If you haven’t guessed it already, today we will be taking a look at The Huntsman: Winter’s curse, a narrative driven fantasy fiction game modeled after the movie with the same name. Now before you get all excited, I have to tell you this game does not star the hunky and all talented Chris Hemsworth, nor the beautiful Charlize Theron, however it does have a pretty cool combat system!It was just released on Steam as of April 22nd 2016,the same day as the movie, and the first chapter of the game is released free. Developers Desert Owl Games say it will also be released on the PlayStation store relatively soon!
I want to make something clear right from the start, this game is in no way shape or form dependent on your views of the movie! Whether you’ve seen it and liked it, or thought otherwise, or possibly haven’t even seen the movie at all your views are completely irrelevant. Yes the game is based in the same universe, but the story does not follow the same trajectory as the movie. Instead you play as Elizabeth who is looking for her four brothers in order to help defeat Queen Freya’s armies and save Vardhelm. With that being said, this game does not use the movie as a crutch, but rather stands as its own free entity.
If you are looking for an interactive narrative game, with phenomenal artwork you may want to check this out, especially for the combat system!
What makes this game so unique is the card based combat system. Essentially each piece of equipment you get gives you two different abilities you can use in combat. These abilities appear at random at the start of your phase, and have different effects. When it is your turn, which is determined by the action meter at the top left, you can choose to use one of these abilities. Some deal damage, some increase the rate at which your turn occurs, while others delay your foes. In a sense you are stuck with what you draw, so you better hope you draw well!
At first glance it seems relatively simple. Pick a card, deal damage, try not to die. This is definitely the case in the easier modes, however once you move to the harder difficulties you find yourself cycling through just as many defensive spells as offensive spells. You don’t particularly heal yourself or your allies very well so you’re going to want to keep an eye on your health at all times.
Desert Owl Games does a fairly good job of giving the gamer a means of combat customization. Depending on what pieces of equipment you use will determine what abilities you can use. For example, I chose a relatively defensive style of play to help minimize the damage. You could do away with the bandages and use something like a tuft of fur to give you AoE capabilities as well as a cripple.
Be careful taking too many abilities affecting the action meter, as you want to deal damage as well. It is certainly quite tempting to try and take all invigorating spells, or stun spells, but it may come at a cost!The Huntsman: Winter’s Curse also offers the player a skill tree, albeit relatively small and uneventful. These abilities impact things like damage, speed, and hit points, so choose wisely.
The first chapter of The Huntsmans: Winter’s Curse, was a nice casual experience mainly due to the amazing artwork and great soundtrack. I could have done without some of the cheesy dialogue, but it was worth sitting through. My main issue with the play through was the lack of voice acting. I believe that with some half-decent voice acting this game could feel like a fully cinematic experience. There is no doubt that the story has the potential to lead the game into several different exciting paths.
The combat was a rather strategic endeavor, especially on harder modes. Balancing your offense and defense is definitely one of the more challenging aspects to this game. All in all it was a good experience, which didn’t necessary remind me or make me want to re watch the movie, however it did peak my interest to see what other stories play out in this game. For what it’s worth you should at least give the free chapter a play, what have you got to lose? The Huntsman: Winter’s Curse is out now on Steam and the seasons pass can be purchased for $19.99, and soon to be on PlayStation 4.
The noticed one –