⚔️ 9th Dawn 3: Shadow of Erthil | Review | Nintendo Switch | "An epic adventure in which you slaughter thousands and loot them ALL" ⚔️ @Valorware #GameDev #IndieGames

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Game Title: 9th Dawn 3: Shadow of Erthil

Platform Reviewed: Switch

Rating: 7/10 (Melting)

Having never played any previous games in the series and admittedly a being little put off by the games mobile roots, it was a gameplay video on YouTube that really drew me into the grandly-titled 9th Dawn 3: Shadow of Erthil. 

It struck me as a saucy mix of Diablo and Gauntlet, which is a fair approximation of what you will spend dozens upon dozens of hours doing. 

You WILL hack, you WILL slash.

Beginning in a small, rural village (BTW - everyone in the game has been named by someone training a mouse to dance on their keyboard), this top-down ARPG sees you setting out on a quest to topple a dodgy king and stop a mysterious force sweeping the lands. 

This is nothing new but the plot doesn’t really matter as this is a game that is designed for those out there that adore loot and the obtaining thereof. There are thousands of items in the game and each dungeon sees you swarmed by hundreds of enemies as you round each dank corner. 

The control scheme feels really natural, in that you can equip a mixture of melee and ranged weaponry, using the left stick to move and the right stick to control the direction of your attacks, although the mapping of the many magic attacks and item usage can be finicky due to how all of the D-pad and face buttons are brought into play, tricky when using a twin-stick setup.

The whole game has a vein of superficial complexity running through it. A lot of the promotional material states the sheer number of enemy types, weapons, abilities (cooking, alchemy, smithing etc.) and this is an accurate representation of the game, although they all boil down to effectively the same mini-game – and take hours to build upon. 

The game also doesn’t hold your hand in terms of goal locations, so keep an eye on where you are supposed to be and what you are doing there as re-entering dungeons causes all enemies to re-spawn. 

This, combined with their labyrinthian layouts and hidden switches means that you really don’t want to be starting from scratch. On this topic – the death system sees you kicked out of the dungeon/overworld section that you died in and back to the last blood spawn point. It actually works well because you really get a sense of peril in the dungeons and the setback seems fair, not punishing.

The enemy AI is mostly set to ‘swarm and engulf’, so the vast majority will peg it towards you as soon as you appear on their radar. I found the balance to be strange as tiny enemies have hugely damaging ranged attacks and cute moths can rinse your health in seconds when they get too close, meaning that you can’t really gauge how dangerous an enemy is by appearance. It’s not a huge issue but it does mean that you don’t get any real sense of tension-building or excitement at seeing a new enemy type as they seem so randomly buffed and a small worm can be more deadly than a stone golem.

Whilst I played 9th Dawn 3: Shadow of Erthil for a good while and I enjoyed my time with it, the main thing holding the game back – for me, at least – is the sheer repetition. 

Each location becomes effectively the same and it ended up feeling like a case of quantity over quality. I loved the tiny, sharp visuals and the grungy colour palette not to mention the surprisingly effective ambient soundtrack but the main gameplay loop of going somewhere, inching forward into the darkness and holding off waves of enemies just wore me down. 

I’m fully aware that this is exactly what a lot of players like, spending lots of time in menus, training up creatures and unlocking all the skills but there’s not enough meat on the bones for me in these sections and they feel a lot like padding. 

In summary, if you like open-world looters, this is a really neat game that will take up a fair chunk of your time. 

If, however, games like Diablo aren’t your thing, this is unlikely to change your mind.



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