Wave of Darkness - ARPG by Dreamatrix (Legends of Dawn Reborn)

Wave of Darkness is currently in Early Access on Steam. While it may not get points for creativity in the naming category, it does seem to be a fairly ambitious design for a semi-open world (you can explore in whatever direction you like and go as far as you like, though there is still a main quest plot you can follow in a more linear fashion if you desire). The devs claim you’re not restricted by character class either, with mix-class characters not only possible, but encouraged. They also claim the game is “challenging” in an “old school” way, not holding your hand or pointing out quest givers and quest points with giant flashing symbols and whatnot. Early Access reviews are mostly positive.

You may remember Dreamatrix from their earlier RPG “Legends of Dawn”. In fact, Wave of Darkness is supposedly the successor to Legends of Dawn, set in the same world of Narr only many years later. Legends of Dawn attempted to do a lot of what Waves of Darkness promises, and failed pretty miserably at it. I own Legends of Dawn, and attempted to play it for many hours earlier this year, months after release and after the devs had claimed the final patches were in place and they were moving on to Wave of Darkness. It was “challenging” to say the least, but not in the way the developers intended. Quests were difficult to follow, with missing or hidden locations and NPCs, combat was pretty awful, and none of the games systems (magic, crafting, lockpicking, combat) were sufficiently explained anywhere, so it was trial and error to do everything. The graphics were decent, and the music and sound were good, the game had plenty of atmosphere and an interesting setting and storyline…but it just felt completely unfinished, as if development had been abandoned in early beta and the game simply dumped to retail.

I mention all of this because yesterday Dreamatrix re-released Legends of Dawn as Legends of Dawn Reborn. According to the developer they have ported the old version of the game over to the new engine and systems they are using to build Wave of Darkness. There is a long list of supposed improvements that “rebuilding” the game in the new engine has brought to Legends of Dawn, but thus far the reviews say to avoid this Reborn version at all costs. As a player of the original game, I can without hesitation say that even an upgraded version of Legends of Dawn is not worth anywhere near the $24 they are asking for it. Ironically, the EA version of Wave of Darkness is only $22. Why sell your newer game for less than the re-release of your older critically panned game?

I may take one for the team (since I already own the original LoD, and thus received Reborn for free yesterday) and load Legends of Dawn Reborn up again to see if it has improved at all. The original ranked as one of my biggest disappointments of 2014, the game had a ton of promise and could easily have been one of those quirky foreign RPGs that become cult classics, if only the developers had taken the time to fix all the bugs and go back over the games’ content and systems to smooth out the rough edges and make for a better experience overall. Perhaps they will finally get it right in Wave of Darkness, but I’m not gambling another $22 to find out…