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No Rest for the Wicked Preview

No Rest for the Wicked Preview

No Rest for the Wicked is an action RPG (sort of) developed by Moon Studios, of Ori and the Blind Forest fame, aiming to reinvent the genre, and it somewhat manages to succeed in certain areas. While it is an ARPG in name, it doesn’t play anything like you’d expect; it’s closer to a DARK SOULS than Diablo.

Its loot systems feel very similar to a typical ARPG, with different weapons and armour randomly rolling stats and abilities, yet its base gameplay loop feels very akin to a soulslike, focusing on learning stamina management and bosses’ movesets. It’s a solid system, which feels good to play, but it does occasionally feel a little sloppy compared to its contemporaries, and the balancing is still a little off (but is being very quickly improved and altered by the developers). Equipment can roll multiple rarities, but the most interesting of them are the Cursed items, which provide greater boons than Common and Rare, but they come with negative effects, making the decision to equip them harder. One of my least favourite mechanics surrounding loot is the Durability system, damaging your equipment upon each death. This doesn’t feel like a very impactful punishment for death, but it’s enough to be more of an annoyance and a hassle than anything else. Levelling is also in line with the soulslike formula; earning XP contributes to levelling up, which then gives you three attribute points to spend on different stats, from Health and Stamina, to carry weight and weapons stats such as Strength and Dexterity, which increase their damage.

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The story and aesthetic of the game are some of my favourite aspects. The world has a very dark fantasy vibe, following a story of a blight spreading across Isola Sacra. Moon Studios did an absolutely stellar job making the game look incredible, with the environments and even character models being gorgeous to look at and just as well animated. You take the role of a Cerim, a warrior tasked with purging this blight, whilst also getting involved with the political events across the country between the rulers and the rebels. It’s a simple premise, delivered with a lot of artistic flair, which I appreciate. I’m incredibly fond of the story, despite it being relatively basic. It plays to its strengths and doesn’t try to be overly complex, yet it has a lot of interesting nuances, primarily in its characters and its framing of moral issues.

There’s a pretty solid amount of content throughout No Rest for the Wicked; beyond the main story, you’re peppered with side quests, bounties and other miscellaneous content to keep you busy. Many of these are pretty enjoyable, concluding in some good fights and some very well-written side stories. The endgame consists of a roguelike-esque dungeon which is a great way to add longevity to the game while it gets fleshed out. The content isn’t incredibly deep, and most of it exists as a way to improve and test your character in more difficult content, but it works well in the game's current state and provides a fantastic base for growth as it’s developed further.

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Overall, No Rest for the Wicked is a fantastic and fresh change of pace for the ARPG genre, but if you’re not a fan of the soulslike format, it might not be for you. And aside from some minor performance issues, its launch into Early Access was smooth.

Jacob Sanderson

Jacob Sanderson

Staff Writer

It's not an obsession if it counts as work...

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