Graywalkers: Purgatory is an early access turn-based RPG available on Steam. Joseph Pugh conducted this review.
Graywalkers: Purgatory is a turn-based RPG set in a world where heaven and hell have brought their war to earth in an event called the rupture. You control a team of people chosen by divinity to fight back. These men and women are called Graywalkers.
Anyone familiar with tabletop roleplaying games such as Dungeons and Dragons, Pathfinder, or Shadowrun will find themselves at home here. The games underlying mechanics are based on such a system currently being developed alongside the videogame.
While the game itself calculates the process behind the scenes. The core concept is there. Each character has different attributes from which secondary stats are derived and the rolling of dice dictates the outcomes. The character screens themselves are even called character sheets and are pretty recognizable as such.
If you have played similar tabletop games before, it feels familiar and homey. If you haven’t, it’s going to feel like a confusing mess. This is because Graywalkers is an early access game but is much earlier than most.
Graywalkers currently lacks a story campaign but does feature a set of missions you can play. Progress between missions is persistent and anything you gather during a mission comes with you. Characters gain XP and level up and you can earn new characters to add to your roster.
In addition to the missions mode, a separate mode, called Preludes, walks you through special missions for each character in the game and takes place before the chosen character joined the Graywalkers. Currently, only one such mission is available.
You move around the map in real-time, akin to original old school Fallout games. Combat transitions seamlessly to the turn-based mode when an enemy spots you. Each character has several action points they can use to move, reload, attack or cast spells with. Many actions have an energy cost and characters who run out of energy can spend their whole turn regaining a chunk of it.
What type of things a character can do depends on their equipment, skills, attributes, class, and race. While much of the interface is a mess, I very much enjoyed the tabletop game feel. There are a variety of races such as Human, Dhampir and Nephilim and classes that hit various archetypes of sluggers, shooters, rogues and spell slingers.
The combat mechanics feel solid. You can make multiple attacks if you have the spare action points or defend. Firearms need to be reloaded and ammo is not infinite. You can buff allies or impose status effects on enemies. I do have to point out my bias here. I live and breathe tabletop games so Graywalkers hits a spot with me. So I have an immediate understanding and kinship with it that some players won’t have.
Barest of Bones
Graywalkers has a great concept, a solid foundation, and an interesting setting. Its weakness is simply the fact that the game is nowhere near done.
Half of the menus are not implemented at all, including a roster wide inventory screen. There isn’t even a functioning options menu to tweak settings. The combat is interesting but lacks many systems that are not yet functioning. The buttons for crouching and changing your stance are there for example, but they don’t work and the game tells you as much when you hover your cursor over them.
There aren’t a lot of missions and the ones that are there lack any sort of replay value and are frankly dull. Most of them consisted of wandering around a map fighting groups of a single enemy type. The enemies themselves look cool but have very little in their tool kit, usually a single attack.
I spent most of my time simply clicking melee attacks over and over again until they died. Then moving to another group and repeating it until it was over. I encountered a few bugs, including one that I had to restart a mission to fix. Despite the fact my system wasn’t being taxed at all, the frame-rate was terribly inconsistent, dropping as low as single digits at times.
To call Graywalkers a bad game would be a little disingenuous. It would be akin to snatching the pizza dough from under a cooks hands and stuffing it in your face only to proclaim that the pizza was horrible.
Yet at the same time, if you waited at the counter and the cook handed you a box of pizza dough, you probably wouldn’t want to buy it until was done cooking with at least half of the toppings (No offense to you cheese only pizza munchers).
That is where Greywalkers is at. The concept is sound, the skeleton functions and what works, works pretty well. I am absolutely excited to see the game grow and evolve. The tabletop system hits a chord with me and I can see its potential to grow into something truly great.
I have zero desire to touch it until it does though and I somewhat regret spending my time on it. Much like an impatient child biting into a raw potato, it’s bitter and a poor decision. But I still want those freaking French fries.
A key for Graywalkers: Purgatory was provided for Gideon’s Gaming by Dreamlords Digital Inc.
- Interesting world and setting
- Neat tabletop RPG and dice system in videogame form
- Exciting foundation for the future
- Detailed character sheets
- Bugs and glitches
- Poor performance despite not taxing the PC
- Many menus and features do not function
- The game is simply to early in development to be in the hands of paying players