Underrail - Preview @ RPGFan
Last week RPGFan did a hands-on preview of Underrail based on the available alpha build and were positively impressed with the state it is in.
"They don't make 'em like they used to." We hear it all the time, but when it comes to video games, I say nonsense to the old adage. Maybe the triple A companies don't make 'em like they used to, but there are so many independent game designers out there now catering to an old school audience that these days; they definitely DO make 'em like they used to. So much so that the way they "used to" could just become the way they are making 'em.
Unlike a lot of previews you'll read on RPGFan, we did not have any kind of exclusive access to the game. Anybody can go online right now and purchase the alpha of Underrail, which includes a copy of the beta, the full game, and future updates. In playing the game itself, I initially found it quite challenging compared to more contemporary games, getting smoked by the first pair of rats I came across. This was entirely due to carelessness on my part, but I asked Dejan what he thought of the difficulty of the alpha.
"In my opinion, the game is only hard if you're careless or just very unlucky. But obviously I'm not qualified to measure the difficulty, since I know the game mechanics inside out."
Consider me appropriately chided. But I agree with this assessment — the more I realized the encounters require planning and caution, the less trouble I had staying alive. This game is difficult in the best possible meaning of the word. That said, I wonder if gamers who are unfamiliar with that style of gaming will have trouble with this. Dejan was ambivalent on that point in a compelling way, speaking to his game design philosophy.