin as the protagonist, defined as none other than a cheerful drunkard mercenary. Perhaps it will be the fault of the amnesia, or perhaps of the ethyl abuse, the fact is that our unlikely heroine has totally lost her memory and has forgotten her previous past, although the past is destined to peep out again, a bit in the manner of the good old Geralt of Rivia. As we have said, the peculiarity of this product is that each map of the main mode is generated in a procedural way, both for the setting of the environments and in the structure of the quests and even in the related animated sequences. The two different difficulty levels allow you to choose to what extent you intend to be subjected to severe punishments: the Classic mode allows you to reload the save file in case of death, while the Hardcore one does not grant any privileges and, in case of defeat , eliminates all the progress accumulated up to that moment. The combat system boasts a tactical approach, which however does not rigidly break the progression of the attack phases.
It lacks the assignment of movement points, while through the left analog stick it is possible to move seamlessly in any direction. The greater the movements carried out, the more extensive the raids planned by the enemies will also be revealed. However, the procedural dynamics did not excite us more than they should, especially after spending several hours of gameplay completing short-range and all too similar tasks. The defects that emerged are more or less usual when this development philosophy is contrasted with the level design planned by the human mind, and can be summarized in one word: monotony. Yes, because if it is true that there are different chromatic variations and a large number of corridors and areas mixed together with each new assignment, this same flatness of content soon ends up boring the eye and reducing the propensity or desire to explore. every corner in search of objects, recipes and secrets. Added to this is also a limited dynamism of the movement system, which appears too little fluid and somewhat mechanical. The action slots located at the bottom of the screen contain a spectrum of attacks and potions that can be equipped and progressively improved with leveling up, while the weapons allow for both ranged engagement and melee approach. Although the movements are quite free, there is the possibility of taking all the time to make the next move, without being conditioned or having to act on instinct. The only strategic advantage over the opponents concerns the diagonal attacks carried by the medium distance, exercisable exclusively by Robin and useful to cut the advance of the forces controlled by artificial intelligence. Within the menus there are also a large amount of objects and functions that can be managed, from the crafting of weapons to the enhancement of skills and potions, from the customization of your equipment to the selection of your arsenal, which includes bows, rifles, bombs and powers that must be unlocked upon completing quests. The creation of your own support team passes from the selection of some animals that can be brought with you at any time, or you can opt for the help of other mercenary warriors, who will lend a hand only after receiving a lot of money. Also in the case of the interface there are more or less evident flaws that should have been treated with greater attention, especially due to the inconvenience in dragging and selecting consumable objects and in the predisposition of powers. Even for the tasks to be carried out they are never particularly fun to complete, proving too often anonymous and lacking in variety, also due to the slowness with which the main quest is addressed.
Two additional modes have also been added to support the main campaign. The first is Survival, which allows you to discover the world of Asura even more deeply, starting within a forest with a basic level of experience and very limited resources. Thanks to free exploration you can get access to secret areas, always generated in a procedural way, full of threats but also of puzzles to solve.
For this side of the game, the Roguelike contaminations have been taken into consideration and consequently this is also the mode that boasts the highest level of difficulty. Alternatively, there is the so-called Infinite Labyrinth, a structure that also needs to be faced with limited resources and an increasingly complex approach. In both cases, exactly as happens in the aforementioned Hardcore mode of the campaign, death leaves no way out: rescue lifted and goodbye to your liver. These two alternatives are functional to extend the overall longevity of the game, even if in our opinion the same problems encountered on the main side remain a clear deterrent to deepening, especially by virtue of a sporadic amount of stimuli and the absence of those due precautions. in the combat system or in the management of the user interface. On the other hand, the presence of the Spanish language localization of all the texts, including the introductory manual, which compensates for the absence of an initial tutorial, is positive. On the contrary, the soundtrack seemed uninspired and afflicted by the same monotony that accompanies the whole work.
Dragon Fin Soup had good potential but the opportunities were only minimally exploited. The procedural soul of the project has not been able to convince us and it will be difficult for us to pick up the adventure again in the weeks to come. However, it should not be forgotten that, throughout the month of November, the game will be available free of charge for subscribers to Sony's PlayStation Plus service. Therefore, if you are a big fan of old school tactical RPGs, this could still be a good way to give it a chance, without obligation.
- Good character progression system
- Many objects, spells, weapons of various kinds
- Three different game modes
- High level of challenge, especially in Hardcore mode
- Linear and fairly monotonous missions
- Cumbersome displacement system
- The procedural creation of layers makes them too similar in the long run
- Some inconveniences in the management of the menus