Dolmen Gamescom Preview
Dolmen starts with you being in cryogenic sleep on a space ship, but you are waking up and hear this voice in your head. When you are finally awake you find yourself isolated and alone in a desolated place. There is no sign of the rest of the crew, so your best choice is to go out and try to find them and find out what has happened. Without giving any spoilers, I can tell you that your character wakes up well below the surface of a planet that has been destroyed by aliens. The caves you are in were once occupied by members of an evolved society, but none of them are to be found anywhere, as the entire planet has been purged by aliens, with only monsters left. For now your main goal is to survive the numerous evils in your path that wouldn't mind killing you.
What was shown to me started with a tutorial session where an explanation was provided about the attack and defensive actions you have and what buttons you need to push for that. There are three types of attacks, the light, the heavy and the jump attack. Each of them doing more damage. Next to that you have ranged and melee weapons, between which you can switch, also during combat. Then there are defensive options, like the electronic shield, rolling away or a dash.
Your weapons can also do elemental damage, like freezing your opponents, which will slow them down. This elemental damage is depending on the reactor you are using, which powers your suit. Each reactor has different passive and active effects. The cryogenic reactor is responsible for energizing your suit and for the energy needed to freeze your opponents. This only works when your suit is put into energy mode. In that mode your attacks are more powerful, but also slower. Depending on the character build you chose at the start of the game you can also have a lightwave effect, which gives fire like effects. There are in total 3 types of reactors, the third reactor you will have to craft by yourself.
Your status is shown by three bars: health, stamina and energy. When you run out of stamina you can't do a lot anymore, when you run out of energy your range weapons won't work anymore, but you can recover it as some of the killed creatures drop what looks like energy balls. At any point in the game you can heal yourself by exchanging energy for life, which prevents dying quite a bit.
Stamina will be replenished when you are not using your weapons anymore and when you are in energy mode you only consume energy and no stamina.
The combat is fast and challenging, at least it is to me. It is what you come to expect from these type of games, where you need to use both your defense and attack skills in the right way to get ahead. Fortunately during combat you can lock on your target to make killing your opponents a bit easier, so with that I was able to get quite a bit further than in my first try. The caves are one big level and on your way through the cave, you will not only encounter various creatures, but also champions, mini bosses and big bosses. I never got that far in the game though.
Throughout the caves there are terminals that also serve as a save points. When you die you will restart at the last terminal you visited. At such a terminal you can also level up and go back to your ship. When you are in your ship you can craft items from the materials you gathered from the creatures you killed. You will not find any weapons, armor or any other item. You only find raw materials that you need to craft into what you want to have and for which you obviously need the right materials. The ship will also serve as a warehouse to store everything you have and it is here that you can select the armor and weapons you are going to use. You can carry two ranged and two melee weapons, between which you can switch. To use other weapons you have to come back to the ship again.
When you level up you can increase your stats, like toughness that gives you more health and more defense on melee attacks, endurance that will give you more stamina, energy that will give you more energy, and strength that will give you more attack power and defenses. There are a few more stats, which you can increase, but the stats are obviously focused on making you a better killing machine.
With all this the developers are trying to give players a wide range of options to define how they want to play the game. They can level up to focus on being a shooter, on being a melee fighter, or a mix between the two. They can also focus on being able to carry heavy armor and have high defenses. The game should cater to any build of your characters
The creatures you will encounter in the caves will not scale to your character's level, but they do respawn after a while. When you go to a terminal to save the monsters will also respawn.
While you are going through the caves you will also find some clues that are left behind and that will provide more information on the story of what happened and why you are here. Next to that there is also the voice in your head that keeps telling you things and cut-scenes that provide more information.
The game as shown to me had an atmosphere with some really deformed creatures that could have come out of a lovecraft story, which is promising. If you also happen to like the Soulsborne games then I belief from what I saw that this game should be able to offer you a good amount of fun. The plan is to launch Dolmen at the middle of 2020 and have a playing time of around 16 hours, which is still some time away before being able to check this game out yourself.