Achilles: Legends Untold is a soulslike action RPG set during the Trojan War. It definitely pays homage to Dark Souls, with many of the design elements sharing similarities from enemies dropping souls when defeated to the Shrine of Hades being essentially the same as bonfires. The question then becomes “is this a fun game?”. With the voice acting being very subpar, and the enemy AI being less than intelligent, the answer is still a yes, at least for me.
The core of the game has all the essential elements for what I find enjoyable in these type of games even with the surface elements lacking a bit of polish. Granted the version of the game I played was the beta, I’d doubt they’d redo everything such as the voice acting. The core of the game is still a very enjoyable experience in my opinion.
Achilles feels more like a dungeon crawler such as Path of Exile in terms of the level design. It’s pretty linear with branching paths leading to side dungeons or a small area with treasure. As you progress through the levels, you’ll have encounters with small groups of enemies. The combat is pretty darn fun. It’s definitely not as challenging as Dark Souls but if you play carelessly you will still die to even a normal grunt.
There has to be some care in approaching combat as you cannot run through levels when enemies are nearby. Running near enemies will quickly deplete your stamina bar, which is used for almost every action. Being unable to attack, dodge, block, or roll out of harms way will oftentimes lead to a very quick death. Managing your stamina is important so attacking, backing out, regaining stamina, and repeating the process becomes the natural rhythm for combat encounters.
They do mix things up by adding in archers and more powerful enemies so the combat doesn’t become stale. Between nice chunks of exploring, you’ll run into boss encounters as well. You have a few bosses available in the beta, such as Hector the Brave and The Skeleton King. The boss encounters can be pretty challenging. It took me a couple of tries to beat Hector and I’m perfectly fine with this level of difficulty. I don’t need to every game to be the same level of challenge as Dark Souls where I took what feels like forever to defeat certain bosses. Nameless King I’m looking at you!
As for the character progression system, it’s pretty simple but effective. You can visit any Shrine and use the souls to upgrade your stats such as strength for increased weapons damage to vitality for more health and so forth. One of the most useful upgrades is the parry and counter attack ability. Successfully parrying blocks damage and leaves the enemy open for attack. Parrying is probably one of the most useful abilities in a game like this. You can make do without it, but it does make life much easier.
The game also has a humorous Captain America like mechanic where you can throw your shield at an enemy and magically bring it back. It is pretty useful but does use up your energy meter. There was also a backstab ability but it did not seem to work in the beta as far as I could tell.
The game also has a weapon upgrade system similar to Dark Souls. You visit the blacksmith Hephaestus and spend souls along with upgrade materials such as bronze to level up your weapons. This increases the base damage dealt. The weapons do scale to your stats so leveling up strength will also increase damage as well.
Overall, Achilles: Legends Untold is a pretty fun dungeon crawling, soulslike experience. The beta definitely lacked some polish. Aside from the voice acting, you could also cheese combat encounters by running away far enough to have the enemies reset and then attack them in the back as they run back to their original positions. These were minor drawbacks and I genuinely found the game fun. Exploring dungeons, fighting enemies, finding treasure, and upgrading your character felt very solid.