Death’s Door Review – Absolutely CAWesome

0

Death Gate on PC

Back in early 2021, I didn’t think a game about a sentient crow gaining its wings as a Soul Reaper would be one of my Game of the Year contenders, and yet, there we are. Death Gate has arrived, delivered spoonfuls of frantic, swift action, and left me hungry for more. Like the Outer Wilds in 2019 or the Hades in 2020, he’s this year’s independent underdog with his sights set on the jackpot, and I’ll be backing him all the way.

But let’s take a step back. Death’s Door is courtesy of the talented folks at Acid Nerve, the team behind the 2015 boss challenge game, Titan Souls. This time around, the developer has chosen to broaden their scope, creating a sprawling hub world to explore with different bosses on the prowl in each direction. He feels more ambitious of the shift and that’s good for him, with his world oozing with a charm of dark humor all wrapped up in a cel-shaded art style that makes every scene appear as if it’s been ripped from a children’s storybook.

In all of its dry humor and rather dark sources, Death’s Door manages to engage in some interesting commentary on mortality. Generally speaking, humanity’s reluctance to accept our time is limited and our desperation to leave our mark on the world before the death call calls us. The message is there, but massed under layers of dark humor, enchanted worlds and a magical soundtrack of booming wind instruments, strings and drums that perfectly capture the atmosphere of the world, complementing the artistic style of fairy tales.

Our protagonist, a crow who works for the “Harvest Commission” finds his job much more interesting once a soul he’s tasked with harvesting is stolen. The adventure unfolds as the crow plunges through different gates in search of the thief, leading to new areas such as the Lost Graveyard, a vast open world full of inaccessible Metroidvania-style areas that you will need to return to later once you do. you have filled your arsenal and / or your abilities.

In the Lost Graveyard is a door that requires the souls of three fearsome creatures long after they expire to open.

As a result, our raven boyfriend must find, fight, and defeat each of these bosses, all located in their own uniquely designed areas, starting from the main central world. It’s exploring these areas and the central world itself that makes Death’s Door such a joy to play. There are so many intricacies and hidden paths in each level that it’s easy to get lost in the enchanting world.

Navigating winding paths, figuring out how to unlock a route so you can plant a seed to recover your health before tapping, or covering the old terrain with new abilities to reach new areas previously unreachable is just as enjoyable as the combat, and that says a lot about how exceptional the world design is.

death gate exam

I mentioned in my preview that the world of the “Soul Harvest Commission” that you enter the various worlds from seemed a bit underused. While there have been little bits of lore in the books in areas that are only accessible with the use of abilities you unlock along the way, I still found myself wanting a little more. . I’m absolutely nit-picking here, but that gives you an idea of ​​how much I enjoyed the experience overall.

Sadly, in order to adapt to the gripping world, developer Acid Nerve had to reduce the number of boss fights compared to his previous title Titan Souls. It is possible to beat the game only by taking on seven boss fights, with a few more optional ones hidden away from the beaten track, which helps improve the abilities you unlock along the way.

It might sound a little underwhelming to some, but rest assured that every Death’s Door boss has been meticulously crafted to allow for a difficult and thrilling death battle. In my preview, I was eager to see how the other areas of the game (and their bosses) would mix up gameplay and combat mechanics, and I’m happy to be able to confirm that the boss fights themselves manage to do just that. .

In one instance, I found myself up against a Frog King in a boss battle that really mixed things up, adding an extra puzzle element to the mix. In his second phase, the big bad sucked the tiles from the floor, limiting my maneuverability, forcing me to figure out how to restore them before removing them all and sending me plummeting to untimely death. He felt distinctly different from the pottery loving chick I had taken off for the first time, and his design and stories offered many challenges without ever feeling unfair.

What was a little disappointing was how these boss fights stayed the same in each area. You had to collect the souls of previous Soul Reapers who had met their fate while trying to complete their missions in order to open a door, unlocking the new ability, which could then be used to reach the final boss himself.

It’s definitely usable, but there were times I wished there was a bit more variety in the gameplay to hit each boss. Perhaps more difficult minor boss fights could have replaced the halls of minor enemies that needed to be cleared before reaching the souls of the aforementioned Soul Reapers, or some environmental puzzles could have refreshed things a bit. Thankfully, the combat is so satisfying that despite the rather stereotypical steps to reach each boss, it never went past its welcome or performed to the detriment of the game.

Despite all the challenges that Death Gate offers on its way to the final boss, this final fight might seem a bit too much to punish. I only managed to beat him after several attempts and after discovering a bit of cheese to dramatically shorten one of his most devastating attacks. His moves, like all other bosses, are telegraphed, but it takes time to crack the code, and sometimes those moves can feel a bit cheap.

Even when you’re not fighting one of the bosses that fill the screen, Death’s Door throws tons of standard enemies at you, patrolling hidden paths or occupying small platforms you need to navigate to progress, creating claustrophobic battles to the death. I discovered that some enemies would accidentally swing for an attack and fall off the platform until they disappeared which reduced the challenge considerably in some cases, but this was quite rare and was not enough to detract from my enjoyment. all the same.


All of those fantastic settings and boss fights would be for naught if the game didn’t perform very well, and that is perhaps Death’s Door’s greatest strength. Whether you’re making your way to a hidden collectible or battling one of the fearsome bosses, the controls are tight and responsive, and you have to hit an enemy (or item) with a melee attack in order to pick up a Your gauge ranged attack segment means you’re forced to get close to your enemies.

This encourages you to play more aggressively than you – or your limited health gauge – might like. You have to come in, perform a few quick hits, and then dodge your way to safety, all while reading his moves and dealing with how to escape each one. Each battle felt like a deadly dance with my crow coming closer, sliding and slashing, dodging and leaping across the battlefield with a spring in its step that only a little soul-gathering crow could.

After killing the final boss, the game sent me back to the Harvest Commission and dropped a key right in the middle. Picking it up and knowing where to use it has opened up the endgame content in Death’s Door, which involves a lot of exploring the world for different collectibles to open doors.

While I took the opportunity to spend more time in the world, the endgame content is a bit too vague in what you’re supposed to do, and it was only by mistake that I figured it out. what I was supposed to do. Still, if you’re not quite ready to end your harvesting adventure just yet, the endgame content will give you good reason to spend a few more hours with it.

Even with its grueling final boss fight, I absolutely loved every second of Death’s Door. The global developer Acid Nerve created is still full of secrets that I haven’t discovered yet after 10 hours with the game. Apart from a small technical glitch and a big spike in difficulty towards the end, Death’s Door is simply stunning. It might not have that AAA budget or cutting edge super realistic graphics, but it’s packed with charm, style, and challenging and rewarding action that makes it a must-have game this year.

Exam block

Death Gate Critique

Reviser: Chris Jecks | Award: editors Choice | Copy provided by the publisher.

Advantages

  • An enchanting world full of secrets and hidden paths to discover
  • Boss fights are fantastically designed, offering thrilling fights and challenges
  • Combat is satisfying, whether in a boss battle or against standard enemies
  • A useful story, reinforced by its dialogue of black humor
  • You are a raven who reaps souls!

The inconvenients

  • The final boss looked like a pretty huge peak of difficulty
  • Reaching each boss was a little too similar throughout
  • Endgame content is a bit open-ended and unclear on what you’re supposed to do

  • Death Gate Zen Achievement Guide – All Shrine Locations
  • This is how long the door of death takes to beat
  • Titan Souls review

Leave a comment

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More